SPOKANE, Wash. – No. 10 Oregon extended its winning streak to four games, completing a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over Gonzaga on Tuesday night at the Patterson Baseball Complex.
As Oregon (31-13) trailed 2-0 after five innings, sophomore Kyle Garlick changed the scope of the game with one swing of the bat, taking Kenny Smith’s 2-0, two-out offering and depositing his team-leading sixth home run of the year over the wall in left center. The two-run shot scored Ryon Healy, who was issued a one-out walk earlier in the inning, and evened the game.
In the seventh, Oregon pushed the game-winning across as Connor Hofmann reached on an error after a hard hit infield grounder was fielded by Gonzaga third baseman Mitchell Gunsolus, but Hofmann reached safely as first baseman Andy Hunter committed the error and dropped the throw. The Ducks executed the hit-and-run as Hofmann moved from first to third when Kevin Shepherd singled through the left side, setting up the squeeze play as Pac-12 Player of the Week Aaron Payne’s sacrifice bunt brought Hofmann home unearned.
In the fifth start of his career, freshman left-hander Jordan Spencer (3-2) allowed two runs on seven hits, while issuing one walk and striking out four in the win.
The Bulldogs (27-15) stranded 12 runners on base, outhitting Oregon 9-3.
Jimmie Sherfy made things interesting in the bottom of the ninth as the tying-run in Brock Slavin sat at third after being walked, and the game-winning run in Royce Bolinger rested at second after he singled, but Sherfy struck out pinch-hitter Billy Moon for his 11th save of the year.
Smith (2-1) was the tough-luck loser, allowing three runs (two earned) in his seven innings of work, issuing two walks and surrendering just three hits.
As Oregon nursed its 3-2 lead, freshman left-hander Tommy Thorpe took over in the seventh and stranded Slavin at first after plunking him. In the eighth, Thorpe retired the first two batters he faced before getting into trouble by issuing a two-out walk and allowing a single, putting runners on the corners. Thorpe recovered to strike out Maxx Garrett to preserve Oregon’s one-run lead. He set up Sherfy, shutting out Gonzaga for two innings and striking out two.
The Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second as Alex Stanford belted a one-out triple over the head of Hofmann as it trailed all the way to the wall. Stanford then scored on Alex Bonczyk’s sacrifice fly.
Gonzaga doubled its lead in the fourth as Clayton Eslick led off the inning with a single to right field. The Bulldogs loaded the bases with another single and error with one out on the scoreboard, but UO limited the damage allowing just one run on Gonsolus’ RBI single as Gonzaga took a 2-0 lead. Spencer then struck out Garrett and coaxed a pop up out of Steven Halcomb to end the fourth with the bases juiced.
Oregon and Gonzaga will return to action with first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m. from the Patterson Baseball Complex.
Notes: Oregon is on a four-game winning streak…Oregon is now 11-4 in one-run games…Kyle Garlick hit his team-leading sixth home run of the season…Garlick leads the Ducks with 15 two-out RBIs, including nine in UO’s last eight games…Oregon won its sixth game when trailing after five innings.
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