Kenyon Yovan’s season debut was somewhat muted, with two walks and no hits on Friday night, but Oregon’s leading hitter was back to form in a doubleheader on Saturday.
Yovan went 2 for 5 with a three-run home run and go-ahead RBI single to lead the Ducks to a 5-4 comeback win at No. 15 UC-Santa Barbara in the first game and followed by going 3 for 4 with a pair of two-run home runs to lead a 17-2 onslaught in the nightcap.
“We had a very good day,” Oregon coach Mark Wasikowski said. “Loved the two wins. The first one, boy we got kind of stymied there throughout the whole game. We were able to get a four in one inning there late in the ballgame, and win that ballgame 5-4. That was a big deal. Then in the second ballgame, to be able to come out and get an eight in the second inning right out of the shoot.
“I don’t know if we have had too many athletes have a nine-RBI day like Kenyon Yovan had today. It was a really special day for him. It was exciting to see a wide scale of good performances, all the way through the starting performances of Cullen Kafka and Brett Walker, all the way through the pitching. RJ Gordon getting his toes out there for the first time. It was a good day and we are looking forward to tomorrow.”
In the first game, Kafka allowed one run on four hits and a walk and struck out seven over five innings in a no-decision. Christian Ciuffetelli was tagged for three runs on four hits and a walk over 1.2 innings of relief as the Gauchos took a 4-0 lead after seven.
Oregon mounted its rally in the eighth as Tristan Hanoian singled and Tanner Smith, who homered twice in Friday’s comeback win, walked to put two on for Yovan, who drilled a three-run homer to center off James Callahan. Three batters later Josh Kasevich dropped a sacrifice bunt and an error allowed the tying run to score.
In the ninth, Sam Novitske singled, Smith walked again and Yovan drove Novitske in for the deciding run off Christopher Troye (1.2 IP, one run on two hits and two walks, one strikeout).
Rio Britton earned the win with 1.1 innings of scoreless relief and Kolby Somers picked up his second save in as many games for the Ducks.
UCSB struck first in the nightcap, but UO responded with an eight-run second inning and never looked back.
Sam Novitske, Kasevich and Aaron Zavala all had RBI singles, Smith had an RBI double and Yovan had his first two-run blast in the second inning outburst for Oregon (5-2), which scored in five straight frames.
Smith added a sacrifice fly in the third, Zavala hit a solo home run in the fourth, Yovan hit a sacrifice fly and a wild pitch allowed another run to score to make it 12-1 after five.
Yovan added another two-run home run in the sixth and errors allowed Oregon to add runs int he eight and ninth innings as well.
Walker allowed one run on seven hits and a walk with three strikeouts over six innings. Gordon struck out five over two innings of scoreless relief and Brayden Spears allowed one run on a hit and a walk in the ninth.
The teams wrap up the series Sunday at noon.
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