When Tyler Anderson began his career as an Oregon Duck, he was nearly last on the pitching depth chart of 15.
On Friday night, the projected first round pick in next month's MLB Draft nailed his final high note, as the curtain closed on Anderson's Oregon career.
Facing the No. 6 Oregon State Beavers, Anderson provided one of the most memorable nights in PK Park's three-year history. He allowed just one run on four hits over 7 1/3 innings, and his 10 strikeouts broke his own single season strikeout record set last year. The Ducks sent him off in proper fashion as they upset the Beavers 4-1 in the first game of the Civil War series.
Well over 100 pitches, the Ducks decided to send Anderson back out on the mound in the eighth inning to give the Las Vegas native a proper exit. After retiring pinch hitter Max Gordon, Anderson's job, as a Duck, was done. With 125 pitches under his belt, Anderson received a roaring standing ovation from the 3,052 in attendance, and each of his teammates greeted him with a hug outside the dugout.
"I had a little tear in my eye," head coach George Horton said. "His work ethic's unparallel. He's one of the best I've ever been around, and has a very good balance of being a very tough kid, a very competitive kid. But then he also has a very soft side, and a side that he thinks about others. He's almost the perfect athlete."
After graduating form Spring Valley High School, Anderson figured he would be attending a junior college in the fall. Instead, he became a Duck, and after spending three years as the Friday night starter, his ovation was well deserved.
"I thought it was sweet and I think it's the first time I've ever had one here," Anderson said of standing ovation. "The fans are awesome. The school is awesome, and knowing that could possibly be my last start at PK (Park) means a lot to me."
The Ducks didn't wait long to show they weren't going to make this series easy for the No. 6 team in the country. But, in the early going, the Ducks had to scrap in order to score.
Second baseman Danny Pulfer led the Ducks off in the first inning with a rip to the gap in left-center field resulting in a double. After a sacrifice bunt by Brett Thomas, which moved Pulfer to third, Aaron Jones drove Pulfer in with a sacrifice fly to right field.
In the third inning, J.J. Altobelli reached first base on an infield single. After reaching third base on a single by Pulfer, a fielders choice off the bat of Aaron Jones would score Altobelli and add to the two runs batted in for Jones in the game. The Ducks led 2-0.
The Beavers had only gotten one runner in to scoring position before the seventh inning. But in the seventh, Beavers first baseman Parker Berberet sent a shot to center field and off the wall allowing Ryan Dunn to score from second.
With the Beavers cutting the lead to one in the top of the seventh, the Ducks were in need of some cushion. Beavers starter Sam Gaviglio seemed to have found his rythem as he retired the Ducks in order in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
Insurance for the Ducks came in the form of a blast from shortstop KC Serna. Following a walk to Stefan Sabol, Serna belted a two-run home run that took little time to get over the wall down the left field line. That extended the Ducks lead to 4-1 after the seventh.
"I think we're at the point where we just want to have fun with these last games," Serna said. "If it comes out our way, then we'll be happy. If not, better luck next year."
Madison Boer relieved Anderson in the eighth inning, as he pitched 1 2/3 innings and earned his third save of the year.
The Ducks handed Gaviglio only his second loss of the season. He is now 11-2. Anderson improved his record to 8-3 with a 2.11 earned run average on the year.
The loss moved the Beavers into a tie for first place in the Pac-10 with the UCLA Bruins with Arizona State one game back.
Tyler Anderson tied his single-game strikeout record against a Pac-10 opponent. Anderson finishes the year with 114 strikeouts. He also holds Oregon's all-time strikeout record with 285 career strikeouts.
Danny Pulfer extended his hit streak to a season-high 12 games, which ties a program record he set earlier this year. That record has only been kept since 2009.