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Grant walk-off homer gives Ducks win

Mar 4, 2022

EUGENE, Ore. — Gavin Grant hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning on Friday night to give Oregon a 3-2 win in the opener of a four-game series with UC Santa Barbara at PK Park.
 
Grant, who led off the inning, jumped on the first pitch he saw off UCSB reliever Ryan Harvey lining the ball over the left-field wall.
 
"It was pretty special," Grant said. "I have never had a walk-off home run. It's something I will remember forever. It was just a great team win tonight by everyone, whether it was defense, offense, and the pitching was great. They held us in the game the whole time to be able to do that.
 
"I was looking for fastball first pitch," Grant added. "I got it right down the middle, a little in, but yeah I was looking to swing first pitch."
 
How It Happened: Grant's heroics were set up by good pitching from four different pitchers, and timely hitting by the Ducks' offense late in the game.
 
UCSB (5-3) took a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning thanks to a pair of solo home runs from freshman Zander Darby, with the first one coming in the fourth inning and the second in the seventh.
 
The Ducks (6-3) cut the lead in half in their half of the seventh. Colby Shade and pinch hitter Josiah Cromwick led off the inning with back-to-back singles. Shade advanced to third on a fielder's choice bunt by Grant that retired Cromwick at second. Shade scored on another fielder's choice off the bat of Tanner Smith, after the Gauchos couldn't turn the double play.
 
Shade delivered again in the eighth inning. The Ducks center fielder drove in Josh Kasevich with a two-out RBI single to tie the game 2-2.
 
UCSB threatened in the top of the night off Oregon All-American closer Kolby Somers. The Gauchos put runners on the corners with a walk, a fielder's choice sacrifice bunt where the Ducks failed to get an out, and a wild pitch.
 
Somers responded in a big way, striking out the next three batters to set the stage for Grant.
 
"I think that was a big momentum deal," Somers said. "Whenever you have runners in scoring position and you get out of it, it's definitely a big momentum deal that goes into the next inning. I think it probably brought some good energy to the team.
 
Inside the box score: Oregon starter Adam Maier allowed just one run (a solo home run) on two hits in 5.1 innings before leaving for precautionary reasons … Rio Britton tossed a scoreless eighth, his fourth appearance of the season without allowing an earned run … Anthony Hall went 3-for-4, his second multi-hit game of the season and the 17th of his career … Grant finished 2-for-4 with a RBI and run scored, his third multiple-hit game of the season and the 14th in his career … His home run was his second of the season and the fourth of his career … Shade went 2-for-4 with a RBI and run scored, his fifth multi-hit game in 2022 … Freshman Jacob Walsh extended his hitting streak to seven games.
 
Up Next: The Ducks and Gauchos will meet in a doubleheader at PK Park on Saturday. First pitch for the first game is 2:05 p.m. Game one will be a seven-inning contest while game two is scheduled for nine innings.