SAN MARCOS, Texas – Oregon’s comeback at Texas State fell short on Wednesday afternoon at Bobcat Ballpark as the No. 23 Ducks fell 7-6.
Oregon (15-8) has now lost three consecutive games for the first time this year, and two Texas State home runs proved to be the difference in the game. The Ducks also allowed Texas State’s leadoff batters to reach four times during the game, and each of those four times the runner came around to score.
Texas State (16-9) right-hander Austen Williams (1-0) got the win after surrendering five runs on eight hits and one walk while fanning four in six and 1/3 innings on the hill.
In the second start of his collegiate career, left-hander Jordan Spencer (0-1) was credited with the loss after tossing four innings and allowing five runs – four earned – while also issuing two walks and striking out two.
Oregon fell behind in the first inning for the third time this year as Casey Kalenkosky hit his second home run in as many days. Similar to Tuesday, the catcher hit a two-run homer to left in his first at-bat of the day.
But Oregon answered in the top of the second as the Ducks evened the game scoring two runs on three hits and a walk as Kyle Garlick’s RBI single scored Ryon Healy, and Connor Hofmann’s one-run single brought Thomas Walker home.
Texas State quickly reclaimed the lead as Brooks Orton hit a two-run homer over the wall in right center in the bottom of the second.
The Bobcats added a run in the third as an error on a failed pickoff attempt moved Nick Smelser from first to third before he scored on a Kalenkosky sacrifice fly unearned.
Walker, starting at third in his first appearance since Feb. 19 at Hawai’i, hit the first home run of his collegiate career, taking Williams’ 1-1 offering over the wall in left field in the top of the fourth as Oregon closed 5-3. The Long Beach, Calif., native was 2-for-4 on the day and scored three of UO’s six runs.
In the fifth, the Bobcats added a run to take a 6-3 advantage with Oregon reliever Joey Housey on the hill. The right-hander issued a leadoff walk to Smelser, who eventually came around to score on an Andrew Stumph RBI groundout.
Oregon closed within one, 6-5, in the top of the seventh as two singles from Walker and Hofmann put runners on first and second with one out. Texas State went to Ross Goebel out of the bullpen, but the reliever surrendered a RBI single to J.J. Altobelli – the first batter he faced – as Walker scored from second. Aaron Payne’s groundout then brought home Hoffman.
Texas State added what proved to be the game-winning run in the seventh as right-hander Tommy Thorpe issued a leadoff walk to Tyler Sibley, who scored on a Stumph one-run single to center, but the Ducks got the run back quickly as Brett Thomas drove a one-out triple off the wall in right center in the eighth. He came home on Garlick’s RBI single as Oregon trailed 7-6 after the top of the eighth.
Altobelli was stranded at first in the top of the ninth as Jeff McVaney earned his fifth save of the year.
Oregon out hit Texas State 11-8 and left five runners stranded.
The Ducks return to PK Park at 6 pm on Friday to host a three-game Pac-12 series with 14th-ranked Arizona State. On Friday at PK Park, the Ducks will host a 1960s-inspired Karaoke Night. Tickets are only $6.60 if bought in advance through www.GoDucks.com.
First pitch for game two of the series is set for 2 p.m., Saturday. Children that wear their KidSports jersey to the game will receive admission for just $1. The second set of Oregon baseball cards will also be given out on Saturday.
Altobelli finished his day 2-for-5 with a RBI, while Thomas finished 2-for-4 with a run scored. Hofmann also had a 2-for-4 day with a RBI and run scored, while Garlick drove in two runs on a 1-for-3 day.
Kalenkosky drove in three runs for Texas State, while Smelser had a 2-for-2 outing with three runs scored.