A team called the Ducks, who rallied around a Techno Chicken, were finally bested by a dying quail.
Oregon's bid for their first College World Series appearance since 1954 fell just short on Monday, as a bloop by Kent State's Jimmy Rider fell just out of reach of Oregon's JJ Altobelli, propelling the Golden Flashes to Omaha for their first-ever appearance on college baseball's biggest stage.
Oregon saw its equal in Kent State, a team also built around strong pitching and just enough hitting. And in the deciding game, it was Kent State's Tyler Skulina who won the matchup. Skulina allowed only two hits over 5 2/3 innings, while Oregon's Jeff Gold was not his usual self, allowing six hits in eleven batters before being lifted for Brando Tessar. The Oregon bullpen was sparkling, allowing only two hits over the final 6 2/3 innings. Unfortunately for dynamic closer Jimmie Sherfy, the one hit he allowed came at the worst possible time.
This was a Duck team that exceeded all preseason expectations, kept on winning despite numerous injuries, and put together the best season in its short, reinstated, history. But with Omaha so within reach, on home turf, this can't help but feel like a disappointment. But make no mistake, this program is on the rise. Duck fans should get used to being in these big games, because Oregon baseball has officially arrived.
Great season Ducks. Can't wait to see what you've got in store for us next year.