LOS ANGELES – Freshman Mark Karaviotis delivered a two-out two-run single in the top of the ninth inning to break a tie and lead No. 7 Oregon to a 5-3 win at Loyola Marymount on Saturday in game two of a three-game series.
Karaviotis capped a rally by Oregon that started after the first two hitters in the ninth made an out. Freshman A.J. Balta sparked the team with a single and moved to third on a pinch hit single by junior Stephen Packard. Freshman pinch hitter Austin Grebeck loaded the bases when he was hit by a pitch bringing Karaviotis to the plate.
The Maui, Hawaii, native got ahead 2-1 in the count and then lined a single to center field scoring Balta (2-for-4) and pinch runner Craig Meredith.
The clutch pinch hitting continued what has been a positive for the Ducks all season. Oregon has reached base 12 times in 18 pinch hit plate appearances in the first six games. The Ducks have gone 9-for-16 (.563) with a walk and a hit by pitch while reaching once on a fielding error. Six separate Ducks have pinch hits while another player reached on a hit by pitch.
The late game heroics were set up by a big day from designated hitter Kyle Garlick and another strong pitching performance by the Ducks’ staff.
Garlick, a junior, blasted a two-run home run over the 37-foot high “Blue Monster” in left field in the seventh inning to pull Oregon (6-0) to within a run, 3-2. Garlick’s homer scored Tyler Baumgartner who led off the inning with a walk.
The Ducks tied the game in the top of the eighth when senior Aaron Payne came through with a two-out RBI single up the middle scoring senior Connor Hofmann, who led off the inning with a single to left center.
Freshman Matt Krook had another successful start, despite leaving the game down 3-2. The 2013 first round draft pick of the Miami Marlins struck out 11 in his second career start while allowing just three hits and a walk. He gave up three earned runs in 6.1 innings pitched.
Tyler Cohen (0-2) took the loss in relief for Loyola Marymount (2-4). The Lions scored two runs in the fourth and one in the sixth but couldn’t hold off Oregon’s late rally.
The Ducks wrap up their series at LMU tomorrow at 1 p.m. Junior Jordan Spencer (0-0) will get the start for Oregon.