EUGENE, Ore. – No. 12 Oregon mounted a late rally in both the eighth and ninth innings but left the tying run in scoring position both times in a 3-2 loss to USC in the Pac-12 Conference opener for both teams.
The Ducks (12-5, 0-1 Pac-12) scored a run in the bottom of the eighth inning on a Kyle Garlick two-out single to pull within a run, but freshman A.J. Balta struck out swinging with two runners on to end the threat.
Oregon put two runners on in the bottom of the ninth inning with a two-out walk by pinch hitter Nick Catalano and a single by Aaron Payne, but USC reliever Kyle Davis got freshman Austin Grebeck to ground out hard to shortstop Blake Lacey to give USC (10-6, 1-0 Pac-12) the win in game one of the three-game series.
The Trojans jumped out to a 2-0 lead against Oregon starter Tommy Thorpe with a pair of runs in the top of the third inning. Garrett Stubbs blooped a single into left field and came around to score on a triple by Timmy Robinson to give USC a 1-0 lead. Robinson scored on a squeeze bunt by Kevin Swick.
The Ducks cut the lead in half with a run in the bottom of the fourth. Garlick picked up the RBI with a groundout to third scoring Mitchell Tolman who walked, stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by Stubbs.
USC got the run back in the eighth thanks to some shaky Ducks’ defense. Garrett Cleavinger came in relief of Thorpe with a runner on second. The Ducks’ lefty got Swick to fly out to shallow right field but Tyler Baumgartner misplayed the ball allowing Stubbs to score the eventual winning run.
Thorpe (2-2) took the loss allowing three runs, two earned, on five hits in seven-plus innings. He fanned seven and walked one. Tolman and Shaun Chase led Oregon with two hits apiece, while Garlick went 1–for-4 with two RBI to extend his hitting streak to 14 games.
The Ducks send freshman Matt Krook to the mound for game two of the series Saturday at 2 p.m.