NCAA Football

Long Ball Dooms Ducks

May 10, 2016

Photo: Deborah Mundorff

EUGENE, Ore. – Oregon took a four-run lead in the first inning, but a pair of long Gonzaga home runs gave the Bulldogs a 5-4 win and a sweep of the two-game series on Tuesday night at PK Park.

How It Happened: The Ducks (22-21) got off to a strong start behind the hot bat of Tim Susnara, who laced a two-run single up the middle with two outs and the bases loaded in the first. A third run came in to score on the play as the throw from center field got away from the cutoff man and rolled into the Gonzaga dugout, and Carson Breshears capped the four-run frame with an RBI single up the middle to score Susnara and put the Ducks up 4-0.

Gonzaga (27-15) came back with two runs in the third and three in the fourth on a pair of deep home runs off starter Cole Stringer (2-1) to take a one-run lead. Second baseman Jake Roberts ripped a two-run homer to left in the third, and designated hitter Nick Brooks hit an impressive three-run shot over the 400-foot sign in straightaway center field to put the Zags ahead.

Offense was tough to come by after the fourth, as both teams were kept off the scoreboard for the remainder of the game. The combination of Isaiah Carranza, Cole Irvin and Stephen Nogosek held Gonzaga scoreless on just one hit over the final 3.2 innings out of the Oregon bullpen, but the Zags’ pen was just as stingy. After starter Gage Burland failed to make it out of the first, left-hander Calvin LeBrun blanked the Ducks on just three hits over 5.2 innings, and righty Hunter Wells got the final five outs to preserve the Gonzaga win.

Susnara Scorching Hot: Coming off a career-high four-hit night on Monday, Susnara extended his hitting streak to a career-long eight games with his two-run single in the first. During the eight-game stretch, the Ducks’ catcher is hitting .520 (13-for-25) with a home run, four doubles, 10 RBI and seven runs score, while raising his average from .233 to .281. The sophomore has driven in eight runs in his last four games after picking up 10 in his first 39. He registered his fifth multiple-RBI game of the season Tuesday, and his third consecutive. Susnara was replaced by Slade Heggen after bouncing into a fielder’s choice to end the fifth inning.

Record Book Watch: Austin Grebeck’s first-inning walk moved him into fifth in Oregon history with 77 for his career, and his 32 free passes this year are tied for sixth in single-season history … Cole Irvin came on in relief for the second time in his career, throwing a scoreless inning that included his 11th career-pickoff to move into a tie for second in UO history … Stephen Nogosek made his 79th career-appearance, good for second all-time, and moved into a tie for fifth with his 28th game finished.

Notable: The Ducks’ four-run first marked the sixth time in the last seven games they have scored in the first inning … Breshears picked up the third RBI of his career on his base hit in the first … Grebeck was 1-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to six games … Nogosek threw 1.2 scoreless innings in relief to lower his ERA to 1.11 … Gonzaga earned just its second win in program history against the Ducks; Oregon now leads the all-time series 16-2.

On Deck: The Ducks travel to Corvallis this weekend to take on Oregon State in the Civil War series. The two teams split their two midweek matchups this season, with the Beavers winning 11-10 on April 18 and the Ducks coming away with a 7-6 win on April 27. The games on Friday and Saturday will both be aired on ESPNU with first pitch at 7:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively. Sunday’s game will begin at 3 p.m. and will be shown on Pac-12 Networks.

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