Featured Photo Courtesy Steve Francis Photography
The Oregon Ducks scrambled their way to three runs to take battle number one of the Civil War series on Friday night against the Oregon State Beavers. The victory came behind a brilliant pitching performance from starter Tommy Thorpe, who dominated the Beaver’s offense all night long.
Both starters dueled well on the hill; but sadly, one has to win and one has to lose.
Duck’s starter Tommy Thorpe was immaculate in his outing on the mound Friday night. The sophomore from Vancouver, Washington, set into a groove and was almost untouchable as he picked up win number 6 on the season in 8 innings allowing just 2 hits and 2 walks and adding 7 strikeouts.
Thorpe did an excellent job getting ahead in the count against the Beaver hitters. His execution of first pitch strikes allowed him to work around the plate and keep hitters off-balanced and it resulted in Thorpe taking complete control of the game.
Beavers’ starter Matt Boyd went the distance, allowing 3 runs on 7 scattered hits. Boyd limited the opportunities to score for the Ducks, but when the opportunities were there they took advantage.
The Ducks jumped on the board first, scoring two runs in the bottom of the 1st inning. Brett Thomas came around to score on Ryon Healy’s 48th RBI of the season with a single to left field. The Ducks then put small ball into action; after a Mitchell Tolman sacrifice bunt, Scott Heineman hit cue ball off the end of the bat down the first base line to score Aaron Payne and put the Ducks up 2-0.
Freshman Nick Catalano was given the start in center field. He made an immediate impact with a leadoff double in the second, and later scored on a single by senior shortstop J.J Altobelli to give the Ducks a 3-0 lead.
Oregon was robbed of another scoring opportunity when Oregon State center fielder Max Gordon made a miraculous leaping catch, that should definitely be on ESPN’s Top Plays, to rob Ryon Healy of extra-bases and end the threat.
Tommy did have to pitch out of trouble in the 3rd inning after the Beavers got runners on second and third with the tying run in Michael Conforto at the plate, but Thorpe came from behind an 2-0 count to strike out Conforto looking on a absolute filthy curveball to get out of the inning.
The bullpen continued its dominance as well. All-American closer Jimmy Sherfy set a new school record in saves, picking up his 20th save of the season. The national leader in saves came in to relieve Thorpe in the 9th inning and got himself into some trouble by loading the bases before getting Danny Hayes to fly out to center to end the game. Sherfy’s remarkable numbers has honored him as a semi-finalst for The Dick Howser Trophy, which is awarded to the best collegiate baseball player of that season.
The war continues Saturday at 2 p.m. at PK Park, as the crucial series heats up in Eugene. The standings for the Pac-12 title are now tied, as Oregon and Oregon State have identical records of 20-5-0. The state’s freshman superstar hurlers, Cole Irvin (10-2) and Andrew Moore (10-1), will take the hill on Saturday.