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Dawgs Bite, Ducks Lay Egg; Baseball Takes Game 1 With Authority

Games 18 & 19: Today, St. Patrick's Saturday, March 17th 12:00 PM | Gamecast | Gamecast II | Video

Morning Links:

It was one wild opening night to the inaugural Pac-12(11) season, with three "upsets" to throw another curveball into the projections (all rankings from Baseball America Poll):

Game 17: Friday, March 16th 5:00 PM | Gamecast | Box Score | Season Stats

(12-4, 0-1) #17 Oregon - 3 | 7 | 3 | 4

(11-6, 1-0) Washington - 8 | 11 | 0 | 4

W - RHP A. West (3-1) | 6 IP | 5 H | 3 ER | 0 BB | 3 K's | 1 Balk | 1 HBP | 6 FO | 10 GO

L - RHP A. Keudell (1-3) | 6.2 IP | 8 H | 7 R | 4 ER | 0 BB | 3 K | 3 Wild Pitch | 1 HBP

-Winning Fact: Washington has not lost a game when they have committed 0 errors while the opp. 1+ errors. Pitching + Defense = Championships.

It was a beautiful way to start the inaugural Pac-12 season: an opening series against a regional rival for Washington at home, who they matched up well against on paper. The game went as predicted, with the offense jumping on vulnerable (if you looked at the stats coming in) Alex Keudell the second time through the order, while the pitching shut down the Duck offense to seal the victory.

Oh, I still might have to eat some crow, but right now I get to say: Dawgs won(1), zeroes are 0's. I can't wait for the double header today at noon. Say hello if you want, no need to be shy..

If Tyler Davis can fool Oregon with his curveball today the way Aaron West and the Dawgpen did with their sliders, it's going to be a long bus ride back to Eugene for the quackers. Only a couple *ucks batters showed the ability to hit anything offspeed, so look for the Dawgs to challenge them early and often with the junk until they hit it. The pitching was superb, and gets the spotlight this morning. Technically all three phases of the game performed very well, but the Dawgpen deserves some front page love right now.

The Dawgpen is the strength of the 2012 Diamond Dawgs at this time. Yes, you read that right. If you were to ask many people what the strength was before the season, one would have mostly likely said the offense, not the pitching. Alas, they have been listening well to Pitching/Asst. Head Coach Dave Dangler, quickly becoming the most reliable and constant force on the team.

Recap of how your supposed to host rivals, after the stretch...

Aaron West came out a little shaky in the first couple innings, with Oregon capitalizing on a few mental miscues from West himself to score a run in each frame, making it 2-0 after a fly ball to end the 2nd. Including that batter, West retired the next 13 batters faced in succession allowing the offense time to work their magic. Jayce Ray lead off the 4th with a double, combining with West to spark the Dawgs to victory yet again; this was the momentum swing that changed the game.

With the flip of switch between innings West looked like a different pitcher, working with alacrity, composure and a confident swagger not present in the first two innings. Aaron went back to being himself, getting ahead quickly with the fastball and using the slider to cut 'em down. He went into the 7th with the lead 5-2, only to give up a solo HR on the very first pitch of the inning to quacker Kyle Garlick, who scored 2 of the 3 *uck runs. The hook was quickly out to bring in Kane, leaving with the victory intact, doing his part as usual. The 'pen took over where West left off, retiring the last 7 batters in succession.

Everyone in the 'pen has been performing great, with only the random run in the later innings allowed at most usually. They have been spreading the work load around very well, allowing them all to stay fresh, ready to go when needed. Whether in the lead or behind, the Dawgpen has stepped up and held their ground admirably, leaving me feeling actual relief when a reliever is used. Strange, huh? This is a very nice development to go along with Fredendall, who has been dominant all year.

Tyler Kane (0.00 ERA, 3 H, 7 K's, .176 AVG on the season) has been lights out, pitching 5 shutout innings in 4 appearances so far and came having only allowed one hit. He quickly retired the first two *ucks faced, then gave up a single and bloop double (only 2 hits allowed by the 'pen) down the LF line for runners on 2B & 3B. Kane calmly worked the next hitter into a deep fly to RF to keep the damage to one run. The last Oregon scoring inning, last hit, last base runner. The game was effectively over at this point with our bullpen finding the Ice maker in the new facility.

