Ducks hope Tuesdays’ Civil War showdown brings a win in the series

Last weekend, Oregon State (12-6, 32-7) baseball swept Oregon (8-13, 21-20) in a three-game series in Corvallis. The Beavers outscored the Ducks 19-8 over the weekend series.

“We had a chance to win one game. The game we pitched and played the best defense, we didn’t hit enough,” Oregon head coach George Horton said. “We just didn’t get it done.”

Oregon lost its last five games and hasn’t beaten Oregon State since May 2016, when Oregon went two-for-three in the series, outscoring Oregon State 16-13 overall.

Last season, Oregon State, who was the 2017 Pac-12 champions, also swept Oregon in the Civil War series in Eugene earlier this season.

This weekend, Horton says the Beavers outplayed the Ducks in pitching, hitting and defense.

“We didn’t match up very well with a team that was playing the game really well,” he said.

Junior pitcher Matt Mercer said the pitching staff got behind in the count, which forced more pitches. Against a high-caliber team like Oregon State, those pitches quickly became completions.

“It obviously was a tough loss,” Mercer said. “We gave them a lot and we didn’t do a lot of the small things right and they exposed us more than maybe other teams would’ve
and have.”

As the Ducks prepare to face the Beavers on Tuesday at home, Horton said the team will be working on pitchers’ fielding practices and base-running. For Oregon, these next couple games are about execution and completion.

“We get to play the Beavers two more times,” Horton said. “We’ve got to play a lot better than we did over the weekend, because they totally outplayed us.”

Senior infielder Kyle Kassar, who was nominated for the Senior CLASS award last week, said that, at bat, the team needs to focus on hitting with two strikes. Oregon struck out a total of 30 times in last weekend’s series, with 15, six and nine getting set down respectively on the weekend.

“[Oregon State’s] a good team; they execute when you don’t execute and they just beat
you when you’re down,” Kassar said.

While the past couple games haven’t been what the Ducks hoped for, Horton believes the failure isn’t from a lack of competence, but a failure to execute. With just under half of conference play still to go, the Ducks are hoping to recover.

“Our guys are hanging in there. They’re working really hard,” Horton said. “We’re all hurting. We need to coach better; they need to play better, and we’re all capable of doing that.”

For the Ducks, that’ll take positive, lateral leadership and constructive adjustments, catching and calling out what’s being done well and what needs to be improved.

“Everyone’s gotta look in the mirror and ask, ‘What can I do better?’” Horton said.

Oregon plays Oregon State again on May 1 and 8 at PK Park.

Follow Sierra Webster on Twitter @WebsterSierraE

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