June 1, 2013


Stephens Shuts Down Ducks

By Isaac Rosenthal

Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com


EUGENE, Ore. – Jordan Stephens turned in a complete-game shutout as Rice beat Oregon 1-0 Saturday night in front of 2,591 fans at PK Park. 


The Owls took a first-inning lead on an RBI double from Christian Hoeslscher, and that was all the offense Rice would need with Stephens (8-4) turning in a gem on the hill, striking out 11 and walking just two. It marked the first shutout of Stephens’ career.  


“Those two breaking balls [Stephens] was throwing were tremendous,” Oregon coach George Horton said. “It was in the zone when we were taking and out of the zone when we were swinging. That's called 'pitching' and he did a nice job of it.” 


It was the second straight day the Oregon offense struggled mightily. The Ducks managed only two hits against South Dakota State but still came away with a 3-2 win, but the Ducks had no such luck against Rice, scraping together just two hits — one of which didn't leave the infield — to fall to 4 for 53 as a team in Regional play. 


“If we're going to get this done we got a lot of work to do,” Horton said.


Rice had a few chances to add insurance runs but Oregon's defense kept the game close. A well-timed pitchout call negated a double-steal attempt from the Owls in the fourth, and an inning earlier Tyler Baumgartner threw a strike from right field to the plate to get  Christian Stringer, thanks to a great tag from Shaun Chase.


“I thought we hit the ball a little better than we scored,” Rice coach Wayne Graham said. “Part of that was Oregon playing good defense...sometimes that causes you not to score as well as you hit.”


The Owls had eight hits in the game, seven off Tommy Thorpe who pitched the first seven frames for the Ducks and one off Garret Clevinger in the bottom of the eighth but didn't have a runner passed second base after Ford Stainback scored in the first. 


Oregon will play San Francisco Sunday at noon with the winner advancing to play Rice at 4. A Rice loss in that game would set up a final game on Monday at 6.