CORVALLIS, Ore. – Game two of the Civil War series was decided in a play at the plate as the Beavers completed the double play and took the series over fifth-ranked Oregon in a 3-2 win at Goss Stadium on Saturday.
Oregon (42-16, 19-10) had the tying run at third in Aaron Payne, and Ryon Healy drove a line drive into left field that was caught by Michael Conforto. Payne took off from third but was thrown out at the plate as Ryan Gorton completed the tag. Payne had led off the inning with a double to right center.
UO enters Sunday in a three-way tie with UCLA and Arizona for the lead in the Pac-12 Conference.
The Ducks trailed No. 23 Oregon State (37-18, 17-12), 3-2, after seven innings, and stranded the game-tying runs in both the eighth and ninth innings.
Oregon had the tying run at third in the top of the eighth after Ryan Hambright led off the inning with a double to the wall in center field, and pinch runner Kevin Shepherd moved to third on a groundout. With Dan Child on the mound, pinch-hitter Shaun Chase battled the reliever to a full count but was caught looking at strike three.
Child was credited with his first save of the year, shutting out the Ducks on one hit in one and 2/3 innings.
The Beavers battled back from a two-run deficit after a leadoff walk paid off for the Ducks in the top of the third as Oregon was able to score two runs on three hits. After drawing the walk, J.J. Altobelli stole second and moved to third on an Aaron Jones infield single. With runners on the corners, Kyle Garlick delivered a RBI single deep in the hole at short, setting up Brett Hambright’s two-out RBI double that plated Jones.
Oregon starter Jake Reed shut out Oregon State for five innings on four hits before getting into trouble in the sixth as one swing of the bat changed the game for the Beavers.
Designated hitter Danny Hayes took a one-out, 0-1 offering from Reed and delivered the pitch over the wall in right as the two-run shot tied the game. The round-tripper scored Conforto who singled before Hayes’ at-bat.
After issuing a leadoff walk to Kavin Keyes after a 10-pitch battle and a sacrifice that moved him to second, Oregon went to its bullpen in left-hander Tommy Thorpe in the seventh. Pinch-hitter Nick Rulli, in his first official at-bat in Pac-12 play, drove in the go-ahead with his first hit of the year, taking the second pitch he saw from Thorpe and driving a one-out double down the left field line to put the Beavers ahead 3-2 in the seventh as Keyes scored.
In a battle of freshmen starters, left-hander Jace Fry allowed two runs on seven hits and three walks in six and two third innings of work.
In the loss, Reed (6-4) matched a season high with six strikeouts, but allowed three runs on five hits and four walks in six and 1/3 innings.
Dylan Davis (1-0) was credited with the win for the Beavers after retiring the final batter of the top of the seventh.
Jones led the Ducks with a 3-for-4 day at the plate.
Oregon center fielder Vernall Warren robbed Keyes of an extra-base hit in the bottom of the fifth by crashing into the center field to make a difficult catch.
The series finale is set for a 1:05 p.m. first pitch at Goss Stadium on Sunday.
Notes: Oregon is 13-6 against ranked opponents and 16-5 in one-run games…the Ducks have lost just their third weekend series (Washington, Washington State and Oregon State) …Aaron Jones extended his hitting streak to nine games.