HONOLULU – Oregon rallied from a two-run ninth inning deficit with a pair of runs and then took advantage of a Hawaii error to claim a 6-5, 10-inning, win over the Rainbow Warriors at Les Murakami Stadium on Sunday.
Oregon (3-0) got three consecutive pinch hits with one out to tie the game in the top of the ninth inning. Senior Connor Hofmann started the rally with a single to left field and then scored on a RBI double by A.J. Balta to pull the Ducks within one run, 5-4. Balta’s run-scoring pinch hit was his second in as many days. The freshman broke up a 5-5 tie on Saturday with a two-run single to help push Oregon to a 10-5 win.
Junior J.B. Bryant drove in Balta with a RBI single up the middle to tie the game and force extra innings. Bryant’s hit was also his second pinch-hit RBI in as many days.
In the 10th inning, the Ducks loaded the bases after the first three batters reached base. Senior Aaron Payne was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and senior Tyler Baumgartner walked. Sophomore Mitchell Tolman laid down a sacrifice bunt and reached base on a throwing error by Hawaii pitcher Jordan DuPonte to load the bases.
After two outs, Baumgartner scored the go-ahead run on a throwing error by Hawaii shortstop Austin Wobrock on a ground ball hit by Hofmann.
Junior Jake Reed picked up the win allowing just on hit with one strikeout in the final 2.1 innings pitched. He came in to get the final out of the eighth inning after Hawaii scored three runs to take a 5-3 lead.
Matt Krook, a first-round draft pick in the 2014 MLB Draft, made his first start for the Ducks. The freshman allowed just two unearned runs on five hits in 7.0 innings pitched. He struck out eight and walked two and left the game with a 3-2 lead.
The win was the 899th of George Horton’s career as a head coach at Cerritos College, Cal State Fullerton and Oregon. He can pick up win number 900 on Monday when Oregon faces Hawaii in the final game of the four-game series at 3:05 p.m. (PT). Senior Jeff Gold will take the mound for the Ducks, while Hawaii (0-3) counters with Scott Kuzminsky.