Payne powers Ducks to sweep

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EUGENE, Ore. – The first home run of Aaron Payne’s career broke open the game for No. 6 Oregon as the Ducks completed the sweep of Seattle with a 6-1 victory at PK Park on Sunday.

The Ducks (41-14), currently on an eight-game winning streak, have now recorded the program’s most wins in a single season.

But Oregon had to battle back from an early deficit in its record-breaking victory as Seattle starter Brayn Dalton took a no-hitter into the top of the fifth. With the Redhawks (22-27) holding on to a 1-0 advantage, Payne recorded UO’s first hit of the game by launching the first home run of his career over the wall in right to even the score. Oregon added two more runs in the inning to take a 3-1 lead with a two-out rally.

Dalton walked Ryon Healy and surrendered a single to Brett Thomas before Kyle Garlick drove a RBI double into left field. Garrett Anderson came out of the bullpen in relief of Dalton, and delivered a wild pitch as Thomas scored UO’s third run of the frame.

In the loss, Dalton allowed three runs on three hits and four walks in four and 2/3 innings on the mound.

In the sixth, the Ducks added a pair of runs as Payne’s RBI triple plated J.J. Altobelli, before Payne scored on Aaron Jones’ RBI single that dropped into center field.

Oregon scored its final run of the game in the seventh as Vernell Warren’s sacrifice fly plated Kevin Shepherd.

Oregon right-hander Jeff Gold (8-3) allowed just one run after scattering five hits and walking three in six and 1/3 innings. The native of Moraga, Calif., struck out five to earn his second straight win.

Tommy Thorpe and Jimmie Sherfy combined to toss two and 2/3 innings of relief while striking out six.

Payne finished his day 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored to lead Oregon.

The Ducks return to action next week with five games. Oregon will travel to Portland for a 3 p.m. game on Tuesday, and the Pilots will return to Eugene for a 6 p.m. game against the Ducks at PK Park. Wednesday’s game will be UO’s final regular season home game at PK in 2012.

Oregon will end the regular season with a three-game series at Oregon State.