EUGENE, Ore. – The 18th-ranked University of Oregon took advantage of a ninth-inning fielding error with some aggressive running on the bases to walk off with a 5-4 win over Long Beach State in the 2012 home opener at PK Park.
With the game tied at 4-4 and pinch runner Vernell Warren on second base with one out, Scott Heineman hit a ground ball to shortstop Matt Duffy, who fielded it cleanly but threw low to first baseman Ino Patron. Warren rounded third as Patron gathered the ball and beat the throw home with a head-first slide, getting his left hand on the plate ahead of catcher Royce Murai’s tag.
The win for the Ducks (8-1) was their eighth straight since a season-opening loss at Hawaii, marking the team’s best start since 1976.
Jeff Gold (2-0) pitched two innings of scoreless relief to earn the win for Oregon, allowing one hit.
Starter Alex Keudell appeared to be headed for an early exit after spotting the Dirtbags (4-5) three runs on five hits in the top of the first, but settled down nicely, allowing a single run on four hits and a walk over his next six frames. UO’s senior ace struck out six.
Trailing 3-0 in the fourth, Ryan Hambright came through with a two-run double before scoring on Connor Hofmann’s groundout to tie the score off LBSU starter Shawn Stuart.
The Ducks took their first lead in the next inning when Brett Thomas walked with the bases loaded to score Aaron Jones, who tripled with one out.
Long Beach State got a run back in the aseventh on an RBI single from Patron.
Duffy and Patron both had two hits apiece for LBSU. Five Ducks recorded a single base hit in the game.
The second game of the three-game series is scheduled for Saturday at 6 p.m. RHP Jake Reed (1-0, 2.25) will pitch for the Ducks, opposed by LBSU RHP Matt Anderson (0-0, 1.59).