Oregon jumped out to a three-run lead early in Sunday's series finale and never looked back, cruising to a 5-1 victory and avoiding a sweep at the hands of Arizona State. Losers of six of their last seven, the Ducks were desperate to get a win and they played like it.
Swinging the bat more often than it had in the previous two games against the Sun Devils, Oregon was able to put the ball in play and force some mistakes from the opposing defense. The Ducks used an error combined with a pair of singles and a walk to load the bases in the bottom of the second, setting up Tim Susnara for a sacrifice fly to give them a 1-0 lead.
They were not done, however, as junior Matt Euereste stepped to the plate next. The Texas Tech transfer took advantage of a pitch left up in the zone by reliever Darin Gillies and tripled into the gap in right field, clearing the bases to give them a 3-0 advantage. It was a lead they would never relinquish.
Oregon starter Cole Irvin (1-1) came through with one of his best outings of the season, throwing 5.2 innings and only allowing one run on four hits. The single run the maroon and gold got across the plate came in the fifth on a Johnny Sewald sacrifice fly to deep right field.
The home team would come right back to respond in the bottom half of the inning, using another extra base hit to the gap to kill Arizona State. This time it was Josh Graham, getting a two out double to score Scott Heineman from second and make it a three run ballgame once again.
Mother Nature came into play in the top of the sixth and shut down some of the momentum that the Sun Devils had acquired. The umpires decided that the rain was falling too hard after Trever Allen got into scoring position with a two out double, and when the teams returned to the field 20 minutes later, designated hitter RJ Ybarra went down on strikes to end the threat.
An inability to make contact with runners on base killed Arizona State today. The Ducks only out hit the Sun Devils 8-6, but they were just unable to come up clutch at the right times.
Oregon added one more run in the eighth to make the score 5-1, and the maroon and gold went down quietly in the top of the ninth to end the game. The Ducks improved to 15-8 (2-4 Pac-12) with the win, while Arizona State dropped to 15-7 (4-2 Pac-12).
Next up for the Sun Devils is a three-game series back home in Phoenix against Stanford, with game one starting at 6:30 p.m. on Friday night.