Against Rice, with the Ducks facing elimination, Healy matched a career highs in hits (4) and RBI’s (4), as Oregon defeated Rice 11-0 Sunday evening in the Eugene Regional at PK Park.
“Healy felt good,” said head coach George Horton. “Certainly when you hit a home run it makes your back feel better. He had a huge day. He’s the monster in the middle of the lineup.”
Oregon, 17-1 when scoring in the first inning, got things started when Healy launched a home run to the left-center power ally.
Healy then lead off the bottom of the fourth inning with a solid single to center. After advancing to second on a sacrifice, Healy came around to score when right fielder Scott Heineman singled to right field.
A Ryan Hambright single moved Heineman to third, and the Ducks took a 3-0 lead on a safety squeeze by catcher Shaun Chase.
Center fielder Conner Hoffman also got int the action in the fourth, when he doubled home Hambright making it 4-0 Oregon.
In the fifth inning, Aaron Payne lead off with a single to right field. He came around to score on an RBI triple by Tyler Baumgartner. Healy followed with an RBI double, giving Oregon a commanding 6-0 lead.
Healy’s day would not be over.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, with runners at second and third, Healy again doubled down the left field line to drive in two more.
He finished the day a triple shy of the cycle, after being pitch ran for in the seventh. Healy was 4-4 with a home run, a single, and two doubles.
The Ducks would add three more runs later on, but the outcome had already been decided.
Oregon Starter Jeff Gold hadn’t started a college baseball game since April 30 at Seattle.
Today he was key for Oregon, as Gold picked up the victory after pitching five scoreless innings. He only allowed two hits, while striking out four.
“I didn’t want to loose,” said Gold. “I didn’t want this season to be over for all these guys. I went out and executed coach’s game plan. I’ve been ready for the past couple weeks, just waiting for the opportunity and I got one today. It was a lot of fun.”
Although the Ducks clearly have the momentum on their side, Rice head coach Wayne Graham knows that momentum can also be altered.
“If your’e an athlete your resilient,” said Graham. “One of my junior college teams got beat 14-2 the night before they won the national championship. Their is precedent.”
Oregon and Rice will matchup against tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. PT. The winner will advance to the Super Regionals.