In the series finale between Oregon baseball and Hawaii, the Ducks orchestrated a ninth-inning comeback, with both the game-tying and go-ahead hits coming from freshmen.
After trailing for almost the entire game, Oregon came to play in the ninth, winning its third straight over Hawaii, this time by a score of 8-7.
Gabe Matthews singled to lead-off the inning and his pinch runner, Marco Young, advanced to third on a Jakob Goldfarb double. Freshman designated hitter Aaron Zavala promptly tied the game with a double of his own.
After Evan Williams took Zavala’s spot on second to increase the speed, Cameron Campbell bunted him to third.
This put the pressure on freshman outfielder Tanner Smith to elevate a ball to the outfield in order to take the lead. Smith, who had a walk-off sacrifice fly against St. Mary’s on Feb. 22, came through again, singling to right field to score Williams.
Oregon reliever Robert Ahlstrom, just three days after pitching five shutout innings, earned his third win of the season while providing head coach George Horton with a perfect two innings.
Although the victory is what mattered most, the game presented some highs and lows for Oregon.
Freshman reliever Tyler Frazier made his collegiate debut and pitched a scoreless seventh inning, but that was after Oregon starter Cole Stringer and reliever Brett Walker had poor performances.
Stringer, who entered the game with a 0.73 ERA in two starts, did not have his best stuff. Two walks and a hit by pitch led to two runs in the first inning. Ultimately, the left-hander had five earned runs in 4.1 innings on way to receiving his second no-decision.
Brett Walker continued his tough March. In 4.1 innings this month, Walker has allowed seven runs. In February, the right-hander allowed one run over six innings.
Oregon’s four runs in the fifth inning gave the Ducks their first lead. RBI fielder’s choices from freshmen Vinny Tosti and Sam Novitske plated the first two runs. Matthews’ two-run double pushed across the tying and go-ahead runs.
The Ducks return to Oregon for a one-game Civil War with Oregon State on Tuesday, March 12 in Corvallis.
Follow Maverick Pallack on Twitter @mavpallack