Oregon baseball rotated through six pitchers in total, but kept the California Golden Bears off the scoreboard from the third inning onward. That was the key tonight, as the Ducks offense was slow to get going, but with the go-ahead runs to take the lead in the eighth inning, left the game to the bullpen to close this one out.
The bullpen definitely rose to the occasion.
Grayson Grinsell picked up the first start of his Ducks career, and although Cal was able to get a run apiece in the first and second innings, Grinsell pitched three innings before turning the mound over to the bullpen. The Oregon defense helped out, and Grinsell did shut down Cal in the third inning before ending his night.
Relief pitching took the hill from the fourth inning on, with Dylan McShane, Austin Anderson, Matt Dallas, and Logan Mercado pitching through the eighth, setting up Josh Mollerus to close the ninth. Between the five relievers, they allowed only 2 hits and two walks, with 7 Ks and no runs. One really can’t complement the pitching staff enough for making this win possible.
Dylan McShane went 1-2-3 in his fourth inning stint.
Austin Anderson had initial control problems in the fifth, but pulled it together to keep the Bears off the board.
Matt Dallas pitched the sixth and part of the seventh inning, and was relieved by Logan Mercado. Mercado completely shut down the Cal bats, starting with this fan in the seventh inning:
Followed by putting the Bears down 1-2-3 in the eighth.
The Ducks scored one run in the second inning and were having a difficult time generating runs after that. Oregon was getting the hits but could not get runners across the plate.
The Ducks turned it around in the bottom of the eighth. A Sabin Ceballos single (Ceballos was replaced by Bryce Boettcher to pinch run) was followed by a Tanner Smith double, to put runners on second and third with no outs. California proceeded to gift Oregon with a run off an error by the shortstop.
With the game tied at 2-all, Jacob Walsh’s sacrifice fly gave Oregon their first lead of the game.
All that remained was for Josh Mollerus to save the game. After giving up a single and a fly out, the Oregon defense came up big with a double play to end the game.
Logan Mercado was our winner, with Josh Mollerus notching his ninth save of the season.
Tanner Smith was the batting leader, going 3-4 and crossing the plate twice. Jacob Walsh had the play of the game, hitting the ball far enough out to easily score the go-ahead run and win the game.
Oregon has tomorrow off, and will next play #1 seed Stanford on Thursday. That game will be at 7:00 pm PT and will be telecast on the Pac-12 Network.