Jacob Walsh had another monster hit for Oregon, and the relievers did just enough to hang on and not lose the game, as the Ducks upended the Commodores in Nashville, 8-7.
Turner Spoljaric started tonight, and did what he needed to do - give the Ducks six innings of starting work, and all the offense needed to do was get the bats swinging.
Oregon’s offense did exactly that.
The Ducks scored three in the first inning. Rikuu Nishida crossed the plate on a Colby Shade single where Vanderbilt had a costly throwing error that put Shade on third while scoring Nishida.
A Sabin Ceballos ground out scored Shade, and Tanner Smith homered to put Oregon up 3-0.
Vandy took advantage of Spoljaric’s control problems in the first, getting a run back to close to 3-1.
Spoljaric loaded the bases but managed to pitch out of the jam, ending the bottom of the first with the bases loaded.
In the second inning Bennett Thompson fought off 10 pitches before sending off a home run that put Oregon up 4-1.
The Commodores also have bats, and displayed them in the bottom of the inning. Two sacrifice outs were followed by a Vandy homer to tie it up.
Both pitchers settled in the third and fourth inning, keeping the tie into the fifth, when Oregon’s bats let loose. With runners at the corners, Sabin Ceballos singled to right field and scored Nishida.
Drew Smith walked, loading the bases, which set up Jacob Walsh with the game-changing double that cleared the bases.
The Ducks were up 8-4, and it would turn out they would need every run.
Turner Spoljaric pitched six complete innings, keeping Vandy off the board after the second inning.
Good thing, too, because when Vanderbilt brought in Grayson Moore in the sixth inning. the Ducks could get no hits. Moore deserves a special mention; he totally shut Oregon down for three innings.
In the seventh inning, Ducks reliever Austin Anderson had zero control whatsoever, and after walking in a bases-loaded run, Matt Dallas came in to pitch, but the damage was kept to a minimum with this fantastic bare-handed grab by Sabin Ceballos to end the inning.
Oregon was now up 8-5.
Both side were scoreless in the eighth, and in the bottom of the ninth it was up to Josh Mollerus to preserve the save. Vandy almost pulled off the rally with a huge two-run homer over the big wall:
The game was 8-7, but two fly-outs sent Oregon to Sunday’s regional final.
Here are your final numbers:
This was a stunning upset of the #6 team in the nation, and a win that Oregon very much needed to keep their postseason bid alive. The Ducks are now in the driver’s seat going into the regional championship round, and have won eight games in a row.
Tomorrow, Oregon plays the winner of tomorrow’s elimination matchup between Vanderbilt and Xavier. That game will be at 6:00 pm PT.
Here is the game’s extended highlights: