Oregon had to buckle down in their two week road trip against some of the Pac-12’s best, and after capping off a whacky weekend in Tempe with a win, the Ducks extended their good fortune into their matchup with the best the conference could throw at them. The Beavers have been untouchable to start the season, and came into the game with a 25-5 record and a top 10 ranking. In their first matchup of the season, #16 Oregon (24-8) was able to use solid pitching, and some late inning heroics to beat #6 Oregon State 6-3.
As per the usual for weekday contests, the two teams had collaborative efforts on the mound. Neither team had a pitcher in for more than three innings, but the relievers from both squads performed relatively well. Jordan Spencer started the game out for Oregon, and lasted two and two-thirds innings, allowing just one earned run. Jeff Gold came in in the third inning, and allowed two more runs, with only one of them qualifying as an earned run. The third Duck pitcher to see the mound was Darrell Hunter, who relieved Gold in the fifth, and Hunter allowed just two hits and no runs in his two inning outing.
Oregon’s offense was able to hold their own against the Beaver bullpen as well. In the second inning the Ducks got two free runs after Taylor Starr plunked two Oregon batters, and proceeded to throw four wild pitches to allow the Ducks to respond from an early 1-0 deficit to take a 2-1 lead.
Tyler Baumgartner came through in the third inning with an RBI single to give the Ducks a 3-1 lead in the middle innings. Oregon State responded in the following inning with a two run fourth to tie things back up at 3-3. After the fourth, both bullpens really locked in and in the seventh, the back end of the Oregon bullpen locked the Beaver offense down. Christian Jones pitched a scoreless seventh inning, and Garrett Cleavinger followed him up with a scoreless eighth inning.
Things were looking like the game was going to head to extra innings in Corvallis, but Aaron Payne broke the 3-3 tie in the top of the ninth with a two-RBI triple. J.J. Altobelli and Brett Thomas were able to reach base earlier in the inning, and acted as the winning runs in the Ducks first Civil War victory of the season. Ryon Healy picked up Payne with a sacrifice fly to give Oregon a 6-3 lead.
Jimmie Sherfy finished things up in the ninth inning with a scoreless two strikeout save, his ninth of the season.
If you were looking for a bit of validation for this Oregon squad, this win should go a long way to proving the bullpen’s depth, and show just how much this offense has improved since the start of the season. Whether it was scoring via small ball in the early innings, or via the extra base hit in the late innings, this Duck offense is becoming a serious threat now. If everything goes as planned this weekend against Cal, Oregon should be riding a nice winning streak before coming back to PK Park to take on the talented UCLA Bruins.