NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Trailing by five runs entering the eighth inning, the No. 2-seeded Oregon Ducks stormed back for a 11-8 win in 10 innings over No. 4-seeded Xavier in an elimination game of the Nashville Regional on Sunday.
The eventful contest featured four homers, six multi-run rallies, a brief rain delay and 24 hits.
Oregon (44-19) will face top-seeded Vanderbilt at 5 p.m. PT on Sunday. Oregon will need to beat the Commodores twice — with the if-necessary game scheduled for Monday night at 4 p.m. — in order to advance to the Super Regionals.
Oregon was teetering on the edge of elimination against Xavier (30-29) after the Ducks surrendered five runs in the sixth inning and three more in the seventh to see a 3-0 lead turn into an 8-3 deficit.
But Oregon got off the deck, scoring three runs in the eighth and two in the ninth to tie it. The comeback was fueled by Kyle Garlick’s three-run homer in the eighth and three pivotal Xavier errors — including two on one play by shortstop Andre Jernigan — in the ninth. Oregon’s A.J. Balta drove in a run during the ninth-inning rally.
The Ducks then used two hits, two stolen bases and another Xavier error to scratch out three runs in the 10th. Desmond Santos drew a leadoff walk, stole second and came around to score the go-ahead run on a throwing error. Nick Catalano added an RBI triple to give Oregon a 10-8 lead, and Tyler Baumgartner drove in the final run of the inning with a bunt single.
Oregon’s Jake Reed (4-1) held Xavier scoreless over the final two innings to earn the win.
Garlick had two hits and drove in five runs for the Ducks, and Mitchell Tolman was 3-for-6 with an RBI and three runs scored. Shaun Chase was 2-for-5 with a homer and two RBIs.
Xavier was down 3-0 at the end of five innings, but the Musketeers used the long ball to momentarily turn the game around. Jernigan hit a towering three-run homer in the sixth inning and Daniel Rizzie added a three-run shot in the seventh as the Musketeers flipped the 3-0 deficit into an 8-3 lead before Oregon rallied.
Xavier’s Joe Forney finished with three hits and scored two runs, and Derek Hasenbeck was 3-for-5 with an RBI. Xavier reliever Adam Hall (5-4) took the loss, allowing six runs — only two earned — on three hits in 2 1/3 innings.
After being held in check for the first five innings, the Musketeers came to life in the sixth, scoring five runs — all with two outs — to grab a sudden 5-3 lead. Jernigan keyed the rally with his massive homer, which landed atop the building that houses Vanderbilt’s batting cages connected to Memorial Gym behind the 35-foot wall in left field.
Xavier had six hits in the inning, including five singles and the homer by Jernigan, his sixth of the season. Derek Hasenbeck and Brian Bruening each had run-scoring singles prior to Jernigan’s blast.
The Musketeers stretched the lead to 8-3 in the seventh when Rizzie delivered his three-run shot after Mitch Elliott and Joe Forney opened the inning with back-to-back singles. Rizzie had five hits and five RBIs in the tournament.
Oregon took a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Chase crushed a 1-2 pitch from lefty Trent Astle over the left-field fence for a two-run homer. It was Chase’s second homer of the Regional and team-leading 14th of the season.
The Ducks tacked on a run in the third. Mitchell Tolman doubled with one out and, after a pair of walks to load the bases, he scored on a grounder by Kyle Garlick that Xavier couldn’t turn into a double play.
Astle allowed five runs on seven hits while striking out six and walking three in seven innings pitched.
The game was halted for 15 minutes when a strong burst of rain poured through Hawkins Field. It marked the third straight day that inclement weather forced a delay. Xavier was the only team affected by all three delays.