March 11, 2012

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CBI Live
Tessar tosses shutout for Oregon

By Taylor Gelbrich

(photo by Taylor Gelbrich)


EUGENE, Ore. – The Huskies got caged by Brando Tessar.


The sophomore starter for Oregon allowed only four hits in his complete game shutout over Connecticut. Tessar (3-0) fanned five and allowed three of the four hits in the first inning after settling down for the remaining eight.


It was a tough loss for UConn starter Anthony Marzi (0-3) as he gave up two earned runs on nine hits over nine innings while striking out four.


The weather proved to be a little trouble some for both Tessar and Marzi as it rained hard on and off all day. Command was not as on point as both pitchers would have liked, but both battled through it. Tessar came out on top and attributes it to having extensive experience practicing in that kind of weather.


“We practice in this weather all the time,” Tessar said.. “It is nice to be a Duck when your practicing in this weather it doesn’t bother you too much.”


It was another tightly contested game for the Ducks (12-3), whose two losses in the tournament were both by one run. UO’s two wins were both shutouts. Tessar used his fastball effectively and had his change-up working really well on top of his curveball.


“That was spectacular by Brando,” Oregon head coach George Horton said. “I thought he pitched extremely well against a team that has plenty good offense. We didn’t have to go to our bullpen and it was nice to get another complete game shutout.”


The difference in Oregon’s win on Sunday as opposed to Saturday night’s loss was the key situational hitting that was absent the night before.


“We have kind of hit a funk,” Horton said. “Like I said last night we had the right guys up in the right situations…we’ll take that every single time. Like Kobe or LeBron, those kinds of guys, they don’t make every single shot when they get to the fourth quarter, but you want them to have the ball in the fourth quarter and that’s kind of how we feel with Healy in the middle of our line-up.”


Oregon took the lead early in the top of the first. After an Aaron Payne hit by pitch and Ryon Healy base hit, the Ducks set the table for Kyle Garlick after a successful double steal. With some good base running, the Ducks took the lead 1-0 after a 6-3 groundout from Garlick.


Connecticut (6-8) looked like it was poised to tie it up in its half of the inning. After a leadoff strikeout, the Huskies responded with three straight base hits to load the bases. Tom Verdi couldn’t get it done as he popped out in foul territory just in front of the Oregon dugout. With two outs and the bases loaded, LJ Mazzilli looked like he had tied it up after a wide throw to first couldn’t get him, but the base umpire called runner’s interference to end the Huskies’ threat.


The Ducks extended their lead in the third. J.J Altobeli lead off the inning with a base hit and Payne followed with another hit by pitch. With runners on first and second, Marzi tried to pick off Altobeli at second only to throw it away into center field. Ducks pushed the lead to 2-0 after a Healy groundout to shortstop.


Payne showed up for the Nike College Showcase. The sophomore second baseman for the Ducks went 3 for 10 with a number of walks and hit by pitches, but it was his defense that proved key. Throughout the tournament Payne made countless plays with the glove with most of them coming as diving stops.


“My defense was unbelievable today,” Tessar said. “It is easy to pitch when you’ve got a defense like that behind you.”


Payne in the seventh made every single out with one of them coming as he laid out going up the middle. He came up with the ball, popped up and threw to first as he was falling away to nab the runner at first.


Oregon extended its lead in the ninth. Danny Pardini pinch-hit for Brett Thomas and took full advantage of the opportunity. Pardini sat on a 1-2 curveball and launched it over the left field wall at PK Park for the solo shot.


Vernell Warren tacked on his second base hit of the game and was brought in on an Altobeli base hit down the right field line. The 4-0 lead was all the Ducks needed as Tessar finished out his gem for the victory.