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Oregon eliminates San Francisco; Takes on Rice

OregonBaseballFeaturedIn the elimination game, at the Eugene Regional, the Oregon baseball team benefited from an unlikely source of offense, the long-ball.

Catcher Shaun Chase and left fielder Tyler Baumgartner each hit solo shots to lead Oregon to a 6-1 victory over the San Francisco Dons at PK Park Sunday afternoon.

Chase launched his third homer of the season to left field in the top of the fourth. The shot gave Oregon a 2-1 lead.

In the top of the fifth inning, Baumgartner spun and blasted his second homer of the year off the equipment storage facility that shades the home team’s bullpen.

“It was about time for Baumgartner. I am happy for him,” joked Ducks starting pitcher Cole Irvin. “For Shaun, he caught really well today. He kept a lot of balls in front. It transitioned into his hitting. He had a great at bat and I was excited for him, especially being my catcher.”

Entering the fourth inning, before Chase delivered with the home run, the Oregon hitters were a combined 5 for 63 in the three games during the regional. They had zero home runs and were searching for ways to generate runs.

In a move that screamed offensive struggles, the Ducks took a chance by having a runner at first get caught in a rundown between first and second in the top of the third.

With the score tied 1-1, thanks to a sacrifice fly by designated hitter Mitchell Tolman, Ryan Hambright began to veer off first base.

Don’s starting pitcher Alex Balog stepped off the rubber and threw the ball to the second baseman. As the pickle progressed, Healy began creeping down the third base and broke for home.

San Francisco first baseman Zachary Turner caught the ball from second, spun, and threw a bullet to home just in time to nail Healy at the plate.

Both Healy and head coach George Horton engaged in a spirited protest, but tempers cooled as play headed towards the fourth inning.

Oregon starter Cole Irvin was solid in his performance. The freshman pitched his fourth career complete-game. He allowed six hits and did not walk a batter, while striking out nine.

“For the most part I was just trying to have a relaxed intensity,” said Irvin. “In a situation like this, that’s the best thing to happen for me. I was just able to be myself.”

Irvin acknowledged that there was a possibility of coming out, but the freshman knew how important it was for him to go as far he could.

“Coach came up to me in the eighth and as well as the ninth and said ‘are you strong?” said Irvin. “I said ‘yea of course. I wanted to do it for the club. We needed me to finish the game.”

Oregon added to their 3-1 lead in the top of the seventh inning when Baumgartner roped an RBI double to right field. Another run came across that inning on an RBI fielders choice by Tolman.

The lead would expand to 6-1 in the ninth inning on a RBI double to right field by Hambright.

Baumgartner was the offensive standout for Oregon. He went 3-5 on the day with two RBI.

The Ducks take on Rice at 4:00 p.m. PT

The San Francisco Dons season is over. They finish the year 35-24.

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