Nine innings were not enough to decide the winner in the series opener between Oregon and Washington, Thursday night. The Ducks used some late game heroics from Ryon Healy to force the extra frames and a walk off home run to win the game for the Ducks 5-3. Jake Reed pitched 7 strong innings, but did not get the decision. "Those middle innings so far this inning have been struggle points for me, but I feel like I settled in and it's just a matter of continuing to work hard." Jake Reed said after the game, "I seem to be losing my command a little bit with my fastball, which is a little weird." This game was no different as Reed struggled in the 4th and 5th but ultimately stemmed the tide as Oregon came away with the win.
The Ducks got off to a quick start in the first inning, starting with a patient at bat from Tyler Baumgartner to draw a full count walk. Mitchell Tolman stepped into the box and drilled the first pitch he saw deep down the left fied line for a double, scoring Baumgartner from first. It was only the third time this season that the Ducks scored a run in the first inning, but they wouldn't settle for one. Scott Heineman then hit a soft liner into center to bring Tolman in, giving the Ducks the early 2-0 lead.
Jake Reed was rolling along smoothly for the Ducks until the top of the fourth when a throwing error by JJ Altobelli allowed leadoff batter Joe Meggs to reach first base. After Robert Pehl was hit by a pitch, Ryan Wiggins slapped a line drive to left center allowing Meggs around third to score the Huskies first run of the night. Reed would get out of the inning though, with no more harm getting the next batter to ground out and end the early Washington threat. The Huskies would strike again in the fifth as a fielder's choice and a bloop single to right would score Andrew Ely and Ty Afenir respectively, giving UW a 3-2 lead through 5.
After the Ducks opening salvo, they would struggle for hits as Washington's starter, Jared Fisher settled in after a rocky first inning and retire 15 consecutive batters the only hit after the first belonging to Ryon Healy which came to nothing. Fisher would get no decision for his effort though, as Oregon wouldn't go down quietly and use what has become a bit of old news. The Ducks scored late.
In the 8th, with two down Tyler Baumgartner would represent the most serious Oregon scoring threat as he hit a high pop up that ended up falling between 3 UW fielders in shallow left, getting to second base. The fielding miscue ended up hurting the visitors as Ryon Healy battled through the next at bat and sent a sharp ground ball through the hole on the left side to tie it up. Another base hit from Tolman would send Healy over to third. Ryan Hambright woud come in to pinch hit with runners on the corners but would go down on strikes, stranding 2 and leaving the score tied at 3 after 8 innings.
After Sherfy shut down the Dawgs in the top of the 10th, Tyler Baumgartner would draw a two out walk setting up Healy for his dramatic finish. With one swing of the bat, the game was over as he sent a fastball over the left field wall. Healy stated that he knew it was out as soon as he hit it. "That's special when you hit the ball out of PK Park, whether you're Ryon Healy or anyone else." Coach Horton stated after the game on Healy's home run.
The Ducks scored again late and to this point in the season have outscored their opponents 32 to 6 in the 8th. "This team seems to get better as the game goes on. It's the real backbone and strength of this club." Historically, the Ducks have struggled against Washington and getting the first game of the series is a nice boost as they have 2 remaining in this series against UW.