EUGENE, Ore. – Ryon Healy went 3-for-5 and matched a career-high with four RBI to lead No. 15 Oregon to a 12-4 win over Cal State Northridge in a non-conference game on Monday night at PK Park.
The Ducks (9-3) broke open a tight game with five runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. Healy delivered the key blow, a one-out bases-loaded double that scored three after the Matadors intentionally walked Ryan Hambright to get to Oregon’s leading hitter.
Steven Packard, who went 2-for-5 with two RBI, added a two-out two-run double late in the inning giving the Ducks an eight-run lead.
Cal State Northridge (5-7) threatened to take the lead in the top of the eighth after trailing by five heading into the inning. CSUN got one run off Darrell Hunter to close the gap to 7-4, and then loaded the bases forcing Oregon to turn to All-American closer Jimmie Sherfy.
The all-time saves leader at Oregon entered the game to face Miles Williams, who had blasted a two-run home run deep over the left field wall in the first inning. Sherfy, who inherited a 2-0 count, proceeded to strike out Williams on three straight pitches. Williams was ejected after the final strike for arguing a check-swing strike that occurred earlier in the at bat.
Oregon’s five-run inning in the eighth, matched the Ducks’ five-run inning in the fourth. UO entered that inning trailing 2-1, but tied the game on a Josh Graham RBI single to right field.
Kevin Minjares, making his first career start as a Duck, gave Oregon the lead for good two pitches later. The junior college transfer laid down a squeeze bunt attempt for a hit that Matador starter John Salas (0-2) couldn’t field. Packard scored to give Oregon a 3-2 lead.
J.J. Altobelli greeted reliever Louis Cohen with a two-run single to centerfield to put the Ducks up 5-2. Scott Heineman capped off the five-run inning, matching Oregon’s biggest of the season, with a RBI double scoring Altobelli for a 6-2 lead.
Brett Thomas extended the lead to 7-2 when he led off the fifth inning with a line drive off pitcher Michael Coates’ back. The ball ricocheted to catcher Alexis Mercado whose throw was late and wild into the right field corner. Thomas turned the single into a run advancing all the way home on the error.
Oregon scored its first run in the third inning to cut an early Northridge 2-0 lead in half. Healy delivered a RBI single that scored Heineman, who led off the inning with an infield single and stole second, to make it 2-1.
Brando Tesser, making his first appearance of the season, got the win for Oregon in relief of starter Cole Wiper. Tesser allowed one run on two hits in 2.1 innings, while striking out three.
Sherfy picked up his fourth save, striking out all four batters he faced including the side in the ninth.
Hambright (2-for-4 with two runs scored) joined Healy and Packard with multiple hits, while also scoring multiple runs along with Thomas and Altobelli.
Oregon and Cal State Northridge wrap up their two-game series Tuesday at 12 p.m. at PK Park.