EUGENE, Ore. – The 14th-ranked University of Oregon baseball team powered its way back into Saturday’s ballgame, but needed just a routine single from Austin Grebeck to walk-off with a 7-6 victory over visiting Arizona in 10 innings at PK Park.
Fresh off a two-homer game on Friday, Shaun Chase opened the bottom of the 10th inning with a single to center off Arizona reliever Bobby Dalbec. A.J. Balta followed with a hit-and-run single through the right side of the infield to push pinch-runner Desmond Santos to third base.
That brought Grebeck, a defensive replacement in the outfield, to the dish with no outs. He bounced a 2-2 pitch from Dalbec past the drawn-in infield on the left side, sending Santos home with the winning run.
Dalbec (L, 2-4) was charged for two runs allowed over 2.1 innings of relief. He gave up six hits and a walk.
Jake Reed (W, 3-1) earned the win with two shutout innings, though he did have to strand a base runner in each of the ninth and 10th innings. Reed was the seventh pitcher used by the Ducks.
Oregon (33-13, 12-8 Pac-12) found itself trailing 6-2 in the bottom of the seventh, and momentum was squarely in the hands of Arizona, which was receiving a strong pitching performance from Cody Hamlin. The righty had allowed just two runs on five hits entering the seventh, and he struck out the first two men he faced in that frame.
But things quickly turned when Tyler Baumgartner, who was 3-for-3 in the game, reached on an infield single. It could have – perhaps should have – been the final out in the inning as Dalbec, then playing first base, ranged to his right and was unable to get the ball to Hamlin in time at the bag.
Instead of taking a four-run lead to the eighth, Hamlin hit Mitchell Tolman with a pitch and Baumgarter moved up to second. Kyle Garlick, a strikeout victim his first three trips to the plate, then ripped a two-run triple to right-center, bringing the Ducks within two runs.
That deficit did not last long as Dalbec took over for Hamlin on the mound. Designated hitter Steven Packard greeted the right-hander with a two-run home run to right field, tying the game 6-6.
Arizona (18-27, 7-16 Pac-12) had built up a comfortable lead, but squandered a chance to break the game open in top half of the seventh inning. Trent Gilbert’s sacrifice fly pushed home the Wildcats’ sixth run of the game, and Willie Calhoun and Tyler Krause eventually drew walks to load the bases. However, reliever Darrell Hunter struck out Dalbec to leave the bases loaded.
An inning earlier, the Wildcats erased a 2-1 deficit with a four-run frame that chased Oregon starter Jeff Gold from the game.
Newman, who was 3-for-3 in the contest, led off the sixth with a single and Gilbert followed with a single, the 200th hit of his career. Calhoun then pulled a double down the right field line to send Newman home with the tying, and advance Gilbert to third. Krause, who was 2-for-4 in the game, then knocked home Gilbert to regain the lead for Arizona.
Jordan Spencer replaced Gold, and Arizona countered with Dalbec, who pinch-hit for Michael Hoard. Dalbec drove an 0-2 pitch down the right field line for an RBI single, and later Riley Moore squeezed home Krause to give Arizona a 5-2 lead.
Arizona opened the game with a run in the first inning after a one-out double by Newman was followed with Scott Kingery’s RBI single. Kingery matched Newman with a three-hit game.
Oregon scratched across the tying run in the bottom of third when Baumgartner singled home Mark Karaviotis. The Ducks’ duo struck again in the fifth when Baumgartner drove in Karaviotis with a two-out single.
The opportunistic Ducks struck for five two-out RBI, combining to hit 6-for-14 with two outs. Meanwhile the Wildcats were 2-for-10 with two outs, and could not knock home a two-out RBI while stranding 10 runners in the game.
The series final is set for 4 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. The Pac-12 Network will televise the game, while 1290 AM will have a live radio broadcast in Tucson, Ariz.