May 21, 2016
Photo: Deborah Mundorff
EUGENE, Ore. – Oregon earned a crucial Pac-12 series win with a 4-2 victory over Arizona in game two of the three-game series in front of 1,982 on Saturday at PK Park.
How It Happened: With the game tied 2-2 in the seventh, Tim Susnara delivered a two-out, two-run double to deep right-center field to give the Ducks a two-run advantage. The two-out rally started with back-to-back base hits by Jake Bennett and Nick Catalano, and came half an inning after Austin Grebeck kept the game tied with a laser of a throw to nail an Arizona runner at the plate on a single to center field to end the inning.
Arizona (32-20, 15-14 Pac-12) mounted a threat in the eighth, getting the tying runs in scoring position with one out. Right-hander Brac Warren got the second out of the inning on a popout in foul territory, and closer Stephen Nogosek ended the inning by striking out Bobby Dalbec. Nogosek earned his second save in as many days with a scoreless ninth inning, securing the win and the series for the Ducks.
Oregon (28-22, 14-12 Pac-12) took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on an RBI squeeze bunt by Travis Moniot, scoring Catalano after he started the inning with a double off the top of the left-field wall and moved to third on a single by Susnara. Bennett extended the Oregon lead in the fifth, ripping an RBI single through the left side to score Kyle Kasser, who reached on a throwing error to begin the inning.
Arizona was held without a base runner by UO starter David Peterson (4-4) through five innings, but broke through in the sixth for two runs on three hits to tie the game, 2-2. The Wildcats started the inning with back-to-back singles, and cut the Oregon lead to one with a sacrifice fly to left. Zach Gibbons picked up the equalizer with an RBI single to center.
Peterson Goes Seven Strong: The Ducks’ sophomore left-hander retired the first 15 men he faced, getting 10 of those outs on the ground and two via strikeout. After getting through the rocky sixth inning, Peterson escaped a two-on, one-out jam in the seventh – aided by Grebeck’s inning-ending throw to the plate – to limit the Wildcats to just two runs on five hits over seven innings. Peterson finished with four strikeouts and walked just one while earning the win and registering his fifth quality start of the season.
No Worries With NoGo: Nogosek was automatic once again, earning a multi-inning save for the second day in a row. The junior right-hander has been nearly untouchable this season, recording 15 saves in a team-high 27 appearances with a microscopic ERA of 0.93. Oregon’s closer has surrendered just four earned runs all season while holding oppponents to a .173 batting average, and has struck out 44 while walking only 12. Nogosek is on the midseason watch list for both the Golden Spikes Award and the Stopper of the Year Award, given to the nation’s top player and best closer, respectively.
What It Means: The Ducks, who entered Saturday two and a half games behind first-place Utah in a hectic Pac-12 race, earned a crucial series win over an Arizona team that entered the day with a strong RPI of 24. The win is the fourth straight for Oregon, and its fifth in its last six games. The Ducks have now won four straight home Pac-12 series, and their last two conference series after taking two of three at Oregon State last weekend.
Notable: Grebeck, Oregon’s all-time leader in outfield assists, registered the 11th of his career in the seventh and his fifth this season, good for second on the single-season list … Susnara finished 3-for-4 with the big two-run double in the seventh, marking his team-leading 13th multiple-hit game and his eighth multiple-RBI game … Bennett and Catalano each finished with two hits and a run scored.
On Deck: Oregon will go for the series sweep of Arizona at noon on Sunday at PK Park on Pac-12 Networks. The Ducks will send freshman right-hander Matt Mercer (2-0, 4.55) to the mound.