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Gwen Svekis homers twice to lift No. 5 Oregon past No. 9 Arizona

The Oregon catcher just has Taylor McQuillin’s number

Photo via @OregonSB

Sometimes a batter just has a pitcher’s number. Taylor McQuillin has to be feeling that way about Gwen Svekis.

The Oregon catcher homered twice, powering the fifth-ranked Ducks to a 5-2 victory over No. 9 Arizona on Friday in Eugene.

Svekis hit a solo homer to right-center in the bottom of the second, then ripped a three-run shot to left in the sixth to break a 1-1 tie.

Svekis has homered twice in each of McQuillin’s last two starts against Oregon dating back to last April. Only that time the Wildcats won 10-7.

This time, their offense couldn’t crack UO ace Megan Kleist, who allowed two runs (one unearned) on eight hits. The right-hander struck out seven and walked none.

Svekis’s early homer was the game’s only run — and Oregon’s only hit — until the sixth inning when UA shortstop Jessie Harper scored on a fielder’s choice by right fielder Aleah Craighton.

That tied the game at 1 but Arizona squandered an opportunity to put another run or two on the board in that frame.

Pinch-runner Jaycee Lindley was gunned down at home by Oregon third baseman Jenna Lilley on Tamara Statman’s fielder’s choice, then pinch-hitter Joelle Krist fanned to strand two.

Oregon wasted no time mounting a rally of its own in the bottom half of the inning.

A bunt single by Alexis Mack and a five-pitch walk to Mary Iakopo started things off, then Svekis pulled a shoulder-high riseball deep over the left-field wall.

The very next batter, Shannon Rhodes, homered to right to make it a 5-1 ballgame. Three of the Ducks’ four hits off McQuillin (18-5) were homers, but she also walked five.

The Wildcats left eight on base and were 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position. They stranded at least one runner in scoring position in each of the last four innings.

Back-to-back, two-out doubles by Reyna Carranco and Harper would plate a run in the seventh, but Kleist fanned Dejah Mulipola for the game’s final out.

Oregon improves to 30-6 overall and 5-2 in the Pac-12. Arizona falls to 27-7 and 6-4, respectively. The Wildcats are 0-4 on the road in conference play, which is a troubling trend.

Friday’s loss snapped their three-game winning streak.

The second game of the series is Saturday at 12 p.m. PT on ESPN.

Reyna returns

Carranco returned to the lineup Friday after missing the last five games with a concussion and broken nose that she suffered March 23 when she took a pitch to the face at Washington.

The sophomore went 1-for-4 and struck out twice in the No. 2 spot. One of those strikeouts came with two outs in the fifth inning with runners on the corners.

But then she doubled with two outs in the seventh, slicing a line drive into the left-center gap, and later scored on a gapper to right-center by Harper, who also doubled in the sixth.

Carranco had one putout and three assists in the field where she debuted a white mask.

Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire