Ducks Eliminated From Pac-12 Tournament

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Oregon baseball team will now await its NCAA Regional fate after the No. 23 Ducks were eliminated from the Pac-12 Tournament on Thursday with a 4-2 loss to USC.

Oregon lost both of its games in pool play and did not advance to Friday’s semifinals, after winning the tournament a year earlier. The Ducks (37-18) now await the announcement of NCAA Regional fields on Monday (9 a.m., ESPN2).

“We feel strong that our body of work is really, really strong,” UO coach Mark Wasikowski said. “But those are things that committees and stuff get a chance to discuss, and we’re not in those rooms. But we feel really strong about our body of work for the entire season.”

The Ducks played well enough this spring to earn the No. 3 seed to the conference tournament. But they lost 4-2 to Utah and Pac-12 pitcher of the year Bryson Van Sickle on Wednesday, before creating more scoringopportunities but failing to capitalize on them against USC starter William Watson on Thursday.

“I think it was probably a combination of maybe some guys trying to do too much, and the fact that we faced the conference pitcher of the year and probably the guy on the West Coast that’s getting the most draft helium that there is out there right now,” Wasikowski said. “So, two pretty good arms. …

“We felt like it was a much better effort today. We didn’t get the hits when we needed to, to win the game. But the effort that we put out there, we felt like it was a better effort of what we’re about.”

How It Happened: The Ducks finished the game 0-for-9 to lead off innings and 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position, two trends that emerged early. After UO starter RJ Gordon faced the minimum in the top of the first with help from a double play, Mason Neville hit a one-out triple in the bottom of the inning and was stranded at third. 

The Ducks put two on with one out in the third, but Neville grounded into a double play. After Gordon stranded runners in scoring position in both the fourth and fifth, Oregon could have taken the lead in the bottom of the fifth, but two two-out singles resulted in two more runners stranded.

A wind-aided home run to open the sixth gave USC the lead, and they tacked on two more in the inning with a pair of two-out, RBI singles. In the bottom of the sixth, the Ducks got their only hit of the game with runners in scoring position, an RBI single by Chase Meggers to get them back within 3-1.

A sacrifice fly off UO reliever Ryan Featherston got the deficit back to three in the seventh. An RBI groundout by Meggers in the eighth scored Bennett Thompson, who had walked and taken second on a Maddox Molony single before both runners moved up on a wild pitch. 

Featherston kept the score at 4-2 with a clean ninth inning. But the Ducks couldn’t rally in their final chance, squandering a two-out double by Neville.

Up Next: The Ducks await work of their NCAA Regional fate when the selection show airs Monday.