#OregonBaseball: Senior day spoiled in extras

EUGENE, Ore. — Oregon’s bats were hot at the start but cooled later in Sunday’s game, allowing Stanford to come back and win in extra innings, 8-5, before a limited sellout crowd of 641 in PK Park.

The No. 13 Ducks (35-13, 18-9 Pac-12) led 5-0 through three innings. But Oregon went into a midgame slump and then was unable to capitalize on rallies in the seventh and ninth innings, after the No. 17 Cardinal tied it. Stanford then scored three times in the 12th to win.

“It was a heavyweight fight all weekend long, and it feels like it right now,” UO coach Mark Wasikowski said. “It was two very good baseball teams teeing off on each other. … Obviously we are still a program trying to learn how to win, and learn how to win big games. And we didn’t do that today.”

A one-out single followed by back-to-back walks in the bottom of the first chased Stanford’s starter, and Josh Kasevich greeted the first Cardinal reliever with an RBI groundout for a 1-0 Oregon lead. Three more walks in the second — the latter two with two outs — forced another Stanford pitching change, and Aaron Zavala went opposite field with a single that made it 3-0.

Kasevich led off the third with his fourth homer of the year, and the Ducks added on with two outs. Jack Scanlon and Gavin Grant singled to prompt another pitching change, and Tanner Smith greeted yet another Stanford reliever rudely. He followed with his UO-record 21st double of the season, a hot shot off the first baseman’s glove for a 5-0 lead.

With runners on second and third, Kenyon Yovan had a chance to bust it wide open. But he grounded out, beginning a run of 11 straight Ducks retired by Stanford’s Jacob Paslich following Smith’s double.

“That’s really disappointing,” Wasikowski said, “to not be able to sustain — which is one thing our offense has been able to do this year.”

Stanford had the bases loaded with one run already on the board in the fourth before UO starter Brett Walker escaped the jam. He allowed a sacrifice fly that made it 5-2 before coaxing an inning-ending double play. Walker was removed after allowing back-to-back singles with one out in the sixth; Nick Breuser doubled off UO reliever Caleb Sloan to make it 5-4, and Breuser scored the tying run later in the inning on an RBI single.

Gabe Matthews singled with one out in the seventh to end Oregon’s run of 11 straight hitters retired. He went to third on a single by Kasevich, before Anthony Hall grounded into a double play that ended the threat.

UO closer Kolby Somers pitched around a one-out single in the ninth, and was in position to win when the Ducks loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the inning. Tristan Hanoian had the chance to play hero yet again this season but his line drive to right was caught, and hit too sharply to score Zavala from third. Sam Novitske followed with a comebacker that Stanford’s fourth reliever, Joey Dixon (2-0), fielded to get out of the inning.
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Somers gamely pitched into the 12th, when a two-out single brought home the go-ahead run, and a two-run home run finally ended his day. Hanoian’s line drive in the ninth ended up starting another stretch of 11 straight Ducks retired, the last 11 hitters the home team sent to the plate.

“That’s not a sustained offense,” Wasikowski said. “And that’s usually going to contribute to losing.”

Zavala had his 20th multi-hit game of the season, and stole his team-high 10th base of the season while the Ducks were in the process of loading the bases in the ninth. Smith’s RBI double in the third broke the school single-season record he previously shared with Ryon Healy (2013) and Mitchell Tolman (2015).

Kasevich drove in two runs for the second game in a row. He now has 14 games this season with multiple RBIs, fifth-most since Oregon baseball’s reboot in 2009 (Yovan has 15 this season and is tied for third). Kasevich’s 43 RBIs for the season are 10th on the UO single-season record list.

Somers (1-1) pitched around two hits through his first three innings of work before hitting the wall in the 12th. Combined with the five outs he got in Friday’s win, the UO closer pitched as many innings over the weekend as two of the Ducks’ three starters. Andrew Mosiello was also lights out in two innings of work, facing the minimum in the seventh and eighth.

Combined with Arizona’s comeback win at Oregon State on Sunday, Oregon’s loss eliminated the Ducks from contention for the Pac-12’s automatic bid to the postseason. A sweep at California next week would give Oregon a tie atop the conference standings with the Wildcats, who took two of three games when the teams went head to head in the desert in late March.

The Ducks open their final series of the regular season at California on Thursday (6 p.m., Pac-12 Network).