Clutch hitting has been a problem for the Oregon Ducks this season as they've struggled to find their bats in key situations. Monday against the Texas State University Bobcats, they found them when they needed them most, outlasting the Bobcats 4-3.
"I think maybe earlier in the year we were trying a little too hard, and especially when you aren't winning, you try a lot harder; you want to try harder to get the job done," Oregon shortstop J.J. Altobelli said. "Now, we're just putting trust in each other and taking it one pitch at a time and if it gets done, it gets done and if it doesn't, then the next guy will pick it back up and get it done for us."
Oregon got two runs in the third inning when center fielder Connor Hoffmann doubled to center and scored on an RBI single by Altobelli.
Right fielder Scott Heineman proceeded to double and score Altobelli from first, giving the Ducks a short-lived 2-1 lead.
After Texas State put a run on the board in both the fifth and sixth innings, Oregon first baseman Ryon Healy led off the bottom of the sixth with a home run to left field, his third of the season.
"He's just in the zone," head coach George Horton said. "Not only is he in the zone, he's a good hitter. He's been a good hitter since he arrived here and just keeps getting better and better every year."
Later in the inning, DH Tyler Baumgartner doubled and was knocked in by third baseman Ryan Hambright's seeing-eye RBI single into left field.
"Baumgartner got a spot start and obviously a clutch double for us, and Hambright using the whole field, I guess that was ultimately the game winning hit," Horton said.
Texas State would pose multiple threats late in the game, but Christian Jones came on for his first action in a couple of weeks after experiencing soreness in his surgically-repaired arm to get out of a jam in the eighth inning, and Jimmie Sherfy gave up a lead off single in the ninth before striking out the next three batters he saw.
The Ducks finish up their two game set against Texas State tomorrow night at PK Park before heading to Los Angeles for a three game set with the USC Trojans.
Notes: Outfielder Kyle Garlick continues to miss time with a wrist injury that Horton compared to the one suffered by New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira. While he doesn't think it's as serious as the one keeping Teixeira out 8-10 weeks, Horton said it's more of a week-to-week injury, and that he many not make the trip to Los Angeles.