EUGENE, Ore. – For the third-straight game, the 14th-ranked University of Oregon baseball team used the long ball and made it a long weekend for visiting Arizona, which dropped the final game of the series, 5-0, on a soggy Sunday at PK Park.
Mitchell Tolman broke a scoreless tie with a solo homer to lead off the bottom of the sixth inning, and the Ducks avoided an eighth-inning scoring threat before Shaun Chase delivered an emphatic blow with a grand slam in the eighth inning to put the game out of reach.
It was a pitcher’s duel over the first five innings between Arizona starter Tyger Talley and Oregon starter Brando Tessar. Both right-handers had to battle rainy conditions that led to 37 minutes of delays over the second and third innings.
Arizona (18-28, 7-17 Pac-12) looked to strike first in the sixth, but came up empty.
Tessar opened the inning by hitting Riley Moore with a pitch, then threw errantly to first on a pickoff attempt to allow Moore to advance to second base. Next, Cody Ramer dropped down a perfect bunt for a base hit, putting runners at the corners with no outs.
However, Tessar rebounded to strike out Zach Gibbons, Kevin Newman and Scott Kingery in order, leaving two on base.
Tolman sparked the Ducks with his solo shot to open the sixth, which was the only blemish on an otherwise strong starting performance for Talley.
Talley (L, 1-2) took the loss despite seven complete innings in which he scattered five hits, allowed just the one run and struck out six.
Trailing by a run, the Wildcats were a base hit away from taking the lead in the top of the eighth against reliever Jordan Spencer.
Gibbons drew a one-out walk and advanced to third when Newman doubled down the left field line. The Ducks elected to intentionally walk Kingery to load the bases and left Spencer in the game.
The left-hander battled Trent Gilbert for 10 pitches before coaxing a harmless foul-out to third base. Then, Calhoun popped up in foul territorial down the first base line to leave the bases loaded.
Oregon (34-13, 13-8 Pac-12) broke the game open against the Wildcat bullpen in the home half of the eighth. Left-hander Cody Moffett gave up a hit and a walk, before Bobby Dalbec took over.
Kyle Garlick bunted the runners to second and third, and Dalbec intentionally walked Steven Packard to load the bases in front of Chase. The veteran catcher delivered his grand slam over the wall in left-center.
Chase, who homered twice in Friday’s 6-1 victory, was a thorn in the side of the Wildcats all weekend. He scored four runs and racked up seven runs batted in over the three days.
Tessar (W, 4-0) picked up the win over seven shutout innings in which he allowed only three hits. He did walk a season-high three, but struck out six.
The Wildcats struck for a run in the top of the ninth off reliever Trent Paddon, but it was too little, too late.
Tyler Krause ripped his sixth hit of the series – a double to left-center – before later scoring a ground out by Moore to set the score at its final, 5-1.
Arizona returns home to host Stanford (21-20, 9-12 Pac-12) next weekend at Hi Corbett Field. The three-game series begins Friday, May 9, at 6 p.m. (MST). All three contests will be broadcast on 1290 AM.