Oregon falls to Wichita State in 17 innings

The No. 24 ranked Oregon Ducks (13-9) drop their second game in a row to the Wichita State Shockers (17-7) in a marathon 17-inning game, 7-6.

An RBI single in the top of the 17th inning by Shockers shortstop Tyler Grimes proved to be the difference in a game that seemed like it would never end.

The game took a lot of energy out of both teams after they played a doubleheader Friday.

"I mean I a little drained right now. It's a tough pill to swallow after a loss especially but I think we'll be ready to get after it tomorrow and try to even up the series," said third baseman JJ Altobelli.

The Ducks were threatening in the 15th inning with two on and one out, but KC Serna was picked off at second base to essentially end the threat.

The game went deep into extras after Altobelli's dramatic two-out; two run single in the bottom of the ninth inning that tied the ballgame.

"I was just trying to get my pitch and I had two strikes on me," Altobelli said. "I wasn't going to strike out I was just trying to put the ball in play. I found the barrel and found the gap."

"I thought it was our day after that," said coach Andrew Checketts. "It was a good effort and a comeback and looked like a backbreaker for them."

The Ducks had a chance to win it later in the inning with the bases loaded, but junior second baseman Danny Pulfer's shot down the line was robbed by Shockers third baseman Tyler Coughenour, who forced out Altobelli to send the game into extras.

The Ducks continued to struggle with runners on base. The Ducks squandered plenty of opportunities to score, failing to take advantage of the 16 walks given up by Shockers pitching.

"It just sucks," said Altobelli. "I mean, we were down two in the last inning and came back and tied it. Our pitching kept us in it and we just couldn't get a run on the board to win the game."

The Ducks loaded the bases in the fourth, fifth and seventh innings, but only produced one run during that stretch on a double play ball that scored Marder from third.

In total the Ducks left 19 men on base and hit 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position. "We had a lot of chances and a lot of opportunities to win that game and we didn't execute the times we had those chances," said Checketts.

The Shockers, meanwhile, took advantage of a rough day in right field for freshman Aaron Jones, who had two errors and missed a diving grab that allowed another run to score.

In the fifth the Shockers scored three runs on three hits and a couple of walks to grab the lead. Jones booted first baseman Johnny Coy's single, and a subsequent bad throw by Ducks center fielder Andrew Mendenhall allowed two runs to cross the plate.

Shockers third baseman Tyler Coughenour singled home Coy on the next at-bat to extend the Shockers lead to 5-3.

"I think we got a little emotional in the middle of it," said Checketts.

If there's a bright spot for the Ducks it was the pitching of reliever Scott McGough, who threw five innings, striking out six and giving up only one run. He pitched more innings on the day than any of the 11 pitchers used on both sides and looked more confident than in recent outings.

"It was a good bounce back effort for him," said Checketts. "He's had a rough beginning of the season and it was nice to see him go our there and compete and get extended a little bit. I thought he was great."

Catcher Jack Marder had a productive day going 2-for-7 with two runs and his second home run of the season, a two-run shot to left field that gave the Ducks a 3-1 lead in the third inning.

Ducks starter Christian Jones had a rough outing, but got little defensive help. He finished his day after giving up the single to Coy in the fifth, giving up five runs, seven hits, and four walks with four strikeouts.

GAME NOTES – There was a rain delay in the bottom of the sixth that lasted for about 20 minutes before play resumed.

Both managers were tossed during the contest. Horton was ejected in the fifth inning and Gene Stephenson in the 16th. Shockers pitchers TJ McGreevy and Brian Flynn were also ejected with Stephenson.

Today's game was the third extra innings game the Ducks have played in this season and the longest game they've played in since the program was reinstated three years ago.

Attendance was 1392 at PK Park.

The finale is scheduled for 1:00 tomorrow afternoon.

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