Oregon entered Friday evening with an opportunity to make a statement against one of the top offensive programs in the Pac-12.
The Ducks did exactly that in their series opener at Arizona and notched their seventh consecutive win in impressive fashion.
Oregon (16-7, 4-3 Pac-12) topped Arizona (14-10, 3-7) by a score of 15-3 at Hi Corbett Field in Tucson.
The Ducks racked up 22 hits on the night and put 27 runners on base. All nine of Oregon’s starters had at least one base hit, and eight Ducks had multi-hit games.
Sophomore designated hitter Jacob Walsh went 4-for-5 with two homers and three RBI. Junior first baseman Sabin Ceballos went 3-for-6 with four RBI and a double.
Senior outfielder Tanner Smith and senior second baseman Gavin Grant each went 3-for-5 with an RBI
Junior right fielder Rikuu Nishida went 2-for-4 with two RBI and a stolen base.
Oregon’s starter, junior right-hander Jace Stoffal, delivered one of his best outings of the season. The Roseburg, Ore., native tossed 7.0 innings and held Arizona to three runs and five hits. Stoffal struck out five and walked two against a Wildcats’ squad that entered the series hitting .298 as a team on the year.
The Ducks got on the board first thanks to the heads-up base-running of Nishida. The Ducks’ leadoff man drew a walk on the first at-bat of the night and then proceeded to steal second.
He advanced to third on a groundout to second, then scored on Ceballos’ infield single to give Oregon an early 1-0 lead.
It wasn’t until the second inning, though, that the offensive floodgates opened for the Ducks.
During a frame that lasted nearly 30 minutes, Oregon sent 12 batters to the plate and scored seven runs on seven hits to take an 8-0 lead. Walsh led off the inning with his sixth homer of the season — a solo shot to left-center.
From there, Nishida drilled a run-scoring single, and Drew Cowley followed two batters later with a bases-clearing triple. Ceballos added another RBI single, and Walsh capped things off with an RBI single for his second hit of the inning.
Arizona starter TJ Nichols, a hard-throwing junior right-hander, was chased after just 1 1/3 innings. He was responsible for all eight of Oregon’s runs throughout the first two innings.
The Wildcats got a pair of runs back in the bottom of the second when Garren Caulfield and Tyler Casagrande each drove in runs.
But the Ducks extended their lead in the fifth when they batted around for the second instance of the evening and hung five more runs on the board.
Nishida, Shade, and Smith all cracked run-scoring singles during the frame, and Ceballos lined a two-run double to left field. By the time the inning ended, the Ducks led 13-2.
After Stoffal departed the game, junior righty Austin Anderson — who is also a Roseburg native — replaced him at the start of the eighth and tossed two scoreless innings to close out the game.
The Ducks and Wildcats will face off for the second game of the series Saturday at 6 p.m. PT. Junior righty Logan Mercado is expected to get the starting nod for the Ducks.
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