"Mr. Healy comes through once again, [Garrett] Cleavinger gets a vulture win and Jimmie [Sherfy] gets a save. It's pretty much Groundhog's day," stated George Horton after the game Friday against an upstart South Dakota State team. The Jackrabbits had their opportunities but ultimately wasted an impressive performance by starting pitcher, Layne Somsen who went 7 innings and came away with a no decision as Ryon Healy's gap shot to left center gave the Ducks a 3-2 win spoiling a 1 hitter to that stage.
The Jacks appeared to try to make the most of their first program regional appearance getting into the act in the second inning. Daniel Telford took the first pitch he saw back up the middle and would score on another single up the middle which took much the same trajectory off the mound by Aaron Machbitz to give the Jacks a 1-0 lead in the second. Despite loading the bases in the bottom half of the frame, the Ducks would be unable to respond as J.J. Altobelli dribbled out to second base.
In the fourth, Telford would start off the inning much the same way, shooting middle to lead off. He would score again, this time on a mishandled grounder by Ryan Hambright to put the Jackrabbits up 2-0. Oregon wouldn't get their first run until the fifth when Tyler Baumgartner's grounder skipped under the glove of SDSU's first baseman, Aaron Machbitz. He would get to second, steal third and score on a wild pitch, giving Oregon a run without a hit.
With a pitch count climbing past 110, Layne Somsen was pulled in favor of J.D. Moore after allowing only a single hit through 7+ innings. Moore would then hit Aaron Payne with a pitch setting the table for Ryon Healy with two on. Healy delivered a shot to the gap in left center which scored both Altobelli and Payne to give Oregon a 3-2 lead going into the ninth inning. "Walking to second base, you just sit and watch it all happen, you don't hear much but you see everyone jumping around. It's pretty surreal," said Healy.
Coach Horton turned the ball over to his closer Jimmie Sherfy who made quick work of the Jacks in the ninth only allowing a single baserunner in his appearance. "Shows you how good Jimmie is...because of the excellence of Sherfy it was a no brainer not to match up left left and come in with our All American closer," said Horton about his decision not to leave Cleavinger in to face the left handed Telford who had two hits to that point in the game.
The win sends Oregon to the winner's bracket where they will face off against a Rice team who needed extra innings to dispatch San Francisco. In that game, USF's left fielder lost a fly ball in the sun allowing it to drop scoring the winning run for the Owls. The Ducks will face Rice at 6 PM. Tommy Thorpe is expected to start the second game for the Ducks as they look to take a 2-0 record in their region.