Oregon scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth to break open a 2-2 as the Ducks defeated Arizona, 4-2, in the series opener on Thursday.
April 21, 2011
Oregon 4, Arizona 2 (Box Score)
EUGENE, Ore. - Oregon and No. 23 Arizona were locked in a pitcher's duel throughout much of the game, but a pair of two-out, run-scoring singles in the eighth inning pushed the host Ducks past the visiting Wildcats, 4-2, on Thursday evening at PK Park.
Oregon (20-16, 3-7 Pac-10) was able to knock Arizona starter Kurt Heyer out of the game with two outs and a runner on second base in the home half of the eighth inning. The Wildcats brought on Bryce Bandilla from the bullpen, but the left-hander was unable to preserve the tie.
With a runner already at second base, Bandilla hit Jack Marder with a pitch to put runners on first and second. KC Serna, a late-game defensive replacement, drove a single through the right side of the infield to plate the go-ahead run. For good measure, JJ Altobelli dropped a base hit bunt down that allowed Marder to score and give the Ducks a 4-2 lead.
That was plenty of run support for Oregon starter Tyler Anderson, who worked a perfect ninth inning to finish off a complete game three-hitter against the Wildcats. Anderson improved to 6-1 and had nine strikeouts in the victory.
Heyer (6-2) suffered just his second loss of the season despite pitching 7.2 innings. The right-hander allowed three runs on nine hits to go with four walks.
The Ducks found most all of their offensive success with two outs in innings. In fact, Oregon was 7-for-13 at the plate with two outs, and put two runners on by walk and two others who were hit by a pitch. All four of Oregon's run were plated with two-out RBI.
The trend started early in the game against Heyer. The first run scored in the second inning after Tyler Kuresa singled with two down and came in to score on Marder's RBI double to right center field. In the third, Brett Thomas and Stefan Sabol singled, before Ryan Hambright delivered a two-out run-scoring single to push Oregon's lead to 2-0 after three innings of play.
Arizona (23-14, 5-8 Pac-10) evened the game at 2-2 in the top of the fourth. Joey Rickard reached with a leadoff walk and scored when Cole Frenzel doubled to left center. Frenzel advanced to third on a groundout by Jett Bandy and scored on Robert Refsnyder's sacrifice fly out to center field.
But unlike their counterparts, the Wildcats were unable to start any two-out rallies. Arizona was 0-for-9 hitting with two outs and did not collect a base hit with a runner in scoring position on the evening.
The two teams will continue the three-game series on Friday evening. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. (PDT) at PK Park.
NOTE: The series finale between the Wildcats and Ducks on Saturday, April 23, is scheduled to be broadcast live at noon (PDT) on Comcast SportsNet Northwest. Joe Giansante and Dwight Jaynes will be the on-air commentators for the game.