Having Palewicz setting up Fredendall is working out well as of late, with Nick shedding his early season struggles to regain his release point with a new arm angle. If you look at the video he has more of a ¾ delivery now with the fastball, scrapping the sidearm to just the slider. As long as the slider breaks well one can get away with the different angles. This is a development I agree (not like my opinion means squat) with, it suits his frame and top heavy delivery. He set them down 1-2-3 and looked like an entirely different pitcher, one with more confidence.

Fredendall has his slider working the nasty meter in the red right now, looking un-hittable once again last night. A swinging strikeout from 2 fastballs and 2 finishing sliders, a weak fly to shallow left on a fastball they couldn't catch up to last night, finished with a another helping of shallow left field can-of-corn from the lefty pinch-hitter to end the game quickly. Talk about out-dueling what is supposed to be one of the best pitching staffs in the country. Dawgs 1, egg layin' quackers 0.

Starting Lineup

CF Ray

LF Meggs

1B Berry, 1B Trevor Mitsui

DH Anselment

RF Camporeale

3B Lamb

2B Pehl, INF M. Jackson

C B.K. Santy

SS Afenir

SP A. West, RP T. Kane (7th), RP N. Palewicz (8th), Closer J. Fredendall (9th) - Exactly how you want it.

Game 17 Recap: 11-32, .344 AVG | 8 R | 5 ER/RBI | 1 2B | 1 HR | 2 Sac-Hits | 0 BB | 4 K | 1 HBP

The first 3 innings were all Oregon, as SP Keudell shut down the Dawgs in quick fashion nine up, nine down the first time through the order. The last 6 innings belonged to the Dawgs after the second time through the lineup resulted in three eventual game winning runs in the 4th.

>1st Inning: nada

Oregon lead the the game off with a single by Altobelli past Afenir, who was shading heaving up the middle and had no shot on what should have been a routine out. Altobelli proceeded to 2B quickly on an Aaron West balk on the next pitch; Skipper Meggs wanted to check the reason for the call, making his routine trip to an Ump earlier than usual. Afenir looked back the runner before tossing the next ground ball to first, but Altobelli took a big gamble and made it to 3B before Berry could toss the ball to Lamb. With the runner on third the corner infielders were pulled in, turning another out in a run this time. Berry had no chance on the bouncing ground ball to his right, an opposite field hit, and its 1-0 Oregon quickly. The zeroes have some wheels, but they are no match for the laser arm of B.K. Santy, who proceeds to throw a perfect strike down to Pehl at 2B to end the inning for his pitcher.

Three up, three down for the bats.

>> 2nd Inning: zilch

Garlick hits a line drive single up the middle for the zeroes to put two straight lead off batters aboard, very atypical of West. A swinging K and ground ball hit-and-run to Afenir puts a runner on 2B, 2 outs with DH Hambright up to bat. Hambright was 5-34 at this point on the season, yet had 5 RBI's; should have been a clue. He hit a line drive to center and it was 2-0 *ucks. Oregon Coach Horton is a purist with small ball where Meggs is a modern hybrid. The zeroes put the game in motion and it paid off again, already having 22 steals on the year as well. West beaned Hofmann to put 2 runners on but landed the fly ball out afterwords, and it was a brand new ballgame for West.

>>> 3rd Inning: more of the same

This time it was 2 ground balls and a fly ball, 1-2-3 inning over.

Same for the Dawgs, only it was a ground ball, strikeout and fly ball.

>>>> 4th Inning: 3 R | 5 H | 1 E | 1 LOB

Hey we have a ballgame. After West decided to mix it up a little (ya gotta keep the defense on their toes when your pitching like this) and went ground ball, fly ball then swinging strikeout to quickly finish the 4th. Keep 'em guessing, Aaron...

Jayce Ray really is the spark plug to our offensive engine. He should have a T-shirt portraying that somehow, maybe a tattoo, too. He turned on a fastball down the middle, hitting a line drive down the RF line for a stand up double, his 6th of year.

