The Duck bats came alive against Cal State Northridge, Monday night as they rolled to a 12-4 win. Every starter in the Oregon line up recorded a hit and 6 different Ducks recorded RBI's. Brando Tessar (1-0) came on in relief of freshman Cole Wiper who had a shaky start to record the win. Ryon Healy had 3 hits and 4 RBI's as the Ducks peppered the field to the tune of 13 hits as a team. "I think we've been building some momentum...I thought Saturday at [Cal State] Fullerton we hit the ball really well." Brett Thomas said after his 2 run effort.
Northridge jumped all over Cole Wiper in the first inning. After Chester Pak stroked a single to left-center, Miles Williams took starter Cole Wiper deep to left field on a 400+ ft shot to straight away left to give the Matadors an early 2-0 lead. Wiper would settle himself though after that point and got out of the inning without any more damage done.
Nick Catalano would single with one out in the second and advance to third on a throwing error in the next at bat to Steven Packard. The Ducks looked like they were in business with one out but a strike out and a pop out turned the Ducks away and left two stranded. The Ducks would knock on the door again in the third as Ryon Healy drove the ball deep to left center, scoring Ryan Hambright to put the Ducks on the board, but overly aggressive base running would find Healy thrown out at second to end the third.
Oregon would break the game wide open in the fourth. After Nick Catalano walked with one out, the Ducks would score him and the next 4 batters, to bat around and give Oregon a 6-2 advantage. The Ducks would add one more in the sixth on the strangest play of the game. Brett Thomas hit a line drive off the back of pitcher Louis Cohen. The catcher recovered and tried to make a play at first and overthrew the bag. The ball skipped into foul play in right, catching Chester Pak by surprise. Pak's throw to the plate was wide and late as Thomas scored on a three base error with a hit that never passed the pitcher's mound.
The Matador's weren't finished though as Nathan Ring scored on a fielder's choice to short and in the eighth, tacked on another run to bring CSN within three runs. Darrell Hunter found himself in hot water, allowing a run and then loading up the bases with Miles Williams coming up to the plate. Williams having already homered earlier in the game watched the first two pitches for balls. Coach Horton had seen enough as he called on Oregon's "Wild Thing" Jimmie Sherfy. With the game in the balance, Sherfy fired three consecutive strikes to retire the side and preserve the lead. Williams would get ejected after Sherfy rang him up, ending his night of work for Northridge. His protests were directed toward the second strike where Williams felt he checked his swing, but home plate umpire Kendall Snyder called the strike anyway.
The close call seemed to awaken Oregon's bats as they struck again for 5 runs in the bottom of the eighth. In what was a curious call, Ryan Hambright was intentionally walked bringing up Ryon Healy who had already gotten on base twice and drove in a run. Healy found the right pitch and drove it up the third base line, clearing the bases with a double. "I was excited for the opportunity...I was just happy I was able to come through and help the team out," Healy said about his final at bat. Steven Packard would drive in two more with a triple to the right field side to give the final score of 12-4, Sherfy striking out the side in the ninth. In the save, Sherfy (4) struck out all four batters he faced to put the cap on the win. Sherfy said that he was in "a totally different mental state...after the meeting with Ken Ravizza (Sports Psychologist with the LA Angels) he just totally changed my mental game. Before I would doubt myself, just tentative with my pitches and now before I throw I go ‘Watch this.'"
The Ducks have one more game against Northridge before #2 Vanderbilt comes into town for the weekend series. Coach Horton is excited to have a little home momentum going into that series that could prove to be a good measuring stick for this Oregon team.