EUGENE, Ore. – Jimmie Sherfy struck out the final four batters he faced as No. 9 Oregon opened its series against USC with a 4-3 victory on Saturday afternoon at PK Park.
The Ducks (36-14, 17-8), winners in nine of their last 10 games, defeated the Trojans (22-22, 7-14) by pounding out 10 hits despite leaving 13 runners stranded, including eight in Oregon’s final three innings at the plate.
Oregon right-hander Alex Keudell (9-3) won his eighth consecutive start, limiting USC to three runs on seven hits and four walks, while striking out four.
Aaron Jones, who started in right field for the first time since April 13 at Stanford, gave Oregon a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third, driving Ben Mount’s 1-0, one-out offering over the wall in left to record his sixth home run the season.
But USC evened the score after Dante Flores’ RBI single scored Alex Sherrod, who led off the fourth with a double into right field.
Oregon then scored three runs with two outs on the board to take a 4-1 advantage in the bottom of the fifth as Aaron Payne stole second after being walked, and was in position to score on Ryon Healy’s double into right field.
The Ducks recorded back-to-back doubles as Brett Thomas drove his second hit of the game into right field to bring Healy home. Oregon scored its final run of the inning as Kyle Garlick recorded an infield single, and the error by USC shortstop James Roberts on the overthrow to first allowed Thomas to score unearned.
USC starter Ben Mount (1-5) took the loss after allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits and one walk tossing a total of five innings.
USC closed 4-3 in the top of the sixth as Matt Foat’s two-out, two-run double to left allowed Sherrod and Flores to score after each singled earlier in the inning.
Oregon left the bases loaded in back-to-back innings in the sixth and seventh innings, and stranded two more base runners in the eighth.
But the combination of Tommy Thorpe and Sherfy allowed the Ducks to complete the win.In the top of the seventh with two outs and a runner on first, Oregon went to its bullpen and Thorpe caught Garrett Stubbs stealing second for the third out. In the top of the eighth, Thorpe had a runner on first and two outs when Horton called Sherfy to the mound. Sherfy plunked a batter before striking out the next four he faced to earn his 14th save of the season.
Sherrod led USC with a 3-for-4 day and two runs scored. Oregon was led by Thomas’ 3-for-4 outing, including a RBI, run scored and his 13th double of the season. Healy added two hits including his 11th double of the year for the Ducks.
Oregon and USC will play game two of the series with first pitch set for 2:07 p.m. on Sunday from PK Park. The game will be televised on Comcast SportsNet Northwest.
On Sunday, celebrate Mother’s Day at PK Park and wear pink for Ladies Day! Fans that wear pink can purchase reserved seats for $9! Monday night is a Bi-Mart 2-for-1 night. Show your Bi-Mart card and receive two tickets for the price of one.
Notes: The crowd of 2,951 was the second largest of the season and the ninth largest all-time…Oregon is now 14-4 in one-run games… J.J. Altobelli lined out to USC starter Ben Mount in the bottom of the second in his first plate appearance since April 16…the Ducks have recorded 86 two-out RBIs…Alex Keudell earned his eighth straight win on the mound despite recording his shortest outing since March 16, lasting six and 2/3 innings and allowing three earned runs – also the most earned runs he has allowed since four at Washington on March 16. Keudell’s nine wins in 2012 tie for first in Oregon single-season history, while his 21 career victories rank second…Aaron Jones continues to lead the Ducks with 34 RBIs, and is tied for the team lead with six home runs...Brett Thomas’ 13 doubles tie for third in Oregon single-season history.