SAN DIEGO, California— The Ducks struck early, but failed to capitalize the rest of the way, falling to the host University of San Diego Toreros 7-2 Saturday night in the championship final of the Tony Gwynn Classic.
Oregon (4-3) started the game with two quick runs in the top of the first inning, courtesy of singles by freshman second baseman Morgan McCullough, redshirt senior centerfielder Jake Bennett, and redshirt junior left fielder A.J. Balta, a double by junior catcher Tim Susnara (the Ducks’ lone extra-base hit of the night), and a costly error by USD (4-2) starting pitcher Jonathan Teaney, who was chased from the game after only two-thirds of an inning.
Sadly, the Ducks offense took an early shower, as they failed to advance a runner beyond second base the rest of the way. Chris Murphy (1-0) relieved Teaney and pitched a solid four and two-thirds innings of shutout ball, allowing only two singles while striking out eight. Troy Conyers entered in the top of the sixth for USD and picked up where Murphy left off, giving up just two singles while striking out five in three and two-thirds shutout innings to finish the game.
For the fourth time in seven games this season, Oregon’s starting pitcher failed to make it past the fourth inning— sophomore lefthander Cole Stringer gave up six hits and two runs without striking out a batter, and didn’t figure in the decision. Sophomore Parker Kelly started the fifth and pitched two solid innings of shutout ball, allowing only three hits while striking out three.
The game was still tied 2-2 in the botton of the seventh, until senior Duck reliever Cooper Stiles (0-1) gave up a two-run home run to Torero’s catcher and tournament MVP Riley Adams to give USD a 4-2 lead. The Toreros would score three more in the bottom of the eighth off of Oregon relievers junior Jesse Hobaica and redshirt senior Joe Reta.
The Toreros finished the tournament 3-0 to take the 2017 championship over second place 3-0 Tennessee on a tie-breaker. The Oregon Ducks finished in third place with an overall record of 2-1.
Though the tournament is officially over, the Ducks play the Toreros once again Sunday, with first pitch scheduled for 1:00 pm.