Ducks finish two-game series sweep at Grand Canyon

PHOENIX — Oregon pounded Grand Canyon for 21 hits on Wednesday afternoon including four home runs in a 13-5 win at GCU Ballpark.

Justin Cassella, Ryan Cooney, Mason Neville and Jacob Walsh all homered while Oregon scored 11 of its runs between the fourth and seventh innings.

Reliever Ian Umlandt provided Oregon with four quality innings on the mound after entering the game with the Ducks trailing 4-2. The sophomore lefty retired all 12batter he faced while Oregon went from trailing to leading 13-4 when he left the game. 

How It Happened: Cassella got the Ducks (9-3) off to a quick start hitting the first pitch of the game over the left-field wall and a 1-0 Oregon lead.

Grand Canyon (6-7) answered with a pair of runs on a two-run home run in the bottom of the first, but Oregon tied it in the top of the second on a Cooney solo homer.

Another two-run Grand Canyon home run gave the Lopes a 4-2 lead in the third, but Oregon came right back in the top of the fourth when Jacob Walsh hit a tape-measure two-run home run over the right-field wall to tie it.

Oregon took the lead in the top of the fifth. Cassella led off the inning with a bunt single and moved to third on back-to-back walks to Neville and Drew Smith. Jeffery Heard gave the Ducks the lead with a sacrifice fly scoring Cassella, before Anson Aroz made it a two-run lead with an RBI single.  

Oregon broke the game open in the top of the sixth putting five runs on the board. Chase Meggers (4-for-5, 2 R) led off the inning with a single and moved to third on a Carter Garate (3-for-5, 2 2B, 2 R) double. Cassella picked up his second of four RBI on the day when he knocked in Meggers with a sacrifice fly.

Neville gave Oregon a five-run lead on the next pitch when he crushed a ball over the scoreboard in center field. After a Smith walk and Heard double put runners on second and third, Aroz and Walsh delivered nearly identical RBI singles through the six-hole to push the lead to 11-4. 

Oregon tacked on two more for good measure in the seventh with Meggers and Garate setting the table again with back-to-back singles that put runners on second and third after Garate moved up to second on the throw to third. Cassella made it a four-RBI day when he drove in both Meggers and Garate with a single off the left-field wall.

Box Score Notes: Umlandt picked up his second career win and his first of the season … Walsh’s home run was the 26th of his career, moving him into sole possession of fourth all-time at Oregon just ahead of Shaun Chase (2012-15) … Walsh is five behind all-time leader Tanner Smith (2019-23) … Oregon’s 21 hits were the most by a Ducks’ team since UO had 21 at Arizona on April 1, 2023 … Neville has homered in three straight games, the most since Tanner Smith did that against Stanford and Portland from April 15-18, 2023.

On Deck: Oregon will stay in Phoenix and open Pac-12 Conference play at Arizona State on Friday. First pitch is 5:30 p.m. (PT).