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.
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