Norwich, Conn. – Oregon will be playing for its postseason survival on Sunday after a 6-4 loss to 10th-ranked and No. 1 seed Florida State on Saturday night at Dodd Memorial Stadium.
The Ducks (39-23) will now have to play 17th-ranked and No.3 seed Connecticut at 2 p.m. ET (11 a.m. PT) on Sunday in a rematch of their Friday night opener to remain alive in the double-elimination regional.
Connecticut (48-15) stayed alive on Saturday afternoon after a 25-5 victory over No. 4 seed Central Connecticut State.
The winner of Sunday afternoon’s game would then move on to play Florida State (44-17) at 6:30 p.m. ET (3:30 p.m. PT) in a second stay-alive contest.
Oregon was held scoreless for six consecutive innings after freshman Jack Marder gave the Ducks a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first with a two-out solo home run.
Trailing 6-1 heading into the bottom of the eighth, the Ducks put three runs on the board, but it was too little too late.
Oregon had a 14-9 advantage in hits, but the Ducks stranded nine runners on the bases and hit into three double plays.
Florida State’s Sean Gilmartin improved to 8-7 on the season, after holding the Ducks to three runs on 10 hits and one walk in seven innings on the mound. The lefty totaled eight strikeouts before being replaced by right-hander Geoff Parker in the eighth after KC Serna led off the inning with a single to left, and Danny Pulfer’s bunt single down the third base line had runners safe on first and second with no outs.
After Parker took over on the hill with Serna on second and Pulfer at first, Eddie Rodriguez knocked a one-out, RBI single to right as Serna scored. Oregon then pinch-hit left-handed batter Mitch Karraker, and with runners on the corners, Karraker placed a RBI single into shallow center, scoring Pulfer as the Ducks closed 6-3.
Freshman Steven Packard continued the rally, lacing a first pitch, RBI single down the left flied line that plated Rodriguez as Oregon closed, 6-4. Parker then retired Altobelli into a groundout, and struck out Andrew Mendenhall swinging on three pitches to leave the game-tying runs stranded at second and third.
In the top of the ninth, Oregon brought right-hander Drew Gagnier out of the bullpen in relief of starter Tyler Anderson. The junior gave up a lead-off triple to deep center and issued a walk, but recovered to retire the side and give the Ducks a chance in the bottom of the ninth.
FSU pulled Mike McGee out of left field to close the game, and the right-hander earned his 10th save of the season . He surrendered a single to Serna and walked Pulfer, but forced a pop out from Marder and retired Pulfer on a fielder’s choice for the inning’s final outs.
Oregon’s defense struggled to get the final out throughout the game, as the Seminoles scored four of their six runs with two outs on the scoreboard.
Sophomore left-hander Tyler Anderson (7-5) was credited with the loss after tossing eight innings, and allowing six runs – five earned – on eight hits and two walks. The Pac-10 First Team selection allowed five extra base hits – two solo home runs and three doubles, while striking out four.
In the top of the second, Stephen Cardulo reached on a one-out throwing error by UO shortstop KC Serna. Cardulo then moved to second as a passed ball got by catcher Eddie Rodriguez behind the plate. Anderson then issued a walk to Staurt Tapley, putting runners at first and second with one out for Jayce Boyd. Florida State then put the steal on as Cardulo moved to third.
With runners on the corners, Boyd launched a sacrifice fly to deep right field as Cardulo scored from third unearned to tie the game.
Florida State took a 2-1 lead in the top of the fourth as the Seminoles capitalized on back-to-back doubles down the right field line. Sherman Johnson’s two-out, stand-up double kept the inning alive, and Mike McGee sent him home with another stand-up double deep down the right field line.
Florida State increased its lead to 4-1 in the top of the fourth. Tapley reached first on a one-out walk, and Devon Travis kept the inning going with a two-out single. With runners on first and second, Rafeal Lopez drove a two-out, bases-clearing, two-run double to left that turned around Oregon outfielder Marcus Piazzisi and dropped in behind him.
A solo home run for Florida State gave the Seminoles a 5-1 advantage after Cardulo lined a homer over the left field wall to lead off the top of the sixth.
FSU’s lead climbed to 6-1 after Johnson launched a two-out, solo home run to right center on a 3-1 count.
Oregon took a 1-0 lead thanks to Marder’s two-out homer in the bottom of the first. The freshman launched Gilmartin’s 1-2 offering over the wall in left for his fifth round-tripper of the season.
Oregon got its first leadoff batter on in the fifth inning after Mendenhall dropped a shallow single into right. Piazzisi popped up to short, but Gilmartin walked Serna to put runners on first and second with one out. Pulfer then sent a grounder directly back to Gilmartin as the pitcher helped turn a 143 double play to end the inning.
Johnson led Florida State with a 2-for-5 performance as his two hits were a double and home run. McGee was also 2-for-5 with a RBI, while Travis was 2-for-4 with a run scored.
Serna led the Ducks with a 3-for-4 performance. Packard was also 3-for-4 with a RBI, while Mendenhall was 2-for-4 hitting his fourth double of the season.
No. 4 seed Central Connecticut State was the first team to be eliminated from the Norwich Regional after a 25-5 loss to No. 2 seed and 17th-ranked Connecticut on Saturday afternoon.
Tomorrow’s 2 p.m. game against Connecticut will offer a live video stream by clicking HERE. If the Ducks were to advance to the 6:30 p.m. against Florida State, the game would be televised on Fox Sports Florida.
Notes: Head coach George Horton is now 1-4 all-time against Florida State and 0-2 against the Seminoles in the postseason…Oregon is 4-1 when Jack Marder hits a home run…Oregon is now 8-4 against ranked teams in 2010.