UCLA came into this weekend tied atop the Pac-12 and a top 10 team. Oregon, who just swept Arizona St., were a top 25 team, but weren't getting much publicity despite a fine start to the season that has them in contention to host a Regional. Well, the Ducks are going to get a little publicity on Thursday evening after they beat the Bruins, 6-2, and more handily than the score might indicate. The loss drops the Bruins out of the top spot in the conference and puts the Ducks even with them in the Pac-12 at 7-3, a game behind Arizona.
It was not Adam Plutko's best day and walks were not to blame for his struggles. The sophomore managed just 4.1 innings, allowed five runs on nine hits and while he walked just one, he also only struck out two in his worst start of the campaign. Zack Weiss worked 2.2 innings out of the bullpen, allowing one run, and Chase Brewer and Madison Poole combined for two scoreless frames despite a pair of walks apiece.
With Alex Keudell on the mound for the Ducks, UCLA was always going to have a tough time getting hits and runs, but the hits did come. The Bruins racked up 10 on the day, with Tyler Heineman, Cody Regis and Pat Valaika picking up a pair each. Trevor Brown had a hit of his own and added a walk, but it took until the ninth inning for the Bruins to even get on the scoreboard and the tremendous Oregon staff held them down for much of the night.
Despite a hit batsman in the first inning, it didn't look like Plutko was going to be in for a long game in the early going, but Oregon got to him in the second. Three singles scored the game's opening run and had Beau Amaral not thrown out the man trying to go from first to third to end the inning, things could have gotten uglier.
Aaron Jones got in on the fun in the third inning as the Ducks' top hitter roped a two-out homer to left field that stretched the visitors' lead to 3-0. An Aaron Payne double scored a pair in the following inning and the Ducks were well out in front with a 5-0 lead and showing no signs of giving it up.
UCLA did have a couple chances to get on the board in the early going, but they could not cash them in. A pair of first inning singles gave them a chance and they got two more in the second inning, but all four men were left on base.
Jones did the Bruins in one more time in the seventh when he hit the first pitch of the inning out for his second home run of the game.
Shane Zeile started off the UCLA ninth by wearing a pitch and a double by Valaika gave the Bruins' some life, but it wasn't enough. Matt Giovinazzo singled one run in and an Amaral sacrifice fly scored another, but it was still all Ducks as they grabbed the series opener in dominant fashion.