Zach Noll’s first collegiate start was supposed to happen a week ago in San Diego but was rained out. Instead, the freshman left-hander took the mound on Monday against UC-Davis to wrap up the Ducks’ four game, home opening series and came away with a five inning, four-hit, one-run outing for the victory in Oregon’s 7-2 win over the Aggies.
Designated hitter Gabe Matthews provided much of the offensive spark for the Ducks with a 3 for 4 night at the plate. Catcher Tim Susnara was walked five times as the Ducks took advantage of 9 base on balls and 11 base hits, breaking the game open iwht a three run third.
Jake Bennett opened the frame with a single and was moved to second when Matthews bounced a ball through the middle of the infield for his first base hit. After Sunsnara was walked and Matthew Dyer popped up to the infield, Taylor Travis’ ground ball was misplayed by the Aggies shortstop and two runs scored on the bad throw with Travis ending up at second base. Spencer Steer’s single drove Travis home and that would be enough for Noll.
Striking out four and issuing one walk, the freshman didn’t show much in the way of opening jitters once the game was underway according to Susnara. “He was calm and ready for the moment”, he said.
A run in the top of the fourth was the only blemish and that wasn’t entirely his doing. A single was misplayed into a triple by Travis in left field. A ground ball to short plated the runner with the out recorded at first. A hit batter and another single had the Aggies threatening for more until Noll recorded a strike out and Travis fielded a sharply hit ball on the hop and gunned down the lead runner at the plate for the third out.
Isaiah Carranza pitched four innings in relief, surrendering a single run in the seventh. By then Oregon added an insurance in fourth and two more in the sixth for a 6-2 lead.
Three walks and a double-play ground ball pushed across one more run in the eighth for the Ducks, lifting their season record to 7-4. The Aggies fell to 3-7.
Oregon returns to non-conference action hosting a four game set with Santa Clara beginning Thursday at 6:00.