EUGENE, Ore. – Oregon battled back all afternoon, and in the end, held off Stanford for a 6-5 victory on Sunday at PK Park to claim the series.
The Ducks (26-24-1, 7-14) have now won their second Pac-10 series of the year, and in the last five games have reached double-digit hits.
The game was littered with offense, timely pitching and defensive blunders, but the Ducks were able to shut out the Cardinal (28-18, 7-14) over the final two innings with Scott McGough and Madison Boer on the hill to claim the victory.
Boer making his third relief appearance in as many days, earned his first save of the season and the sixth of his career, as he shut out Stanford on one hit in the ninth – striking out two of the four batters he faced.
McGough (2-6), picked up the win, tossing 1 and 2/3 shutout innings of relief on three hits and one walk while fanning two.
With the game even at five runs apiece in the bottom of the seventh, freshman Brett Thomas approached the plate with runners on the corners and two outs. KC Serna had reached on an error and moved to third on two Oregon outs. Stanford intentionally walked Danny Pulfer, so reliever Dean McArdle could face Thomas. The rookie center fielder answered, lacing the game-winning single up the middle as Serna scored unearned.
In the top of the eighth for Oregon, it was another freshman outfielder who made a huge impact in the game. The Cardinal had runners on first and second after McGough had issued a two-out walk and surrendered a single. Kenny Diekroeger then singled through the right side as Dave Giulani got the go sign from third. Right fielder Aaron Jones’ throw was online and in time, and junior catcher Brett Hambright held onto the ball and delivered the tag on Giulani in a collision at the plate.
The play kept the game-tying run off the board, and allowed Boer to shut out Stanford the rest of the way.
Danny Pulfer, now hitting .349 on the season, produced the 21st multiple-hit game of his season with a 2-for-4 performance.
Thomas drove in three Oregon runs in a 2-for-4 effort, while fellow freshman Ryon Healy launched his team-leading third home run of the season in a 2-for-3 outing. Stefan Sabol and J.J. Altobelli each drove in a run as well.
Stanford starter Jordan Pries yielded five runs on eight hits and issued four walks while striking out five in five innings of work. McArdle took the loss, allowing one run on two hits and four walks in three innings on the bump.
In his second start of the week, Oregon sophomore left-hander Christian Jones allowed five runs – three earned – on seven hits and three walks while fanning four in six and 1/3 innings of action.
Stanford was led by Tyler Gaffney, who went 3-for-4 with two runs driven in. Kenny Diekroeger was 2-for-2 with two runs scored.
Stanford took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first after Zach Jones tripled to right field and scored on Gaffney’s sacrifice fly.
Oregon tied the game in the bottom of the second as Pries issued a leadoff walk to Serna. He moved to third on Eshleman’s single to center before scoring on Altobelli’s sacrifice bunt.
Stanford scored two runs in the top of the third to take a 3-1 lead as an error and walk put runners on first and second for Stanford with no outs. The runners were sacrificed to second and third, before Gaffney’s single driven back up the middle, deflected off Christian Jones, allowing Brian Guymon to score. Stephen Piscotty pushed across Stanford’s third run with a sacrifice fly.
Healy’s solo home run in the bottom of the third closed the game, 3-2, in the bottom of the third as the rookie knocked Pries’ 1-1 offering over the wall in left center. It was Healy’s team-leading third home run of the season and the second for the series for the Ducks.
Oregon produced some two-out damage in the bottom of the fourth as Pries issued a two-out walk to Altobelli, before Pulfer singled through the left side to put runners on first and second. Thomas then unloaded a two-run, two-out double to left center as Oregon took a 4-3 lead.
Stanford evened the game on an Oregon blunder in the top of the fifth. With two outs and a runner on first, Gaffney stole second and was able to score on a wild pitch that catcher Paul Eshleman was unable to locate.
The Ducks took a one-run lead in the bottom of the sixth, 5-4, as Oregon loaded the bases on a double, single and walk. With McArdle on the hill, Sabol’s sacrifice fly to left scored Altobelli for Oregon’s fifth run of the day.
The Ducks return to action to host Gonzaga for two games on Tuesday (6 p.m.) and Wednesday (1 p.m.) at PK Park.
Notes: Oregon is 12-6-1 when recording at least 10 hits in a game…the Ducks have recorded at least 10 hits in five straight games, marking the first time Oregon has completed the feat since May 8-16, 2010…Oregon is 9-5-1 when hitting a home run…the Ducks are now 5-11 in one-run games...the Ducks are now 7-3 on the season when Christian Jones starts.