#5 Oregon (42-16, 19-10) at #23 Oregon State (37-18, 17-12) at 1:05 PM PDT at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field - KEJO 1240 AM & KPOJ 620 AM - Audio & Video Stream on Beaver Nation Online, for a fee
Oregon and Oregon St. square off in the final battle for this season in the Civil War, with the Beavers having already won both the Pac-12 weekend series and the season series, after beating the Ducks 3-2 yesterday. The game ended dramatically, on a put out at the plate by Ryan Gorton.
The win gave Oregon St. 3 wins in 4 Civil War battles this year. More importantly, the Beavers can sweep the weekend series, returning the favor to the Ducks, who did the same thing last year, in the season ending series, costing Oregon St. the Pac-12 title in the process.
Oregon got both their runs in the third, combining a walk, a steal, a pair of singles, the second of which, by Kyle Garlick, scored Aaron Jones, and then an RBI double by Brett Hambright.
Duck starter Jake Reed put the Beavers to sleep for most of the game, with a dominating pitching performance, but that all turned around in the 6th, when Michael Conforto drove a single to center, and Danny Hayes delivered a 2 run homer down the right field line, his 4th in the last 5 games, and 5th of the season, to tie the game at 2-2. It started a sequence that turned what had been a yawner into one of the more memorable finishes to a Civil War contest in any sport.
Kavin Keyes led off the 7th with a walk, and went on to score after Oregon St. coach Pat Casey, fresh off the Friday night win that made him the winningest coach in Beaver history, started making bold moves.
Casey sent Max Gordon out to hit for Jake Rodriguez, who had been struggling at the plate against Reed. That prompted Oregon coach George Horton to send in Tommy Thorpe for Reed. So Casey countered by sending Nick Rulli out instead of Gordon.
Rulli, who had only appeared in 6 games, and been to bat only twice, promptly doubled down the right field line to drive in Keyes for what would eventually prove to be the game winning run. But no one could be sure of that at the time.
Rulli talks about it after the game.
Oregon St. sent Matt Boyd to the mound to start the 8th inning, and Ryan Hambright promptly doubled off the wall in left center. After getting 1 out, on a pop up bunt Gorton caught, Casey made the move to Dan Child, usually the Beavers' Sunday starter.
Child got out of the inning, stranding the tieing run, but the Ducks weren't done, with the top of their order due up in the 9th inning.
Aaron Payne led off with a double, and moved to third on J.J. Altobelli's sacrifice bunt, setting up one of the most exciting plays in Civil War history.
Ryon Healy lined a hard shot to left, but Conforto came up with a sweeping catch inches off the turf. Payne tagged up and tried to score the game tieing run, but Conforto fired a rifle shot to Gorton, who made the game ending tag out at the plate, and then spiked the baseball, setting off both a Beaver celebration, and also a lot of yelling by pretty much everyone, including the 2,894 in attendance, and the teams, and broadcast crews.
Jace Fry turned in another quality start for Oregon St., going 6 2/3 innings and giving up only 7 hits, but the win went to fire-baller Dylan Davis, who was brought in to get the last out in the 6th inning after Fry hit the 112 pitch mark. It's the freshman Davis' first decision ever.
Reed took the loss, leaving him 6-4 for the season, because he had allowed Keyes, who scored the game winning run, to reach base, even though it was Thorpe who gave up the hit the won the game.
Pac-12 Race A Logjam
With the win, Oregon St. also pulled into a tie with Stanford for 5th in the Pac-12, 2 games back, after California took a 15-5 win at Sunken Diamond, giving the Golden Bears their second win over the Cardinal of the weekend, and eliminating Stanford from any chance at any share of the conference title.
The Ducks' loss put Arizona in control of the Pac-12 race, but the Wildcats couldn't capitalize, losing 9-7 to Arizona St. That left the 'Cats tied with the Ducks heading to the last day of the regular season, and Oregon owns the tie-breaker. It also moved the Sun Devils into 4th place, just 1 game back.
UCLA took their second win of the weekend from USC, and the Bruins' 6-5 win over the Trojans, on a walk-off walk by Cody Regis that scored Cody Keefer, after USC had tied the game in the top of the 9th, also kept UCLA in the hunt for the conference title. The win moved the Bruins into a tie with Oregon and Arizona. Oregon also owns the tie-breaker over the Bruins, as the Ducks had not lost a single Pac-12 series until the Beavers got them. However, UCLA has the tiebreaker against Arizona, so a Bruin win today and an Oregon St. win hands the title to UCLA.
A 4 way tie for first is also still a possibility.
Washington took their season ending series from Washington St. with a 5-2 win, the Huskies second win over the visiting Cougars of the weekend.
Finally, Utah's season continues to unravel, as the Utes lost to UC-Santa Barbara 6-2, and Cal-St. Bakersfield 7-5. The losses assured that Utah will finish with 40+ losses, not something that happens very often to teams from the Pac.
4 Pac 12 Teams To Host Regionals
The NCAA has announced that Oregon, UCLA, Arizona, and Stanford will be the 4 teams to host regionals next weekend in the west. The eight "National" seeds, who will host Super Regionals if those teams win their regionals, and the rest of the 64 team field will be announced tomorrow.
Last Day Mound Matchup
After both teams started freshmen on Saturday, today is sophomore day, as Oregon plans to start RHP Jeff Gold (8-3, 3.26 ERA), and Oregon St. is scheduled(*) to first send out RHP Child (6-3, 2.80 ERA), who will also be joining Conforto on the USA Baseball Collegiate National team this summer.
Gold got the win Sunday in Oregon's 6-1 win over Seattle to complete the Ducks' sweep of the Red Hawks, going 6 1/3 innings, and allowing only 5 hits, and the sole run.
Child went 8 innings plus Sunday at Washington St., facing 1 batter in the 9th before handing the game off to the bullpen. Child got the win after the Beavers beat the Cougars 7-5. Child gave up 11 of Washington St.'s 12 hits, but scattered them over 114 pitches.
(*) Child made his first relief appearance of the season, after 14 starts, yesterday in the 8th inning, getting the save after getting the last 5 outs, with a HUGE dose of help from Conforto and Gorton.
As a result, senior RHP Taylor Starr (4-2, 4.42 ERA) will start instead for Oregon St. Starr has been the Beavers' mid week starter in the latter part of the season.