by Rob Moseley
It was only a matter of time, George Horton said Friday night, before the top of Oregon's order got going again.
Less than 24 hours, as it turned out.
Putting a four-game collective slump behind them, the meat of the UO lineup put together a four-run rally to tie Saturday's game with Arizona in the seventh inning, before freshman Austin Grebeck's game-winning single in the 10th won it for the Ducks, 7-6. Cleanup hitter Kyle Garlick's two-run triple got Oregon within 6-4 in the seventh, and Steven Packard followed with a two-run homer just inside the right-field foul pole.
"It was a great one — probably on the short list of as good a comeback as we've had late in the ballgame," Horton said.
The series finale is Sunday at PK Park (4 p.m. PT, Pac-12 Networks).
After a rough go during a three-game sweep by OSU last week, Oregon's top four batters managed a single hit in Friday's series-opening win over the Wildcats. On Saturday, the Ducks got six hits out of the top four spots in the lineup, two more than in the previous four games combined.
Tyler Baumgartner had RBI singles in the third and fifth innings as Oregon (33-13, 12-8 Pac-12) built a 2-1 lead. His one-out single started the seventh-inning rally after Arizona (18-27, 7-16) had gone back ahead 6-2.
"This is definitely a big one for us, just shows our resiliency," Baumgartner said. "Last weekend was rough, almost like we folded, it seemed like. It was good to be able to come back."
Shaun Chase reached to open the bottom of the 10th, his second hit of the day in raising his average in Pac-12 play to .391. A.J. Balta showed bunt, then slapped a single between first and second, with pinch runner Desmond Santos taking third, and Grebeck followed with the walk-off winner.
Closer Jake Reed pitched two scoreless inning for the win. He was the sixth reliever of the day, picking up Jeff Gold after the UO senior suffered through both the flu and — perhaps not coincidentally — his worst start of the spring.
Gold was touched for a first-inning run, but unlike Friday the Ducks were ready to go from the outset at the plate. Aaron Payne singled and Baumgartner walked before being stranded in the first, and Baumgartner tied the game with a single that scored Mark Karaviotis in the third.
Again in the fifth, Baumgartner singled and Karaviotis crossed the plate, for a 2-1 lead.
The Wildcats strung together five hits in six at-bats to rally for four runs in the sixth, and added another in the seventh. There were two out in the bottom of the seventh when Baumgartner singled and Mitchell Tolman was hit by a pitch, bringing Garlick to the plate looking to avoid a four-strikeout night.
Instead, he lined a triple into right-center, his school-record 12th career three-base hit.
"Baseball's a tough game; you just really have to stick with it," Garlick said. "You take the good when you can, and the bad, you've just got to grind through it. You're going to have your ups and downs, and we really came out of our shell today in a big way."
Garlick entered the game tied for the UO triples record with George Shaw, who doubled as a quarterback and was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1955 NFL draft.
"I try to live in that right-center-field gap," Garlick said. "That's the biggest part of the field, and it's the longest throw to third.
"And I know coaches joke that I'm 'Gramps,'" added Garlick, who sports a bald pate, "but I've got some speed and I think that helps."
Baumgartner enjoyed his team-best 18th multi-hit game, but also broke an 0-for-16 slump with his first hit since April 19. He spent time studying video with UO hitting coach Mark Wasikowski earlier in the week, and again prior to Saturday's game.
"It helped me get the bat path to where I'm not missing pitches I should be hitting," Baumgartner said. "It was really good. Everybody stepped up tonight."
The win was Oregon's 15th in a row at home, in front of a season-high crowd of 3,375, many of whom headed to PK Park following the football team's spring game. The crowd grew increasingly boisterous as the game tightened up in the latter innings, and erupted when Grebeck grounded his walk-off single through the left side of the infield.
For at least the start of the game, the crowd included UO booster Phil Knight.
"We all know what he means to the university, and to us," Horton said. "And the armed forces people that were in attendance, we wouldn't be playing or coaching out here if it wasn't for them. The spring game is always a special day, and to culminate that into a special come-from-behind win … there's just a lot of feel-good things about this victory."