Big innings to much for Ducks to overcome

EUGENE, Ore. – Oregon homered three times but Portland countered with some big innings en route to a 15-5 Pilots win at PK Park on Tuesday night.

The Pilots (9-5) scored four runs in the second, five in the fifth and three in the seventh and countered with three home runs of their own to pick up the road win.

How It Happened:  The two teams combined for eight runs in the first two innings with both leadoff batters hitting home runs in the first inning.

After Portland’s Brady Bean hit the first pitch of the game over the center-field wall, Oregon’s Justin Cassella took the second pitch he saw to lead off the bottom of the first out of the ballpark in center field as well.

Oregon (11-5) tacked on another run in the inning to take a 2-1 lead. Anson Aroz doubled off the center-field wall and moved to third when Jake Holcroft fumbled the ball in center. Jeffery Heard picked up his 15th RBI of the season with a sacrifice fly scoring Aroz. 

Portland took the lead back in the second scoring four runs off Oregon starter Turner Spoljaric (0-2), before Oregon got one back in its half of the inning on a Ryan Cooney solo home run. 

The Pilots answered with another run in the third to push the lead back to three, but Oregon was able to answer in the fourth with a pair of runs to make it a one-run game.

Jacob Walsh crushed a home run 410 feet to right field before Cassella picked up his second RBI of the game, driving in Carter Garate who reached on a hit-by-pitch with two outs.

Portland pulled away after that scoring five runs in the fifth, three in the seventh and another one in the eighth.

Box Score Notes: Walsh moved into sole possession of third in career home runs at Oregon with his 28th dinger … He also moved into a tie for ninth all time with Josh Kasevich (2020-22) with 96 career RBI … Portland’s leadoff home run was the first leadoff homer the Ducks have given up since April 29, 2023 when Arizona State hit one off Logan Mercado … Cassella’s leadoff bomb was his third of the season … He hit one six days ago at Grand Canyon and also had one against Lafayette on Feb. 24 … Sophomore Matthew Grabmann made his season debut on the mound tossing a scoreless ninth inning with two strikeouts.

On Deck: Oregon returns to Pac-12 Conference play on this weekend when the Ducks host California in a three-game series starting Friday with a 5:05 p.m. first pitch.