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Eugene, OR. -- Sam Novitske and Gabe Matthews put the Oregon baseball team back in the win column Tuesday night by delivering run-scoring hits in the bottom of the eighth inning to break a 1-1 tie. The Ducks defeated the Pilots, 4-1 ahead of their Civil War series against Oregon State this weekend.
"I think this is actually good for us,” said freshman infielder Sam Novitske. “I think we needed a win to boost our confidence and to just boost our morale in the club house. It was huge getting this win especially after a tough series in Arizona. It's good to get this one."
The offensive production wasn’t the only thing that propelled the Ducks to victory Tuesday. A defensive coaching change by George Horton helped the Ducks in the infield. Horton switched Spencer Steer from shortstop to third base and Novitske from third to middle infield.
“The defense in our infield hasn’t been functioning exactly how we want it,” said Oregon head coach George Horton. “Spencer is an awesome shortstop but he’s on a whole different level. He’s as good of a third baseman as I’ve ever coached. I think we are going to stick with this switch for a while. I liked how it looked.”
Oregon also utilized its pitching rotation, despite giving up a program high 28 runs against Arizona on Sunday. The Ducks used six pitchers in the win with starter Brett Walker (3 innings), and relievers Peyton Fuller (0.2 innings), Kolby Somers (0.1 innings), and Nico Tellache (1 inning) not allowing a run.
Oregon and Oregon State meet Friday through Sunday in the Pac-12 Conference Civil War series. The Ducks and Beavers split a pair of non-conference games in Corvallis earlier this season. OSU won 7-6 on March 12, while UO won 12-8 on April 9. Game times are 7 p.m. on Friday, 2 p.m. on Saturday and 12 p.m. on Sunday.
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