BSB: Oregon gets overpowered by Arizona State in series-opening loss

Ryan Kostecka

It wasn’t the start Oregon (11-8, 1-3 Pac-12) was hoping for when undefeated No. 20 Arizona State came to Eugene for a three-game series. Looking to build off their 1-0 victory in 10 innings over Washington last Sunday, the Ducks were left with more answers regarding their pitching staff following a 12-2 loss to the Sun Devils on Friday.

Arizona State (21-0, 4-0 Pac-12) hit three homeruns in the first four innings, all off starter Oregon Cullen Kafka, to take a 6-0 lead that the Ducks were never able to recover from.

After a scoreless first inning in which Kafka induced an inning-ending double play, Oregon was poised to score in the bottom half of the inning when a double by Jonny DeLuca and a walk by Spencer Steer put two runners on with one out. That’s where the rally ended as a flyout and fielder’s choice ended the inning.

Kafka gave up his first run of the game in the second inning before giving up two more in the third. A solo blast made the score 2-0 before a single, stolen base and a double plated the third run.

After a 1-2-3 inning by the Ducks in the bottom of the third, Arizona State scored three more runs in the fourth. After a one-out double, the Sun Devils hit back-to-back blasts that chased Kafka from the game.

The Sun Devils would pad their lead with two more runs in the seventh and four more in the eighth for a 12-0 lead.

Oregon’s best scoring chance came in the sixth when Steer got on base with a two-out walk. He tried to score following Gabe Matthew’s double but was thrown out at the plate to end the frame.

The Ducks got on the board in the bottom of the ninth when Tanner Smith reached base on a bunt single that scored Cameron Campbell. Taylor Adams, who singled earlier in the frame, came around to score on a wild pitch later in the inning before a strikeout ended the game.

Oregon’s offense produced just six hits on the day, but three of which were a double.

The second game of the series is set for Saturday with first pitch at 4 p.m.