June 11, 2012
Around the Super Regionals
Super Regional Results & Capsules
Super Regional Notes
Ducks Run Out of Magic as
Flashes Advance to CWS
By Taylor Gelbrich
Ore. – Oregon’s magical season ended
in a walk-off loss to Kent State in the deciding third game of
the Eugene Super Regional.
In what will go down as the best Super Regional
of them all this weekend, the Golden Flashes (46-18) was able to
punch their first ticket to Omaha in school history. The Ducks
(46-19) were able to conjure up a little late-inning magic once
again to tie it up in the eighth, but it was the Golden Flashes
who pulled out the magic in the end.
"It's really hard to find the words what this
means for Kent State and the Mid-American Conference to go to
the College World Series," said Kent State head coach Scott
Stricklin. "We've been to Regionals, we've had opportunities,
and we’ve just never been able to get out of a Regional. So for
us to get to a Super Regional was a huge step for us, but to
come on the road and play such a good team in Oregon in front of
a great crowd and to find a way to win, it goes to show how
tough our kids are."
Kent State followed its starter, Tyler Skulina,
to a victory as he gave up no runs on two hits in 5.2 innings.
He did not pick up the win, but he set the tone in this game
early on for the Golden Flashes.
Oregon's path was a little different. Ducks’
starter Jeff Gold lasted only 1.2 innings and was followed by
four other pitchers. No Oregon pitcher went longer than 2.2
innings and the Ducks limited KSU to just two hits after Gold
left the game.
"It makes it tough as a hitter when they bring in
different pitchers and you may see two different pitchers in two
different at-bats," said KSU second baseman Derek Toadvine. "So
you can't really get locked in on one and both of the guys they
brought out of the pen have two different styles of pitching, so
as a hitter you kind of have to pick a pitch that you want to
For the third straight game in this Super
Regional, the Golden Flashes struck first. In the bottom of the
first, Jimmy Rider got things going with a base hit and David
Lyon followed with a base hit of his own. George Roberts moved
the runners over to second and third with his groundout to Gold.
Then the Golden Flashes pushed through on a T.J
Sutton base hit through the left side, scoring Rider from third.
Gold was able to strand runners on the corners after striking
out Nick Hamilton to end the inning.
Kent State would continue to apply the pressure
in the second. Sawyer Polen led off with a hit and the Golden
Flashes would add two more base hits to load the bases for Evan
Campbell. Gold was able to get Campbell to roll into the 4-6-3
double play, but Kent State put another run on the board in the
had some chances to extend the lead early on we had the 2-0
lead," Stricklin (left) said. "Bases loaded, 1-0 and Evan
Campbell is up, and we bounce into a double play. So we scored a
run, but we gave them some momentum and again it felt like last
night all over again. It was the same score, 2-0. You knew they
were going to come back. They are such a good team and they have
such good approaches."
Rider followed with a walk and that would spell
the end to Gold's day as the Ducks would bring in Brando Tessar
for relief. Tessar hadn't pitched since hurting his arm on April
15 at Stanford. Tessar was able to get Lyon to ground out to
first to end the inning. Kent State took a 2-0 lead through two.
The Ducks would come back just like they had all
season. In the eighth, J.J. Altobelli lined a ball to center
field to lead off the inning and Aaron Payne followed with a
walk. Oregon played Duck baseball and Aaron Jones sacrificed the
runners over and the Ducks had two in scoring position with just
one out and the heart of the line-up coming to the plate.
Ryon Healy provided Duck fans with the biggest
hit in program history as he stayed over the ball and lined it
through the right side that brought in both runners. Just like
that the game was tied at 2.
The drama wasn't over.
was the bottom of the ninth and on the mound was sophomore
closer Jimmie Sherfy (left), who had tallied 19 saves and more
than 90 strikeouts in a little over 60 innings. The Ducks looked
to be in good shape.
Sherfy walked Toadvine to start the inning and
Campbell sacrificed him to second with Rider coming to the
plate. Sherfy worked to a full count and delivered a slider on
the outer half that Rider was just able to get a piece of as it
went sailing high into short left field.
It looked to be a routine fly ball, but Brett
Thomas lost the ball in the sun with his head moving back and
forth trying to find it and his arms in the air. Altobelli went
into full pursuit from short and went diving for the ball, but
was unable to come up with it. The ball kicked off Altobelli's
leg into the left field foul wall and by the time the Ducks were
able to get to the ball, Toadvine was just about to slide into
home for the walk-off victory.
"I thought ahh, that's a sure out, a little
looper, wish I could have put more barrel on that and got it
down the line," Rider said. "As I was running, I saw it and
that's good placement, can it get down? Then I saw it land and
it was a pretty good feeling."
Thomas (left) was asked what he was thinking when he saw Kent
State cross the plate he said, "Unreal…I know we worked so hard
for this, but that team, Kent State, they deserve it. They are a
quality ball club and I am going to root for them in the College
World Series, that's for sure."
Every game in this Super Regional was decided by
one run and every game included a late-inning comeback by both
teams and sometimes even two comebacks in one game.
Kent State moves onto the College World Series
where it will take on Arkansas in its first game in Omaha on
Saturday, June 16, at 4 p.m. CT.
(photos courtesy of Kent State & Oregon Media Relations Offices)