EUGENE – Oregon scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth with the game on the line to send Saturday’s contest into extra innings, but the Ducks couldn’t find a run in the next eight as Wichita State prevailed 7-6 in 17 innings of action at PK Park.
Nearly 1,400 fans were on hand to watch the 6-hour marathon that endured a 22-minute rain delay and the ejection of Wichita State head coach Gene Stephenson along with two Shocker players in the 16th inning, as well as the ejection of Oregon head coach George Horton in the fifth inning.
Wichita State (17-7) now leads the weekend series over Oregon (13-9) with a 2-1 advantage, heading into tomorrow’s finale, set for a 1 p.m. first pitch from PK Park. All three games in the series have decided by one run.
Oregon had the game-winning run just 90 feet away in the bottom of the ninth, but Wichita State third baseman Tyler Coughenour’s diving stop on the hot corner denied Danny Pulfer
the walk-off after Oregon has loaded the bases.
Prior to Pulfer’s final out, J.J. Altobelli
’s first hit of the day erased Oregon two-run, 6-4, deficit in the bottom of the ninth, as he drove in the game-tying runs with a single to left center. Aaron Jones
was walked and Kyle Garlick
singled to lead off the ninth, and Shawn Peterson
’s sacrifice bunt moved the game-tying runs into scoring position. With one swing of the bat, Altobelli plated the two freshmen to even things up at 6-6.
Wichita State reliever Zach Beringer then walked Brett Thomas
, before Justin Kemp took over on the mound and issued a walk to KC Serna
to load the bases, but Coughneour’s stab of Pulfer’s shot down the third baseline sent the game into extra innings.
Oregon’s offense was shutout over the next eight innings by the combination of left-hander Aaron LaBrie and right-hander Foster Vielock. The duo combined to hold the Ducks scoreless for eight and 1/3 innings, allowing just one hit while walking four and striking out three.
Vielock (1-1) earned the win on the mound and tossed the final four innings.
Oregon right-hander Scott McGough
(0-3) took the loss despite tossing arguably his best outing of the season. The right-hander allowed one run in the top of the 17th, in five innings of action while fanning a season-high six.
McGough issued a one-out walk to Don Lambert before he stole second. McGough then walked Walker Davidson with two outs on the board before Tyler Grimes’ single to center scored what stood to be the game-winning run.
Neither starter lasted long, as the bulk of the pitching was done by the relievers. Wichita State left-hander Brian Flynn allowed four runs on four hits and five walks in four innings of action, while Oregon left-hander Christian Jones
allowed five runs – four earned – on seven hits and four walks in four and 1/3 innings on the mound.
In his second appearance in an Oregon uniform, freshman right Jeff Gold
tossed 2 and 1/3 innings of shutout baseball, fanning two, while senior Kellen Moen
tossed three innings of shutout baseball, allowing just one hit and one walks while striking out two.
The Ducks were walked 16 times by Wichita State’s pitching staff, and also added 11 hits, but stranded 19 runners on base.
In turn, the Shockers stranded 16 runners on base, totaling 15 hits while being walked on nine occasions.
In the bottom of the 16th inning, the Ducks had the game-winning run in Altobelli sitting 90 feet away, but Serna flied out to center field for the inning’s final out.
Jack Marder , Garlick and Altobelli led the Ducks with two hits apiece, while Serna picked up one hit and was walked four times. Aaron Jones was 1-for-6 and was walked on three occasions, while Thomas was 1-for-3 and walked three times.
Marder hit his second home run of the week and season in the bottom of the third as the Ducks took a 3-1 lead on his two-run shot to left.
Coughenour finished his day with a 3-for-8 performance, while Grimes, Kevin Hall, Preston Springer, and Micah Green each had two hits apiece for the Shockers.
All three games in the series have decided by one run…the 17-inning game was the longest for the Ducks since the program was reinstated in 2009.