Meggs is a bunt master, skillfully placing one down the 3B line that was perfect. Ray & Meggs getting things started at the top is becoming a broken record. With runners on the corners the Dawgs applied the pressure this time, resulting in another timely wild pitch to easily score Ray and advancing Meggs to 2B. Berry came up and hit a line drive (line drives are good) to left, Meggs stopped at third but Berry, with another heads up move on the paths by the Dawgs, goes to second on the throw home. He was lucky the ball from the RF sailed over the cut-off man's head, otherwise he was out.

Anselment has been up and down this year, having a good game last night at the dish, having only to worry about hitting in the DH role. He seems to do better when he doesn't have to focus on catching as well. Chase turned on another fastball for a single to right, scoring Meggs with runners on the corners again. Camporeale grounded into a double play, scoring Berry. 3-2 Dawgs on top now.

First pitch-swinging was Lamb with a single past a diving second baseman, the Dawgs having no trouble turning on Keudell all of the sudden. Lamb then forces an overthrow on a pick-off attempt to go down to second for free. Pehl hit a lazy fly to RF to end it.

>>>>> 5th Inning:

Berry hit a single.

>>>>>> 6th Inning: 2 R | 1 H | 1 E | 1 LOB

This was the freebie inning. Thank you Oregon, karma owes us. After West did his thing boring the defense to sleep, the *ucks decided to lay their egg here.

Berry was hit by a fastball on the hand/wrist/forearm and went down writhing in pain, eventually going to first to the shock of the broadcast crew. Berry is tough, though that could affect his play tomorrow. I wouldn't be shocked to see him get the day off, with Mitsui replacing him in the 8th.

Anselment then hit a screamer up the middle for a single, Berry to 3B and Anselment with the second extra base on a throw to get the lead runner, sliding into 2B to take away the double play. Camporeale had a K and DP at this point, grounding again to the SS to bring in a run. This time Campo received the RBI, yet didn't on the double play doesn't make any sense, but what are you going to do. 4-2 Dawgs with the eventual winning run.

To keep the egg laying trend going, Anselment goes to third on a pitch in the dirt that bounced back towards the catcher during the longest at-bat of the night, courtesy of Lamb. This one at-bat took up half of the bottom of the 6th game tape...He eventually hit a sharp ground ball to 2B that should have ended the inning, only this is the *ucks in the field, and the ball bounces right off his glove into center field for another error, scoring Anselment. Meggs grounded out, Santy knuckled one back to the pitcher, 5-2 Dawgs.

>>>>>>> 7th Inning: 3 R | 3 H | 1 HR | 1 E | 0 LOB

As stated before, the last inning of the game in hindsight.

Garlick hit a leadoff solo HR to LF on the first pitch of the inning, giving West the hook and making it a 5-3 ballgame. That's all they would get, for our Dawgpen is stout.

Keudell was still in the ballgame; Oregon was obviously trying to save their 'pen for the DH today, and it probably cost them a chance to win this game. The Dawgs put the proverbial boot to the zeroes throat without hesitation, showing a nice killer instinct to finish games when they have the lead late.

Another perfect surprise bunt down the 3B line, this time by Afenir, to lead things off. Ray used the catcher to get on base with a catcher interference call, both runners advanced on another Keudell wild pitch and Oregon doomed themselves. With a Meggs sac-fly (he's a sac-artist) it became 6-3, spelling the end for Keudell after a Berry pop fly.

With a little gamesmanship Ryan Wiggins comes in to pinch-hit for the LH bat of Anselment after LHP Thorpe comes in relief. Wiggins didn't take long to pull another fastball by the Dawgs, this time over the LF fence for a 2 run HR; a nice bit of frosting on the cake with an exclamation point. 8-3 Dawgs, with a Campo and Santy single in the 7th and 8th to finish off the Dawgs hits.

No errors. I'm not going to talk about the defense: this is a very, very good thing right now. Maybe I can talk about them after the series and they don't commit an error......

I'll be at Husky Ballpark today, Go Dawgs!