Tuesday's game between the Oregon Ducks and Portland Pilots figured to be one that Oregon could easily control. Sure, they were going to use a new pitcher every inning, but the Ducks' bats would eat Portland's pitching alive, right?
When third baseman Mitchell Tolman cleared the bases with a double down the third-base line in the bottom of the seventh inning, he broke a 1-1 game wide open after Oregon turned a double play with the bases loaded to end the top of the seventh.
Oregon's was able to tack on another insurance run in the eighth inning after second baseman Aaron Payne, who entered the game as a pinch-hitter after an attempted night off, drilled the ball over the right fielder's head for a triple and scored when Portland catcher Bo Cornish threw the ball into left field.
The plan going into tonight's game with the Pilots was to use a different pitcher each inning, and Oregon did use nine pitchers on the night, with the pattern disrupted in the seventh when right-hander Derek Smith got in a jam and had to be rescued by Darrell Hunter.
Garrett Cleavinger, Oregon's lefty ace out of the bullpen this season, came on for the final four outs, and was happy to get back on the mound after a poor performance Sunday against Arizona.
Aside from the in-game tension up to Toman's RBI double, the other point of strife came when left fielder Brett Thomas hit his head on the first baseman's knee diving back on a pick off attempt. He stayed in the game immediately after, but was removed in short order and will be tested for a concussion tomorrow morning.
The Ducks next take the field Thursday night against the Washington Huskies, looking to turn the tables on the past two seasons when Washington took the season series from Oregon.
Horton said that while there's been a fair amount of roster turnover the past two seasons, he'll remind his players about their lackluster play in Seattle last season as a way to motivate them to come out swinging against the Huskies.
Injury updates: Kyle Garlick will get the cast off of his injured wrist tomorrow and will be evaluated shortly thereafter. Horton said it's uncertain whether Garlick will be available in some capacity this weekend.