The Ducks faced off against Loyola Marymount today in the rubber match of what has been a strange series. First, LMU pasted Oregon by a score of 7-2 and then Oregon responded by scoring more runs than hits in the second game. The third and final game of the series certainly had it's own unique twists and turns as the Ducks triumphed 6-1 to win the weekend series.
Cole Irvin pitched strong through the first three innings before he ran into a bit of trouble in the fourth. With one out, Irvin allowed three consecutive hits to Joey Boney, Colton Plaia and the third hit in the ending surrendered to Tanner Donnels would score Boney. Plaia and Donnels would advance on the throw to the plate but Irvin would settle down to get himself out of a jam only giving up one run in the inning. "I didn't really change anything," said Irvin, "I just kept throwing strikes, they just hit good pitches and I can't do anything about that."
The Ducks would struggle to get base runners through much of the game until they broke through in the sixth. Aaron Payne lead off the inning with a walk. Scott Heineman hit a hot shot to short and the throw pulled the second baseman off the bag. Following a sacrifice bunt and an intentional walk to Ryon Healy, Tyler Baumgartner roped a full count, two out, bases clearing double over the head of the left fielder. Baumgartner would also score when Nick Catalano hit nearly the same spot with a double of his own on his first at bat of the season. Coach Horton said that he made the suggestion to pinch hit Catalano but was "as surprised as anybody to see him walk up there." After 6 the Ducks swung the momentum and led 4-1. Baumgartner commented after the game "There is a little pressure but the crowd is there and that helped a lot...it was a fastball away, he was throwing mostly fastball, change up to lefties and we just had a good two strike approach plan to just see the ball the other way."
Oregon would continue their unconventional offense when Payne and Heineman would again take first and second on a pair of walks. Two more runs would score during Ryon Healy's at bat without him even swinging the bat. Payne looked dead to rights trying to steal third before pitcher Carlos Fuentes started his delivery, but an errant throw to third scored Payne and a balk would score Heineman, opening up the Duck lead to 6-1.
Cole Irvin pitched through the eighth, with the only drama he faced being in the fourth. Coach Horton called on Jimmie Sherfy to pitch the ninth and add some excitement to the game. After retiring the first batter, Sherfy gave up three consecutive base hits to load the bases with only one out. Sherfy, though would strike out the final two batters he faced, preserving the 6-1 victory.