Diamond Ducks sweep in paradise
HONOLULU, Hawaii - J.J. Altobelli went 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored to lead Oregon past Hawaii in the finale of a four-game series at Les Murakami Stadium on Monday afternoon.
The Ducks (4-0) completed a season-opening four-game sweep with the win, their best start to a season since the sport returned in 2009. Oregon last won its first four games in 1981 when UO got off to a 5-0 start.
Altobelli's big game capped a strong opening series for the senior shortstop. He batted .462 (6-for-13) in the four-game series, while tying for the team lead with four RBI.
Hawaii (0-4) took an early lead scoring a run in the bottom of the first inning for the second straight game. Andre Real, who led off the Rainbow's inning with a base on balls off Oregon starter Jeff Gold, scored on a Marc Flores ground ball to second baseman Aaron Payne.
Gold regrouped after allowing the first inning run, and held the 'Bows scoreless over the next 3.2 innings before being forced to leave the game after taking a line drive off the leg with two outs in the fifth. Gold allowed just one run on five hits in 4.2 innings.
The Ducks offense gave Oregon the lead in the top of the fifth with three runs. Steven Packard opened the inning with a lead-off walk and moved to third on a double to left field by Shaun Chase.
Altobelli picked up his first RBI with a single to center field that scored Packard. Chase moved to third on the hit and scored on a Payne sacrifice fly to give Oregon the 2-1 lead. Brett Thomas made it 3-1 driving in Altobelli with a double to center field.
Altobelli pushed the lead to 4-1 in the top of the sixth with a RBI single to left that scored Kyle Garlick.
Hawaii answered with a run in its half of the sixth, but the Ducks' bullpen shut down the Rainbows over the final three innings to clinch the series sweep.
Sophomore Jordan Spencer picked up the win after replacing Gold in the fifth. Spencer allowed a run and struck out two 'Bows in 1.2 innings. All-American Jimmie Sherfy, pitching for the third straight day, picked up his second save. Darrell Hunter and Christian Jones also came out of the bullpen to hold Hawaii scoreless over the final three innings.
Oregon returns home where the Ducks will open a three-game series on Friday against Loyola Marymount (2-1). Game times are 6 p.m. on Friday, 2 p.m. on Saturday and Noon on Sunday.