After a rain delay postponed the game Friday night, the Oregon Ducks and Ohio State Buckeyes played a doubleheader Saturday at Bill Davis Stadium. Oregon used a combination of good hitting and dominant pitching to win both games and secure the series win against the Buckeyes. Mitchell Tolman delivered yet another win, with a bases-loaded single to center that scored Brett Thomas and Aaron Payne to put the Ducks up two and lead them to victory in game one.
Striking first in the game, the Ducks scored a run in the 4th inning after Brett Thomas led the inning off with an infield single. Aaron Payne then managed to reach on an error after laying down a sacrifice bunt, sending Thomas to third. Thomas then scored on Ryon Healy’s groundout double-play.
The Buckeyes were able to answer in the bottom of the 6th; shortstop Kirby Pellant started a two-out rally with a double to left center, advancing to third on a throwing error. Pellant came around to score after Jacob Bosiokovic singled to left. Oregon sophomore pitcher Tommy Thorpe was able to halt the assault when he got designated hitter Troy Kuhn to groundout to third, stranding runners on second and third.
The Ducks threatened to take the lead in the 7th inning. Mitchell Tolman started the inning off with a single to right followed by a single by Ryan Hambright to put runners at the corners but they were not able to get a run across.
That was about all the offense until the 11th because of resilient pitching from both squads. Buckeye starter Brad Goldberg went seven strong, allowing only one unearned run innings followed by Ryan Giga who added one inning aend no runs. Oregon was just as good; Tommy Thorpe allowed just one run in 6.2 innings with seven strikeouts. Darrell Hunter and Garrett Cleavinger each added 1.2 innings, with no runs and two strikeouts and Cleavinger picked up his seventh win of the season.
The 11th inning came down to Ohio’s Brett McKinney and Duck’s All-American Jimmy Sherfy. Mckinney went three innings but ended up with the loss, giving up two runs in the 11th. Sherfy picked up his conference leading 17th save, which is second most in the nation.
Oregon southpaw Cole Irvin far exceeded the expectations after game one and continued the pitching success; Irvin went the distance with a complete-game shutout, his third complete game of the season. The freshman from Yorba Linda, California added seven strikeouts allowing only 6 hits and one walk. Ohio State starter Brian King struggled with the Duck’s assault, allowing four runs on eight hits in 6 innings.
The Ducks continued with their offensive attack with a run in the top of the first inning of the second game in the double header. Aaron Payne got on with a single and then stole second to get in scoring position. Payne then scored on a single by Mitchell Tolman who continued his RBI streak to 7-games.
Oregon’s offered answered once again in the 3rd inning; J.J Altobelli tripled to right field to lead off the inning and scored on a single by Brett Thomas to put the Ducks up two. The Ducks used their small ball strategy to push another run across after Aaron Payne laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Thomas to second. Ryon Healy flied out to deep center to move Thomas to third, and he would then score on yet another single by Mitchell Tolman to make the score 3-0.
Tolman’s success has carried over from last week. In five games he has batted .474, with 14 RBIs, and was named both Pac-12 Player of the Week and NCBWA National Hitter of the Week. Tolman went 5-8 on the day with 4 RBIs. Brett Thomas and Ryon Healy each added an RBI of their own in game two.
Oregon plays the Buckeyes in the series finale Sunday at 12 p.m. PT and they look to gain some momentum in the weekend before the big Civil War series.