It's always dangerous to walk the lead-off batter. The Gonzaga Bulldogs learned that the hard way as three of Oregon's four runs came after a lead-off walk. Garrett Cleavinger came on late to record his 8th win of the season, overcoming some poor Oregon hitting and a good starting performance from last minute starter Billy Moon. Gonzaga's pitcher Zach Abbruzza was a late scratch as he had to go to the hospital with some form of eye swelling which forced Moon into the spotlight. Moon pitched into the 6th but Oregon would take over down the stretch, recovering from a 2-0 deficit to win 4-3 on a game winning hit by Ryan Hambright.
The teams were battling to a defensive standstill until the 5th when Jordan Spencer ran into trouble. After Caleb Wood grounded a single up the third base line, Spencer would walk the next batter forcing coach Horton to go to the pen. Darrell Hunter came in and Travis Forbes took the first pitch he saw to left to bring in the first run of the game, giving GU a 1-0 lead. Hunter would stop the remainder of the threat stranding two base runners for the Zags. With the Ducks unable to answer in the bottom part of the frame, Marco Gonzales would turn on a pitch in the 6th, sending it deep and giving Gonzaga a 2-0 lead.
Oregon would respond though, Billy Moon had been dominate to that point in the game but a lead-off walk to Scott Heineman would prove to be costly. A wild pitch would score Heineman from third and Josh Graham's fielder's choice scored Nick Catalano to knot it up at 2 apiece. A pop out would end the Duck threat, but the damage had been done. Moon would come in to pitch the seventh but after a pair of walks, the best he could hope for was a ND. Through his 6+, Moon struck out 8 Ducks and scattered 3 hits, but ultimately his control got the better of him.
Taylor Jones came on in relief of Moon and quickly struck out Scott Heineman on three pitches. Mitchell Tolman would prove to be a stiffer challenge was the 6'7" Freshman as Tolman sent a base hit up the middle and advanced to second on the late throw to third. In the top of the 8th, Gonzaga would benefit from a Ryan Hambright error when Cory Lebrun doubled down the right field line scoring Mitchell Gunsolus from second. Jones' day was done at that point, giving way to Garrett Cleavinger with one down and one on. Cleavinger would not disappoint, framing an intentional walk with a strike out and a lazy fly to left to end the Gonzaga threat.
Cleavinger worked around a lead-off walk, allowing no runs on no hits to set the table for the Oregon offense. It was perhaps apropos that Brett Thomas lead off with a walk to start the final inning before Hambright's single into the gap. With runners on first and second, Mitchell Tolman grounded to second where Cabe Reiten would mishandle the ball, allowing the runners at first and second to be safe. Perhaps overzealous, Thomas got caught in a run down to give the Oregon their second out of the inning. Baumgartner would walk to load the bases, setting the stage for Ryan Hambright. With the outfield in, Hambright roped a liner into the right-center plating the winning run for the Ducks. "That guy was throwing a lot of sliders with runners in scoring position and I was just looking for a pitch up that I could drive." Hambright said regarding his game winner.
The Ducks play Gonzaga tomorrow once again at 6 PM before their final home series against Oregon State for what looks to be the decisive series in the conference.