EUGENE, Ore. – Ryan Hambright had a two-out RBI single to score the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning Tuesday night leading No. 6 Oregon past Gonzaga 4-3 in a non-league game at PK Park.
Hambright, who returned to the starting lineup nine game ago after missing 25 starts with a back injury, lined a one-strike, no-ball pitch from Taylor Jones into the right field gap driving in Scott Heineman with the winning run.
Brett Thomas started the inning with a walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Aaron Payne. Heineman walked to put runners on first and second bringing to the plate Mitchell Tolman, Oregon’s hottest hitter.
Tolman hit a hard ground ball to second on a 3-2 pitch that Gonzaga’s Cabe Reiten tried to turn into a double play. Heineman, who was running on the pitch beat the shovel throw to second, but shortstop Steven Halcomb got Thomas trying to score the winning run for the second out of the inning.
Tyler Baumgartner walked on five pitches to load the bases and set up Hambright’s heroics.
Oregon (41-11) scored all four of its runs in the final four innings. After Gonzaga (32-17-1) scored single runs in the fifth and sixth innings, the Ducks tied the game with a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth. Heineman, who walked to lead off the inning, put UO on the board scoring on a bases-loaded wild pitch. Nick Catalano then tied the game scoring on a one-out RBI ground out by Josh Graham.
Tolman gave Oregon its first lead of the game in the seventh. The freshman, who was batting .517 in the Ducks’ last eight games, delivered a two-out single to center field scoring J.J. Altobelli to put UO up 3-2.
The Zags got the run back in the top of the eighth on a RBI double by Cory Lebrun tying the game 3-3.
Freshman Garrett Cleavinger (8-0) picked up the win, his sixth in Oregon’s last 12 games, holding Gonzaga without a hit in the final 1.2 innings. He struck out three and walked two. Jones (9-4) took the loss for the Bulldogs.
The two teams wrap up the two-game series Wednesday at 6 p.m. at PK Park.