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Oregon Baseball Rallies To Stun Arizona

Down 0-10 after two innings, the Ducks come back to take the series

COLLEGE BASEBALL: MAY 25 Pac-12 Baseball Tournament - Arizona v Oregon Photo by Zac BonDurant/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Logan Mercado had his second consecutive start today, and it was one that he would probably rather forget. His outing ended 23 of the way into the second inning, after giving up 10 runs on nine hits to spot the Wildcats with a double digit lead.

Amazingly enough, it wasn’t going to be enough for Arizona to get the win.

The Oregon bats and bullpen plucked this Wildcats defeat from the jaws of victory to end with a 13-11 win, in only the third time that the Ducks have won a series in Arizona.

UA scored four in the first inning with no outs. It didn’t help that an Oregon error contributed, but the Wildcats were also placing the ball well.

Then in the second inning, Oregon committed two more errors in the process of spotting Arizona with 10 points.

Matthew Grabman relieved Mercado, and proceeded to keep UA off the board for the next three-plus innings.

The Ducks rally started in the third inning, when Drew Cowley scored Rikuu Nishida for Oregon’s sole run of the inning.

In the fourth inning, Oregon scored two. The first run came when Nishida drove a single up the middle to score Jacob Walsh with two outs. Colby Shade then hit an RBI single to score again.

The fifth inning was quiet for the Oregon bats, but the Ducks bullpen was keeping UA from increasing their lead. In the sixth, Dominic Hellman and Gavin Grant both got on base with singles. Rikuu Nishida ripped a double to score Hellman.

Colby Shade was the next batter, and his sacrifice fly scored Grant. Just like that, the Ducks had cut Arizona’s lead in half and the game seemed less out of reach.

This was, in part, made possible by Matt Grabman’s excellent relief work.

Grayson Grinsell came to the mound in the bottom of the sixth, and in spite of giving up a single, a triple, and a double, was able to close the inning with Arizona only scoring one run off of those three hits.

After the seventh inning stretch, Oregon’s bats really came to life.

Tanner Smith walked, and Walsh singled to put runners on first and second. Coach Waz then made the decision to bring in pinch hitter Owen Diodati - a decision that paid dividends.

Dominic Hellman immediately followed with a 2 RBI single.

Gavin Grant perfectly placed a bunt down the third base line to put runners on first and second with no outs. Then Rikuu Nishida hit an infield single that scored Hellman. Take a look at the wheels on Nishida to beat out the throw to first and get safely on base:

Colby Shade hit a sacrifice fly that scored Grant before UA closed out the top of the seventh, and Oregon was very much in this game, down only 10-11.

In the bottom of the 7th, Grinsell picked up the first two outs and was relieved by Matt Dallas. Dallas pitched through the bottom of the eighth and only allowed one hit in keeping UA from scoring further.

Oregon could only produce one hit in a scoreless eighth inning, and would have to rely on a ninth inning rally to tie or gain the lead.

Boy oh boy, did the Ducks deliver in the ninth.

Nishida got on base again with a double, and a Shade double scored Nishida to tie the game up at 11-all.

Drew Cowley singled, but reached second on a fielding error with Nishida on third. It was then Sabin Ceballos’ turn to knock a 2 RBI single to left field that gave Oregon the go-ahead runs.

Josh Mollerus pitched for Oregon in the bottom of the ninth, and although he earned the save, it was not without some tense moments after he walked one batter and hit another with a pitch. He collected himself, however, and the Oregon Ducks came away with a most improbable win.

Colby Shade was the scoring leader, going 2-4 with 4 RBIs; however, Rikuu Nishida was the batting star, hitting 5-6 with 3 RBIs. But the entire batting order contributed on a night where Oregon came back being down 0-10, and won 13-11 without hitting a single home run.

Matt Dallas (4-0) collected the win and Josh Mollerus picked up save #3.

Nishida and Shade were all smiles after the game:

Matthew Grabman also talked about his key role in keeping the Wildcats from scoring and giving the Ducks a chance to rally:

Oregon picks up the series win and will attempt the sweep on Sunday. So what are we to expect? An interesting side note is that Arizona has been playing without the presence of their head coach, who has not been in the dugout because of a two-game suspension. Will the participation of Arizona coach Chip Hale translate into the Wildcats denying Oregon the series sweep? We shall find out on Sunday, 4/2/23 at 1:00 pm PT, when Arizona hosts Oregon for the final game of the series. You can watch the game on Arizona Live Stream-3.