GOLETA, Calif. — Oregon won its eighth game in a row by dominating UC Santa Barbara for the second day in a row, with first baseman Brandon Cuddy driving in seven runs to help give freshman left-hander David Peterson his first collegiate win 11-3 on Saturday at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.
The No. 26 Gauchos got on the board first for the second day in a row, taking a 1-0 lead in the first and adding on in the second.
Cuddy tied it 2-2 with a two-run triple in the fourth, then scored on a sacrifice fly to give No. 20 Oregon its first lead. Cuddy, who drove in the eventual winning runs Friday, followed suit Saturday in the fifth when he came up with the bases loaded and cleared the left-field fence for a grand slam. Phil Craig-St. Louis reached on an error and was driven in by Mark Karaviotis to make it a five-run inning, and an 8-2 lead.
The Ducks (10-1) added on when Nick Catalano tripled and scored in the sixth. Santa Barbara (7-3) responded with a run in the bottom of the inning to get within 9-3, but Trent Paddon came on to shut down the Gauchos over the final three innings, and the Ducks tacked on two runs in the ninth, with Cuddy driving in his seventh run of the game on a fielder’s choice.
The 6-foot-6 freshman left-hander Peterson posted his third consecutive quality start to open this season, and for the first time benefitted from enough early offense to get the win. “It’s exciting,” said Peterson, a coveted prospect out of high school. “It’s awesome. We’ve played really well and it’s not really about the personal stuff, but to get my first win feels good.”
Peterson battled stomach problems early but settled down and improved as the game wore on. After a leadoff double in the third, he didn’t allow another hit until the sixth thanks in part to a slider that was as sharp as it’s been since he arrived on campus. “It’s challenged me; over the fall I honestly stopped throwing it for a while, because I couldn’t get the grip and it was frustrating,” Peterson said. “But I kept working with it. This week I found a grip that I liked, I got the movement back and it really helped me get out of some stuff today.”
Paddon made his first relief appearance of the season after making starts each of the first two weekends. He had control problems in those starts, walking three and hitting six batters in six innings — including three in a row to open one game — but none of that was evident Saturday. “I needed that one today,” Paddon said. “It feels good to get back out there and throw a lot of strikes.”
Paddon got ready in a hurry Saturday, warming up when Peterson ran into trouble in the sixth before getting out of the inning with runners stranded at second and third. He said he learned from his two starts that he needs to improve his mental approach in those situations. “Obviously I know how to do it out of the bullpen, since that’s what I did last year,” Paddon said. “Hopefully, if that opportunity (to start) does arise again, I think I’ll have a different mentality as a starter and I think that’ll help me out.”
Austin Grebeck continues to thrive since entering the starting lineup. An 0-for-1 line Saturday belied his impact at the plate — two bunts moved runners into scoring position, he drove in Catalano in the sixth with a sacrifice fly, and in the ninth Grebeck led off with a walk before coming around to score. … UCSB pressured UO pitchers to come off the mound and make several plays. Patterson slipped and allowed the second hitter of the game to reach on a bunt, but redeemed himself later by getting off the mound to field a ball up the first-base line and get the out. Paddon, who made conditioning a focus this offseason, showed off his improved athleticism by fielding a bunt toward third base in the eighth, spinning and throwing to first for the out. … Karaviotis had his second three-hit game of the season, and the third of his career.