Walsh ties HR record, Gordon dominant in Ducks win

PORTLAND, Ore. — Jacob Walsh hit a two-run home run to tie Oregon’s career long-ball record while RJ Gordon struck out a career-high 10 Bruins in Oregon’s 8-4 Pac-12 Conference win at UCLA on Friday night. 

Walsh broke a 2-2 tie in Oregon’s four-run fourth inning with a two-out, two-run homer that tied Tanner Smith’s (2019-23) program career home run record of 31.

Gordon (4-2) dominated on the mound for Oregon (21-7, 7-3 Pac-12) fanning 10 of the 26 batters he faced in 5.1 innings of work. The Ducks righty struck out two-or-more batters in four of the first five innings before being relieved in the top of the sixth. Logan Mercado (2.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K) and Bradley Mullan (1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K) finished the Bruins (11-16, 4-9 Pac-12) off not allowing a run over 3.2 combined innings. 

How It Happened: After stranding a pair of runners on base in both the first and second innings, the Ducks finally broke through in the third capitalizing on three hits. Drew Smith capped the inning with Oregon’s third hit of the inning driving in Bennett Thompson who led off the frame with a base hit.

After UCLA took the lead in the bottom half of the inning, Oregon rallied in the top of the fourth scoring four runs. Maddox Molony reached on an error by the Bruins third baseman and then moved to third on back-to-back balks. Carter Garate tied the game with a base knock before moving to second on a sacrifice bunt.

Walsh didn’t let it stay tied for long. The Ducks first baseman crushed a two-run home run over the scoreboard in right-center field for a two-run Oregon lead.

UO tacked on another run when Smith picked up his second RBI on a hit after Jeffery Heard walked and moved to second on an Anson Aroz single.

Oregon pushed the lead to four with an unearned run in the sixth. After back-to-back singles by Heard and Aroz put runners on first and second, Heard came around to score when Bruin second baseman Duce Gourson booted a ground ball with two outs. 

UCLA cut the lead two with a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the sixth, but Mercado came in with two runners on and one out and got out of the jam only allowing a sacrifice fly before getting the final out of the inning.

Oregon got some insurance in the top of the ninth inning. Heard delivered a clutch two-out, two-run double into the left-field corner scoring Thompson and Walsh who both reached on walks.

Box Score Notes: Oregon’s win was its first at Jackie Robinson since a 5-4 in on May 18, 2014 and snapped the Ducks’ nine-game losing streak to UCLA on the road … Smith (3-for-4, 2 RBI, HBP) picked up his 11th multi-hit game of the season and the 23rd of his career … Smith also registered his sixth multiple-RBI game of the season and the 11th of his career … Heard (3-for-5, 2 RBI, 2 R, 2B) had his team-best 12th multi-hit game of the season and the 38th of his career … He also registered his sixth multi-RBI game of the season and the 23rd of his career … Aroz (2-for-6) had his seventh multi-hit game and the ninth of his career … Starting just his seventh game, Molony (2-for-5) had his fourth multi-hit game … Walsh (1-for-4, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R) moved into ninth all-time at Oregon in multi-RBI games with his 27th … Outfielder Justin Cassella missed his fourth consecutive game after leaving game two of the Seattle series early … Oregon stranded two runners on base in each of the first six innings.

On Deck: Game two between the Ducks and Bruins is Saturday with a 6:05 p.m. first pitch.