Oregon trailed Stanford 5-0 before the first Duck stepped to the plate on Friday and Saturday.

“Just deflating,” UO coach George Horton said.

The Ducks were never able to breathe life back into those games as the second-ranked Cardinal defeated Oregon 20-5 on Friday and 10-0 on Saturday.

Oregon entered the weekend knowing that a win or two over Stanford would boost its postseason hopes and keep the Ducks in the Pac-12 race. Oregon exited PK Park after being swept at home for the first time in nearly two years sitting seventh in the conference at 7-8 with its NCAA hopes taking a hit.

“You don’t like to be on the losing side of these games, but it happens in baseball,” Oregon senior Jakob Goldfarb said. “We have got to get past it. We are in a good spot moving forward, we can make a playoff run here. I think we will define ourselves in the next couple weeks. We are going to let it hurt a little bit and then move on to face Cal next weekend.”

The second half of the conference schedule sends the Ducks on the road three times with both home series coming against Top-10 teams. Oregon (22-16) is at fifth-place California (20-14, 8-7) for three games beginning on Friday followed by a three-game series at Arizona (18-19, 6-12).

“The biggest thing for us is what do we do about this whole series,” Horton said after the Stanford sweep. “If we carry that hangover effect in league, it can be real ugly. We have to lick our wounds and get back to work.”

Oregon’s starting rotation has been in flux all season due to injuries beginning when ace Kenyon Yovan injured his pitching hand in the opener on Feb. 15. Ryne Nelson, another top prospect in the Major League Baseball draft, suffered a heel injury early in the season and has been moved to the bullpen.

Cole Stringer missed two starts due to injury and Robert Ahlstrom, who took over at the top of Oregon’s rotation, missed last weekend due to an illness. Ahlstrom returned to the team on Saturday and could be available at Cal.

Cullen Kafka replaced Ahlstrom in the opener against Stanford and gave up five earned runs in 5 2/3 innings on Thursday. Stringer allowed eight runs in four innings on Friday before Tyler Frazier couldn’t get out of the first inning Saturday before allowing five earned runs.

“We just have to get better starts,” Horton said. “That is when teams get wins, when they get solid starts like Stanford did. In this league with the pitchers and bullpens, it’s hard to come back.”

Yovan has started throwing from long distances, but will likely be out at least another couple weeks and may need to return in relief stints before joining the rotation.

“He’s got to build himself up, he hasn’t even thrown a bullpen yet,” Horton said.

Nelson made two appearances against the Cardinal during the weekend and pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings with nine strikeouts. Horton decided to use Nelson in relief for the past five weeks so he can pitch in more than one game on a weekend and enter in various situations.

“The plan (Saturday) was to get him in during the fourth or fifth inning, but unfortunately it was a little late at that point,” Horton said. “He’s got as good of stuff as there is, but even he needs to locate. He walked a guy and gave up a hit and guys in our league are great baseball players. He’s throwing 97 and they are turning it around so he needs to be able to change speeds and separate to get them off the fastball. When he does that, he is terrific, of course. Make not mistake about it, he’s our best guy right now and that is why we want him in relief.”

California features junior first baseman Andrew Vaughn, a potential Top-10 pick in the MLB Draft, who is batting .364 with 11 home runs.

“We are going to Cal and that place is an airport with maybe college baseball’s finest hitter there,” Horton said. “If we are going to pitch tentative to him and everybody else, that is a good offensive team for sure. My biggest concern is the controllable things where we can throw more than one pitch over for a strike and get ahead. Then get back to being the offensive team we have been most of the year.”

The Ducks totaled nine runs against the Cardinal while scoring multiple runs once in 27 innings. Oregon was shut out for the first time all season in the series finale.

“I was a little surprised,” Horton said. “I thought we had better experience and mentality than that. We were not formidable competitors against them.”

Goldfarb returned to the lineup against Stanford after missing one month with an ankle injury. He went 3-for-10 with two walks and one RBI while playing the first two games in right field before serving as the designated hitter on Saturday.

“I didn’t think I would feel as good as I did,” he said. “I was able play right field a couple of games and probably could have (Saturday). I probably could have played catchers too. Just taking it slow and being smart.”