June 10, 2012

Around the Super Regionals

Super Regional Scores & Capsules

Super Regional Notes


Ducks Summon a Little Magic to Force a Monday Finale

By Taylor Gelbrich



EUGENE, Ore. – Oregon was behind the eight ball for much of the ballgame against Kent State in Game 2 of the Eugene Super Regional, but was able to conjure up some late-inning magic for an intense finish.


Oregon used a magical seventh-inning rally to get back in the game and eventually take the lead. The Ducks (46-18) took that lead and went on to win 3-2 to end the 21-game winning streak for the Golden Flashes (45-18).


"I thought it was a great baseball game,” said Kent State head coach Scott Stricklin (left). “I thought both teams played very hard. Both starting pitchers were outstanding. Their bullpen came in and got it done in the end. One big inning killed us.”


That big inning came against KSU starter Ryan Bores, who for most of the game was flat-out dealing. He gave up his first hit in the fourth and through six innings had only allowed two hits.


Bores (9-3) didn't get the win because of one inning, but he ended his night giving up three runs on six hits with four strikeouts in 6.1 innings.


"He was working both sides of the plate really well,” said Oregon first baseman Ryon Healy. “He'd go two-seam hard in and then go slider away. He's definitely a veteran and a hard-nose junior he knew how to pitch. I was happy we were able to grind through those first six innings and once the seventh came around, string some hits together and capitalize off some mistakes and put up three on the scoreboard.”


Bores counterpart was Oregon freshman Jake Reed (8-4) who for the second weekend in a row had to pitch in the biggest game in his life. Reed's night was a little different than Bores as he gave up his first run in the second.


Reed got better as the night went along and pitched himself out of some big innings. He finished his night giving up two runs on five hits with six strikeouts in 6.2 innings to pick up the win.


Both teams looked seemingly more calm and collected with it being the second game of the Super Regional. With that said, the Golden Flashes locked in early and took advantage.


George Roberts became the headliner of the game early on after he blasted a solo home run in the bottom of the second and sent a RBI double to deep center that one-hopped the wall in the fourth.


Kent State took the early 2-0 lead and T.J. Sutton followed up Roberts with a base hit of his own. Kent State threatened again with runners on the corners and nobody out, but Reed threw back-to-back strikeouts and battled his way out of the inning without any further damage.


The Ducks mustered up some of their magic in the seventh after looking flat all game. After an Aaron Payne flyout, Healy got things going with a line drive base hit up the middle. Brett Thomas did a nice job of going with the outside pitch as he lined it into left field for a base hit and was able to reach second on an error by Alex Miklos in left.


Third base coach Jay Uhlman was wheeling Healy around the whole time and it didn't look good as Jimmy Rider received the ball at short just as Healy was rounding third. Rider just turned around thinking Healy was staying at third, but by the time he noticed Healy never stopped, it was too late. The Ducks finally pushed across a run.


Kyle Garlick walked and Ryan Hambright continued his coming-out party as he smoked a ball through the right side and just like that the Ducks tied the game at 2.


"At that point the crowd got into it and helped us out,” said Oregon catcher Brett Hambright. “The coaches rallied us a little bit. “We just knew at that time we weren't going to go down without a fight and it just happened to be that inning."


That was the end of the night for Bores as the Golden Flashes brought in Michael Clark for relief. On his first pitch, B.Hambright laid down a suicide squeeze right to Clark. But Clark turned to throw to first as if he forgot about the runner at third, and he threw it wide.


"We felt like they were going to safety squeeze right there and I think he felt it was a good bunt and I am going to get an out right there," Stricklin said. "If he turns and throws, I think it would have had to be a perfect throw to get that out. When you play Oregon you have to get outs, you got to stay out of the big inning."


Everybody was safe and the Ducks took a 3-2 lead. That's where the rally ended and the ballgame had just begun.


Kent State looked like it had tied the game in the bottom of the eighth from the bat of Rider as he launched a ball deep into left. Thomas retreated to the warning track and caught the ball as he went into the left field wall. He was running so hard that he left a dent in the wall. If Rider hit that ball two hours earlier, it would have been gone. But as it gets later in the night, the ball doesn't travel as well at PK Park.


The Golden Flashes led off the bottom of the ninth with a double from T.J Sutton. Tommy Thorpe was able to get Nick Hamilton to strike out after his failed bunt attempt and that brought Oregon closer Jimmie Sherfy (left) into the ballgame.


With a runner on second, Sherfy got the next two batters to strike out to preserve the win and pick up his 19th save.


Kent State and Oregon will square off in the rubber match on Monday at 4 p.m. PT. The winner punches its ticket to Omaha for the College World Series.


(photos courtesy of Kent State & Oregon Media Relations Offices)