Maddox Molony crushes first career homer to lead Oregon past Seattle

On3 imageby:Jarrid Denney03/29/24

jarrid_denney

During the weeks leading up to the start of the 2024 season, Oregon head coach Mark Wasikowski spoke glowingly of Ducks’ freshman infielder Maddox Molony and was adamant that he could be a difference-maker this spring despite the fact that there was plenty of competition for playing time.

The start of Molony’s college career was hindered by injury but at long last, he is starting to look like an integral figure for UO.

Molony crushed his first career home run on Friday and finished the evening 3-for-3 to help lead Oregon to a 9-2 win over Seattle at PK Park.

“I was running around just hoping it would spark something,” Molony said of the homer. “It was a pretty close game; it needed to start something and it did. It was just joy.”

Molony, who starred at Thurston High and helped lead the Colts to a state title during his senior season, started at shortstop for the third consecutive game on Friday. Prior to this week, he had just two college starts to his name. That’s partially due to the fact that he has been dealing with an undisclosed injury, and partially due to the fact that the Ducks feature several other quality middle infield options.

Carter Garate and Jack Brooks have each started multiple games at shortstop this season as Wasikowski and his staff have consistently shuffled their lineup.

As Wasikowski tells it though, Molony began to turn a corner in early March after producing a hard-hit single in a pinch-hit scenario against Arizona State.

“I think throughout the course of the season, you’re gonna have guys get hot and cool off a bit; go through some struggles and maybe have some injury stuff,” Wasikowski said. “So when you have some injuries, you rotate guys through. The key is just to keep those guys sharp and ready. The real credit goes to coach (Marcus Hinkle), coach Jack Marder, and (graduate assistant) Gavin Grant for getting Molony ready after an injury and have him doing what he’s doing. Those coaches deserve a tip of the cap, along with the player.

“(Molony) had to invest so much time into getting himself ready when he’s not getting game at-bats. So now all of a sudden he’s hitting fastballs at 93; his first hit that he got at Arizona State was against a guy throwing 97 miles per hour, a left-hander. … For him to be ready for those at-bats says that his investment is tremendous.”

Molony’s leadoff fifth-inning dinger proved to be the spark the Ducks needed after a relatively quiet start. The Ducks proceeded to bat around and hang four runs on the Redhawks. Drew Smith and Anson Aroz both delivered big hits throughout the frame, too.

Ducks’ starter Grayson Grinsell tossed 6.0 innings and struck out nine while allowing three hits, five walks, and one earned run.

Freshman Ryan Featherston tossed 2 1/3 innings in relief and notched his first career save.

With Friday’s win, Oregon captured a series win after also topping Seattle on Wednesday and Thursday. The Ducks will look to complete a series sweep on Saturday at noon PT.

Senior righty Kevin Seitter is slated to get the start for UO.

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