Ducks Dominate Home Opener

EUGENE, Ore. — Oregon got contributions up and down the lineup and on the mound as the Ducks won their home opener Friday, 17-3 over Lafayette before 1,941 fans at PK Park.

Every member of the starting lineup had at least one hit and one run, and eight of the nine drove in a run as well, helping the UO baseball team improve to 3-1 this season. RJ Gordon (1-0) allowed one run over six innings for his first win since May 19, 2022, and three relievers each pitched an inning, with freshman Cole Stokes striking out the side in the ninth.

With his team playing just its second series of a season the Ducks hope ends in Omaha, UO coach Mark Wasikowski was conservative with his assessment of the performance despite all those contributions.

“I thought we were fine tonight,” he said. “I wouldn’t say it was an awesome performance, but it was probably a solid ‘B’ performance throughout. To come out with a win is always the objective.”

Jeffery Heard and Bennett Thompson were two of the five Ducks with two hits Friday, and each now has a hit in all four games this season. Drew Smith, Jacob Walsh and freshman Ryan Cooney each homered, with Walsh and Chase Meggers driving in three runs each — Meggers doing so on a night he made his first appearance of the season and got his first collegiate hit, a two-run single in the fifth.

“It was awesome for me to just see that I helped out the team — that’s all that I care about,” Meggers said. “I didn’t care about the two RBIs; I wasn’t even thinking about it. I just wanted to barrel up the ball and score my guys, and that’s what my job was.”

How It Happened: A one-out solo homer in the first was all the Leopards were able to get in six innings against Gordon. Coming off a year lost to injury last spring, he went 4.1 innings in Oregon’s season-opening win over Oklahoma a week ago, and he looked to build on that Friday.

“Just some stuff with the off-speed stuff, being a little more intent-based with that stuff,” Gordon said. “Not worrying so much about execution as much in my head, and more just kind of going after guys. I think that’s why the velo showed a little bit more today too. Just kind of letting go and not worrying about the result as much.”

The Ducks wasted no time giving Gordon a lead. Justin Cassella singled to open the bottom of the first, Meggers walked and Heard doubled to tie the game. Thompson followed with a sacrifice fly and Walsh singled to score Heard for a 3-1 lead.

Heard had a double and a triple, his fourth multi-hit game in four outings this season.

“What he did last week and what he did tonight, that’s what it looks like,” Wasikowski said. “For us, that’s what we’re looking for all the way across. One of the (reporters) already asked (in the postgame press conference), what would be a better performance? Well, if everybody did what it looks like then that would be an ‘A’ game. It wasn’t that way across the board, but Jeffery Heard is doing it.”

An RBI double by Cassella in the second scored Carter Garate, who also extended his hit streak to four games Friday. Walsh then made it 6-1 in the third by blasting the Ducks’ first home run of the season, after he had a relatively quiet opening weekend in Texas.

“I really stuck to my approach, didn’t really change a whole lot,” Walsh said. “You know, the game always evens itself out.”

Garate scored on a wild pitch in the fourth, and later in the inning Heard and Thompson had back-to-back RBI triples. Cooney led off the fifth with his first collegiate homer, and Meggers made it 12-1 later in the inning with his two-run single.

Garate doubled to plate Bryce Boettcher in the sixth. Smith’s two-run homer in the seventh made it 15-2, and the Ducks added on two more run in the eighth after Lafayette scored again in the top of the inning.

On Deck: The Ducks and Leopards will play a doubleheader Saturday beginning at noon.