After dropping its first two games against Stanford (10-11, 3-3 Pac-12) on Friday, the Oregon baseball team destroyed the Cardinal 9-2 on Sunday in Stanford, Calif., to avoid a sweep. One huge inning from the Ducks offense was the difference in the game.
Oregon opened the scoring in the first inning. An Aaron Payne walk and an Austin Grebeck sacrifice bunt set up a one-out, runner on second base situation for Tyler Baumgartner. The senior right fielder delivered a single to center field to score Payne, putting the Ducks up 1-0.
The second inning didn’t start as promising, but the Ducks still managed to blow the game wide open.
After A.J. Balta grounded out to shortstop, the next three batters — J.B. Bryant, Shaun Chase and Mark Karaviotis — each hit singles to load the bases. Stanford replaced starting pitcher Chris Viall with Logan James after Karaviotis’ bunt single, but James couldn’t limit the threat. The first batter James faced was Payne, who got hit by a pitch for 12th time this season. That gave the Ducks a 2-0 lead.
James’ woes continued against the next batter, Grebeck. James threw a wild pitch, allowing Chase to score and give the Ducks a three-run lead.
Baumgartner came up next and delivered for the second straight inning, hitting a single to right field to score Payne and Karaviotis. Baumgartner finished the game 2-for-5 with three RBIs.
Mitchell Tolman hit a single the next at-bat to score Grebeck from third and give the Ducks a 6-0 lead. Tolman was James’ last batter. The left-handed reliever didn’t record an out.
Marcus Brakeman came in for James but the carnage continued. Kyle Garlick hit a double to left center field and to score Baumgartner. Balta came up for the second time in the inning and grounded out for the second time, but in this instance, he got an RBI because Tolman scored from third. Bryant flew out to end the inning, in which the Ducks scored seven runs to take an 8-0 lead.
Stanford got on the board in the bottom of the fourth when Austin Slater hit a home run to left off Oregon’s Jeff Gold. Gold earned his seventh win in as many starts, and while the eight runs of support certainly helped him get the victory, he also pitched well. He went 6.1 innings, giving up seven hits, one walk and two runs while striking out two.
The Cardinal produced their second run in the seventh inning. Wayne Taylor doubled to lead off the inning and Dominic Jose singled him home two batters later. Porter Clayton came in for Gold after Jose’s hit and pitched the rest of the game. Clayton didn’t surrender a run or a hit while striking out one and walking two.
Chase topped off the rout with a solo home run in the top of the eighth.
The Ducks now head to Spokane, Wash., to take on Gonzaga for a two-game series. The first game is set for Tuesday at 6 p.m.
Follow Victor Flores on Twitter @vflores415