Salt Lake City, UT- The short-handed Ducks fell in their season finale to the Utah Utes, who posted a season-high 16 hits, resulting in a 10-3 final score. Oregon played without usual starters Ryon Healy, Brett Thomas and Scott Heineman.
Senior shortstop J.J. Altobelli, playing his last regular season game in a Ducks uniform got the offense started in the first. After walking on four pitches, Altobelli came around to score on an error to put Oregon on top 1-0.
Utah answered with a run in the 4th, Tyler Relf drove in Utes’ first baseman Trey Nielsen from second on his second hit of the game, tying the game at 1-1.
Oregon would strike back immediately scoring two more runs in the top of the 5th. Desmond Santos walked and J.J. Altobelli doubled down the left field line to start the inning off. That gave way for Mitchell Tolman, whose sacrifice fly was good enough to score the tagging Desmond Santos from third. Tyler Baumgartner would make the game 3-1 on the presuming at bat with an RBI single to right.
In the first two games of the series, Oregon jumped out to an early lead and controlled the game throughout the late innings, but Sunday the tides turned.
The Utes put together four runs on five hits in the bottom of the 5th to put Utah up 5-3. Trey Nielsen’s bunt single pressure the Ducks into a throwing error, which allowed for two runs to come across and give them the lead. They would increase their lead with Tyler Relf’s second RBI of the game on a single to left field.
Utah senior outfielder Tyler Relf had an outstanding game going 4-4 at the plate with 3 RBIs to lead the Utes to victory.
Utah would continue the damage, scoring five more runs in the following three innings while holding the Ducks to no runs on just one hit in the last 12 outs of the game. Starter Tanner Banks picked up the win going five strong allowing just one earned run on three hits. Luke West pitched the final four, giving up just one hit and one walk, while allowing zero runs.
Oregon starter Jake Reed received the loss with 5 innings of work, moving to 6-5 on the year.
Mitchell Tolman and Tyler Baumgartner drove in the only runs for the Ducks. Baumgartner has at least 1 hit and 1 RBI in each of the last three games.
Coach George Horton expressed in an interview earlier in the week, “winning two out of three games on the road against any team in the Pac-12 is a great accomplishment.” The Ducks should feel good about their series win and look forward to next week and the future regional games that lie ahead.
All of the regional teams will be selected Monday and look for potentially five Pac-12 teams to make a push into the regional round.
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