Jeff Gold was not his usual electric self against Washington State Friday night, but he was solid enough to get his NCAA leading ninth win of the season as Oregon defeated the Cougars 6-3. Oregon won much on the strength of a 5 run fourth inning which saw a triple, a balk and a three run double from Austin Grebeck. Gold pitched 7 innings before turning the game over to the pen, with Jake Reed picking up his tenth save of the season.
Trailing 1-0, the Ducks had not gotten to starter Tanner Chleborad at all. That is until Aaron Payne hit a shot into the gap in left center, letting the lead-off man get all the way to third on a triple. The Ducks were able to tie the score as AJ Balta grounded out to first.
The Ducks weren't done there; Mitchell Tolman was able to keep his hot hitting going as he hit a two out line drive to center to get on base. A balk and a seeing eye grounder to second got Tolman to third before a perfectly executed bunt from Steven Packard put the Ducks in the lead. A walk loaded the bases and a hot shot up the third base line by Austin Grebeck emptied them.
"I hadn't really proven I could hit a fast ball to them and I knew I had a pretty good chance of getting a fast ball and I was just ready to square something up." Said Grebeck.
By the time the smoke cleared in the fourth it was 5-1 Ducks, with 5 hits in the inning and 9 batters sent to the plate.
The Cougars would fire back for a pair with a bases loaded double but a beautiful relay from Grebeck to Tolman to Chase got the runner at the plate and ended the Wazzu scoring threat in the sixth.
"The big deal was Grebeck picking that ball up off the wall clean, hitting Karaviotis and killing that inning because that two could have been more. Great defense again." Said coach George Horton.
While Reed picked up the save, he didn't do it without a little drama. Reed put two runners on base before striking out the final batter of the game, recording all three outs of the inning via strike out.
In defeating the Cougars, coach Horton won his 700th division game as a coach.
"It means a great deal. A lot of great players, and a lot of great coaches. It's never been about me and I'm blessed to be a baseball coach," said Horton.
The win breaks a three way with the Cougars and the Bruins for fourth in the quagmire of the Pac-12 standings. Oregon can put even more distance between themselves and the Cougars tomorrow when they look for the sweep at 2 PM.