Ducks Power and Pitching Lead to Win

EUGENE, Ore. — Jacob Walsh hit two of Oregon’s four home runs and Ian Umlandt gave Oregon a solid start tossing seven innings in Oregon’s 11-4 nonconference win over Sacramento State on Wednesday night at PK Park.

Walsh (2-for-3, 2 HR, 5 RBI, BB) slugged home runs in both the first and second innings, while Dominic Hellman and Bennett Thompson both homered as well to help Oregon earn a two-game series split with the Hornets. Thompson (4-for-5, HR, 3 RBI, 3 R) matched career highs in both hits and runs scored while tying his season hig in RBI.

Umlandt (2-0) gave Oregon seven strong innings, a season-high in innings pitched by a Ducks’ starter this season, while finishing with a career-high nine strikeouts. In addition to the start being a season-long effort by a Ducks’ hurler, it was also the longest of Umlandt’s career. 

How It Happened: Oregon sent eight batters to the plate in the bottom of the first scoring four runs. Bryce Boettcher led off the inning with a double before coming around to score on a Thompson single up the middle. 

Two pitches later, Walsh launched his 11th home run of the season over the right field wall for a 3-0 lead. Two batters later, Dominic Hellman made it 4-0 with a solo shot into the Sac State bullpen.

The Hornets responded in the top of the second with three runs, but Oregon got them right back in its half of the inning. Like the first inning, it was Boettcher, Thompson and Walsh who did the damage. Walsh came up with the big at-bat, blasting his second home run of the game and 12th of the season after Boettcher and Thompson both singled in front of him.

Sac State (15-20) got one back in the top of the fourth, but Oregon (23-9) answered with the long ball again in the bottom of the sixth. This time it was Thompson delivering a two-out laser over the wall in left center for his fourth hit of the game. 

Oregon tacked on two insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth. Chase Meggers led off the frame with a base hit to left and then scored on a Maddox Molony double. Boettcher picked up an RBI scoring Molony on a sacrifice fly after he moved to third on a Carter Garate base hit. 

Box Score Notes: Umlandt made his first career start after 21 appearances out of the bullpen … Walsh homered twice in the same game for the second time this season (vs. Cal on March 17) and the fourth time during his career (at Arizona 3/31/23; vs. Stanford 4/15/23) … Walsh, who set the Oregon career home run record Sunday at UCLA, ran his career total to 34 homers … With his five RBI, Walsh moved into sixth on Oregon’s all-time RBI list passing Kyle Garlick (2011-14) … Walsh moved into a tie for 10th all-time in single-season home runs at Oregon with 12 … Oregon 1-2-3 hitters (Boettcher-Thompson-Walsh) combined for eight hits, seven runs scored and nine RBI … The Ducks 7-8 hitters (Meggers-Molony) combined to go 5-for-8 with three runs scored and a RBI … Outfielder Justin Cassella missed his ninth consecutive game.

On Deck: The Ducks return to Pac-12 Conference play on Friday when the host USC in the first game of a three-game series. First pitch on Friday is at 5:05 p.m.


Head Coach Mark Wasikowski 

On whether today was the most complete game of the season…

“Could have been, yeah. We played good defense, the pitching was stellar with Ian’s start, was really really good. I thought (Matthew) Grabmann and (Turner) Spoljaric came in and did a really nice job as well. So, from top to bottom the pitching was good and I thought the offense was sustained throughout.”

On Ian Umlandt’s performance…

“Well, he’s got a lot of pitches, so when you try to start sitting on one of them, he’s got something else that’s just good enough to get you. So, when you start trying to guess with a guy like that, sometimes it can be a little slippery guessing, and Ian was spot on with his command today. He was out in the middle of the zone. The runs he gave up, just a couple of them were on walks, and he had a hit-by-pitch and a walk, and those guys scored there in the three-run inning. And other than that, he was in full control again.”

On the takeaway from today’s game…

“The takeaway today is we won the game. I think when you look at college baseball across the board, when you look at the top 25 yesterday, I don’t know how many teams in the top 25 lost, but a lot of them did. I think midweek games are hard. There’s a lot of really good players in college baseball. I think with just the lay of the land in college baseball now, you’ve got a better opportunity for teams to sneak up and get you because there’s a lot of 23-year olds playing. If they don’t get a chance to play pro ball, or sometimes with no money where they come back to school because of NIL money or what have you. There’s a lot of really good old players in college baseball that are probably keeping freshman off the field in some programs. I mean, we’re not scared to play freshman, and we’re playing a lot of them and we’re going to continue to play young players to develop them because that’s how we feel you should develop.”

Bennett Thompson

Thoughts on what was working today…

“I was just trying to simplify my approach the last couple of days. I’ve been working with Coach (Jack) Marder trying to go back to some of the keys that make me successful as a hitter. Luckily today I was able to get a couple of squibbers to fall which was nice. Just trying to get after fastballs and just have fun hitting.”

Importance of setting the tone…

“Something that we take pride on is trying to win each inning. We had an opportunity in the first inning today to go out and win the inning and we were able to do that. (Jacob) Walsh’s home run was pretty sweet to set the tone early and even (Bryce) Boettcher leading off the game with a double, that was sweet. It’s something that we want to do in every game. In every game we want to take the lead in the first inning and today we were able to do that and ride that momentum through.”

Jacob Walsh

Thoughts on the swing and career day…

“I’m just sticking to my approach. Getting good pitches to hit and putting swings on balls.”

Thoughts on five games in a week and the importance of only three pitchers throwing today…

“Five games in a week is always tough. Making sure we have enough fresh arms going into the weekend is super important, so Ian (Umlandt) being able to go out there and throwing 95 pitches and mowing guys down is great to see.”

Ian Umlandt

On what was working today…

“I think just being able to mix four pitches for strikes was huge today. Obviously not always overpowering stuff, but the ability to mix a slider, cutter, changeup, and a heater anywhere around the zone to both righties and lefties was a big key to success. Once I hit the fourth I feel like I really found my groove and just was able to settle in and go from there.”

On how you feel after first career start…

“I feel good. I feel blessed and really lucky to be able to have the opportunity today, and that was big thing. I actually found out I was starting today after I got to the field.So it wasn’t something that I knew, so it was really cool. Just the preparation that goes with that was a lot different, obviously, not coming out of the pen. But, really, really happy, really blessed. My parents were able to make it down to the game last minute, so just feel really lucky.”