Brown’s strong start not enough as NSU falls to Oregon

EUGENE, Oregon – Drayton Brown gave the Northwestern State baseball team its best start of the weekend Sunday afternoon in the finale of a four-game series at Oregon. 

However, the Ducks’ pitching staff was equal to the challenge.  

A trio of Oregon right-handers limited the Demons to two its and handed Northwestern State its first shutout of the season, completing a four-game sweep with a 5-0 win at PK Park. 

“We didn’t play very well today,” seventh-year head coach Bobby Barbier said. “Too many mistakes and not enough quality at-bats. In the fourth game of a series, you need some quality at-bats, and we didn’t have enough today.” 

Brown (1-4) pitched five innings and did not allow an earned run but took a hard-luck loss because the Demons (13-11) could not solve the combination of Matthew Grabmann, Matt Dallas (2-0) and Josh Mollerus.  

Grabmann and Dallas each went four innings, allowing one hit before Mollerus closed out the two-hitter with a perfect ninth inning. It marked the first time since April 11, 2021, the Demons had been held to two or fewer hits.  

Brown surrendered an unearned run in the first as Rikuu Nishida reached on an error to start the game and scored from third on a passed ball with two outs. From there, Brown quieted an Oregon offense that had scored in double figures in five straight games, limiting the Ducks (15-7) to four hits across five innings.  

Brown did not walk a batter and struck out four, becoming the first Demon starter to record an out in the fifth inning in the series.  

“Drayton was very good today,” Barbier said. “We had a good plan to get him out of there after two times through the lineup. He did a really really good job of keeping us there.” 

NSU put together its best scoring chance in the fourth inning, loading the bases with one out.  

Grabmann hit Jeffrey Elkins with a pitch to start the inning before Gabe Colaianni singled to left. Two batters later, Michael Dattalo was intentionally walked after reaching a 3-0 count to load the bases.  

Grabmann escaped the jam by inducing the first of three double plays off NSU bats, keeping Oregon up 1-0. 

“We had a couple of chances that inning and just didn’t get it done,” Barbier said. “When you play good teams, you have a smaller amount of chances. When you get those chances, you have to take advantage. We didn’t do it really all weekend but especially today.” 

Dallas entered after Grabmann hit Broch Holmes to lead off the fifth inning and rolled the second of the three double plays to put up a zero. An inning later, Dallas got another double play to erase Jacob Farrell’s leadoff bunt single. 

In the sixth, the Ducks put up the lone multi-run inning of the game on Sabin Ceballos’ sacrifice fly and Tanner Smith’s two-run home run.  

Northwestern State returns to action Friday when it travels to New Orleans to open Southland Conference play. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. 

Oregon 5, Northwestern State 0 
NSU       000 000 000 – 0 2 3 
UO         100 003 00x – 5 8 0 
W – Matt Dallas (2-0). L – Drayton Brown (1-4). 2B – UO, Drew Cowley, Dominic Hellman. HR – UO, Tanner Smith (6). Highlights: UO, Cowley 2-4, 2B; Smith 2-4, HR, 2 RBIs.  
Records: Northwestern State 13-11, Oregon 15-7.