EUGENE, Ore. – No. 20 Rice scored seven runs in the first three innings and No. 9 Oregon never really recovered as the Owls won 11-4 in the Eugene Regional Tournament on Monday at PK Park.
The Ducks (48-16) ended their season with a school record in wins, while the Owls (44-18) advanced to play at North Carolina State in the NCAA Super Regional. Four Ducks—Ryon Healy, Tyler Baumgartner, Scott Heineman and Cole Irvin—were named to the all-tournament team. Rice placed five players on the all-tournament team including Most Valuable Player Jordan Stephens.
Rice put three runs on the board in the first inning against Jake Reed, who was making the start on two day’s rest after starting Friday’s Ducks’ opener. Shane Hoelscher drove a two-RBI triple to center field and scored when J.J. Altobelli’s relay throw bounced off Hoelscher and got away from third baseman Ryan Hambright.
The Ducks got a pair of runs back in the bottom half of the first. Mitchell Tolman made it 3-1 with a RBI single scoring Aaron Payne, and then escaped a rundown on a ground out by Heineman allowing Healy to score from second.
The Owls answered with two more runs in the top of the second to push the lead back to three. Reliever Christian Jones walked Keenan Cook with the bases loaded to make it 4-2 and then Ford Stainback scored on a Hoelscher fielder’s choice where Christian Stringer beat Hambright to third base.
Rice tacked on two more runs on three hits and two walks in the third for a 7-2 lead. Baumgartner kept it from getting worse when he threw out catcher Hunter Kopycinski trying to score to end the inning. Tolman pulled the Ducks within four on a sacrifice fly in the bottom half of the third.
Rice added a run in the fifth before Oregon got it back with a Baumgartner RBI single. The Owls tacked on three runs in the top of the ninth to seal the victory.