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Oregon Ducks Baseball: Ducks put Highlanders away early

Oregon jumps out on the Highlanders and keep them down in a 7-2 win.

Jake Tabor

Oregon welcomed the RIverside Highlanders to PK Park Friday night and Tyler Baumgartner made sure they did not feel welcome. The senior drove in 4 runs as Tommy Thorpe did not allow an earned run in seven innings en route to a 7-2 win.

Thorpe limited UC-Riverside to just two base hits as he effectively shut down the Highlanders, striking out 7 in 7 innings pitched.

"Everything was working," said Thorpe, "even my curveball was on, and it's never on."

For Riverside, Jacob Smigelski was struggling with his control in the third inning, hitting both Desmond Santos and Mark Karaviotis before walking A.J. Balta to set the table for Tyler Baumgartner. With one swing of the bat, Baumgartner broke the scoreless tie with a liner into left center bringing around all three base runners who got on without swinging the bat.

"When I got to the plate, there wasn't any room for me so I knew I was going to get a good pitch. I was just able to put a good swing on it," said Baumgartner.

A hard hit ball to second baseman Joe Chavez squirted free and extended the inning for the Ducks as Baumgartner came around to score increasing the Oregon lead to 4-0, having struck for just a single hit in the third.

Thorpe was cruising through four until he ran into a little trouble in the fourth. A single by Thomas Walker put UCR in business as the Highlanders managed to get runners on second and third with one down. A ground out to Aaron Payne would plate Riverside's only run of the game as Thorpe worked out of a jam and escaped with a 4-1 lead intact.

The Ducks would respond in the bottom of the 6th as lead-off batter Kyle Garlick went deep over the left field fence to get the lead back up to 4 at 5-1.

Baumgartner would strike for his fourth RBI in the seventh, scoring Aaron Payne from first on a hit to right center that just just eluded a sliding Devyn Bolasky. Mitchell Tolman went down on strikes ending the Ducks' rally but were able to push the lead to 6-1.

A lead-off single by Garlick would pay dividends as Austin Grebeck would drive in Oregon's seventh run in their last appearance at the plate.

It was a good opening to a non-conference series, particularly with the Beavers falling in Pullman tonight. Outside the lines, many were looking at the health of Matt Krook who had an MRI today. According to coach Horton, they are still awaiting results from the MRI and may see results as soon as tonight. Tomorrow, the Ducks take on the Highlanders again in the second game of the series as Oregon looks to take the first two of the series from Riverside.