For 24 of the 27 innings played in the super regional at Eugene, Kent State either had the lead or was tied with Oregon. No matter how much being this close to a trip to the College World Series hurts for Ducks fans, it simply wasn’t earned in this round of the playoffs. The opportunities were scarce, and the Ducks put themselves behind the eight-ball being down late in each game.
So, the MAC champion moves on with Stony Brook as two of the Cinderella stories at Omaha. Let’s find out why Oregon is staying home.
Late-Season Pitching Struggles Continued for the Ducks
This season, Oregon is 5-38 when trailing after six innings. They picked up one of those wins in game two of the series, and picked up the lone victory after the eighth inning against Austin Peay in last weekend’s regional.
It’s the pitching that gives this team victories, not when they have to come back. Ever since the struggles in the regular season series finale against Oregon State, both the starting pitching staff and the bullpen just wasn’t as sharp as it’s been when the Ducks were on the long winning streak earlier this season.
The Golden Flashes Got Five Unearned Runs in the First Game
Three errors were committed by Oregon, automatically resulting in three runs for Kent State, two of them in a costly eighth inning. One error set up another run. At the end of the day, five of the Golden Flashes’ seven runs weren’t earned by the Ducks pitching staff. If there’s anything the team can look back to shake their head over, it would be this fielding performance.
Kent State Pitched Nearly Perfectly
All three starters went five or more innings, and the worst pitching performance was the ace that gave up five hits, four runs, and seven walks. The bullpen gave up a combined four runs and four hits in 8.1 innings of work. Needless to say…
Oregon Produced Offense In Two of the Last 18 Innings
It was a strange first game, but who knew that Oregon would only muster five runs in the last two games after that showing? Both starters were simply fantastic for Kent State. Them, along with the bullpen, helped their team keep small leads. When it all mattered they delivered clutch hits in the final inning of the series.
NEVER Underestimate a Hot Team
The Golden Flashes came in destroying their conference tournament and the Gary regional, silently holding a streak of 20 victories. It was finally snapped at 21, but the rebound was quick. Regardless of the caliber of teams that Kent State played, momentum is one of the toughest aspects of a team’s game to stop.