Sometimes in baseball, one run is all you need. Such was the case for the Oregon Ducks on Friday night as Tommy Thorpe delivered a gem performance to lead Oregon to a 1-0 victory over the Utah Utes.
Thorpe pitched 8 innings, giving up just three hits with five strikeouts and no walks, and did not allow a runner to reach base until the top of the fifth inning.
Despite not registering an RBI on the night, the Ducks walked out with the win thanks to a wild pitch in the bottom of the eighth inning, allowing Oregon to score the game’s lone run. Tyler Baumgartner led Oregon with two of his team’s four hits.
Thorpe took to the hill on Friday night and wasted no time getting to work. Thorpe set down the first 14 batters he faced before Wyler Smith laid down a bunt single to end Thorpe’s perfect start.
Unfortunately for Thorpe, Oregon’s bats weren’t much help during that stretch with just one double from Tyler Baumgartner in the bottom of the first. After the double, Utah starter Mitch Watrous set down the next 12 batters in order before J.B. Bryant reached base on a single in the bottom of the fifth. Watrous would pitch all eight innings, giving up one run on four hits, striking out nine and walking one.
Thorpe got right back to work after giving up his first hit and settled into a rhythm. Utah would lead off the top of the seventh with a single to center field followed by a sacrifice bunt from T.J. Davis to advance Davis to second. The Utes would strand Davis however as Thorpe responded with a strikeout and a fly out to center field to get out of the inning without allowing Davis to score.
The Ducks responded in the home half of the seventh in identical fashion with a single up the middle from Baumgartner followed by a sacrifice bunt from Mitchell Tolman to move Baumgartner up. Just like the Utes, Oregon would strand their runner in scoring position as the game remained scoreless heading into the eighth inning.
After a combined 42 outs that saw just five runners from both sides reach base, the Ducks finally broke through in the bottom of the eighth. After Shaun Chase led things off with a single to left field, Oregon manager George Horton sent in Nick Catalano to pinch run. Catalano would steal second to give the Ducks another runner in scoring position with just one out. A wild pitch would allow Catalano to score from second to give Oregon a 1-0 lead.
Jake Reed would come on in relief of Thorpe in the ninth, setting down the Utes in order with three straight groundouts to notch the save.
Oregon is back at it tomorrow afternoon with a 2:00 pm start time. Freshman Matt Krook (1-1, 2.32) gets the start for Oregon while Zach Adams (0-0, 1.69) gets the nod for Utah.