Ducks Open Five-Game Road Trip with a Win

PHOENIX — Jeffery Heard, Mason Neville and Jacob Walsh all homered and fourOregon pitchers combined for a solid effort in Oregon’s 9-4 win over Grand Canyon at GCU Ballpark on Tuesday night.

Five Ducks finished with multiple hits in the game, led by Carter Garate (3-for-4, R). Heard, Justin Cassella, Drew Smith and Bennett Thompson all had a pair of hits,while Walsh and Heard both drove in two runs on two-run homers. 

Brock Moore pitched a pair of scoreless innings to claim his first career victory, while Bradley Mullan got his first save as a Duck while retiring four hitters on just eight pitches. 

How It Happened: Oregon (8-3) took the early lead scoring a run in the top of the second, but it could have been worse for Grand Canyon. After loading the bases with no outs, Heard scored when Ryan Cooney hit into a double play before Bryce Boettcher flew out to right to end the inning.

GCU (6-6) regained the lead with a two-run home run in the bottom of the second, but Oregon struck back with three in the top of the third. Garate led off the inning with a beautiful bunt single and moved to third on Cassella’s second hit of the game and then scoring on a Smith ground out to tie it.

It was not tied for long, Heard took the next pitch and launched it over the right-field bullpen for a 4-2 Oregon lead.

The Ducks built on the lead in the top of the fifth inning. Neville lined his second home run in as many games over the right field wall to make it a three-run game. After singling, Smith came around to score on a wild pitch for a 6-2 lead. 

Oregon pushed the lead to 7-2 in the seventh inning. Smith led off with a double and eventually came around to score on an Anson Aroz sacrifice fly.

Grand Canyon closed the gap in the eighth scoring on a two-run home run, while narrowly missing a third run when Tyler Wilson hit one off the top of the wall that resulted in a double. With the tying run in the on-deck circle, Oregon turned to Mullan who got out of the inning on striking out GCU pinch hitter Cannon Peery on three pitches.

Any hopes Grand Canyon had of a comeback were put to rest by Walsh in the ninth after he slugged a pinch-hit, two-run home run on the third pitch he saw.

Mullan finished it off with a 1-2-3 inning in the ninth. 

Box Score Notes: After turning just two double plays in their first 10 games, the Ducks had two double plays in the first three innings Tuesday … Neville became the second Duck to homer in back-to-back games this season, joining Jacob Walsh who did it in games one and two of the Lafayette series … Brock Moore fanned four of the six batters he faced … Sammy Cova made his first career appearance entering the game in the bottom of the seventh … Walsh’s home run was the first pinch hitlong ball by a Duck since Anthony Hall did it at Arizona on March 26, 2021.

On Deck: Oregon and Grand Canyon play game two of their midweek series on Wednesday with a 1:05 p.m. (PT) first pitch.