Big Defensive Plays Key Oregon Win
LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Oregon threw out two runners at the plate in the bottom of the eighth inning to preserve a hard-fought 2-1 win over UCLA in game one of a three game series at Jackie Robinson Field on Friday night.
Mitchell Tolman caught Brian Carroll trying to score from third on a Pat Gallagher bunt for the second out of the inning, and then Austin Grebeck gunned Luke Persico trying to score from second on a base hit by Aaron Weimer to end the inning. Shaun Chase made tough tags on both plays, including a leaping grab on the ball from Grebeck.
Oregon starter Tommy Thorpe and UCLA starter James Kaprielian dueled for most of the game with neither giving the opposing offense much of a chance. Oregon (38-16, 15-10) finally broke through with single runs in the sixth and seventh to take a 2-0 lead.
Tolman dislodged the ball from Shane Ziele with a hard slide on an A.J. Balta safety squeeze attempt in the seventh. Tolman broke for home after Gallagher, the first baseman, threw to first to retire Balta. Persico’s throw beat Tolman to the plate but Ziele couldn’t hold on when Tolman slid into home.
UCLA (23-27-1, 10-15 Pac-12) answered with a run in the bottom of the seventh when Garrett Cleavinger hit Ziele with the bases loaded. Thorpe got the first two batters in the seventh before walking Aaron Weimer, which ended Thorpe’s night.
Cleavinger replaced Thorpe and walked the first two hitters he faced before hitting Ziele to cut the lead to 2-1. Freshman Trent Paddon replaced Cleavinger and struck out Ty Moore with the bases loaded to keep the Ducks in front.
Thorpe (9-4) picked up the win allowing just one run on four hits in 6.2 innings while striking out seven and walking four. Karpelielian (6-6) took the loss. Jake Reed picked up his 12th save.
Tolman led Oregon’s offense going 3-for-4 with a run scored. Baumgartner finished 1-for-4 with a RBI.
Oregon and UCLA will play game two of their series Saturday night with a 7:05 p.m. first pitch. The game will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks.