Oregon (47-15) survived elimination in the NCAA Division-I baseball playoffs with a 6-1 victory over the Dons (35-24) in Game 5 of the Eugene regional, setting up a showdown with No. 20 ranked Rice Sunday evening.
Oregon had nine hits in all, led by left fielder Tyler Baumgartner who went 3-for-5 at the plate with two RBI and three runs scored. Designated hitter Mitchell Tolman added two RBI of his own, going 1-for-3 on the day.
Oregon left-hander Cole Irvin continued to build on his stellar freshman campaign, tossing a complete game six-hitter, giving up a run while striking out nine batters with no walks.
After giving up a solo home run to Dons center fielder Justin Maffei on only his second pitch of the game, Irvin (12-3) settled in and retired nine straight Dons. From there he cruised as the offense picked him up.
Oregon tied the game on Tolman's sacrifice fly in the third inning that scored Baumgartner. Despite two errors in the inning, they were unable to capitalize further as first baseman Ryon Healy was called out at home plate on a controversial call during a double steal attempt.
However, the play quickly became an afterthought when catcher Shaun Chase gave the Ducks the lead with his third home run of the year off of Dons right-hander Alex Balog (3-4) to lead off the fourth inning. Baumgartner followed suit in the fifth inning with a solo home run of his own to extend the lead to 3-1.
Baumgartner added an RBI double in the seventh inning that scored J.J. Altobelli, and he later scored on a fielder's choice. Ryan Hambright's two-out RBI double in the ninth inning capped off the Ducks scoring.
The Ducks will play No. 20 ranked Rice, who beat them 1-0 on Saturday night, in the second game of the day at 4 p.m. The Ducks must win that game to force a winner-take-all showdown on Monday evening.
GAME NOTES -
Attendance at PK Park was 1,288.