Ayon, Grant Lead Ducks to 4-3 Win
EUGENE, Ore. — Gavin Grant drove his third game-winning hit of the season up the middle in the eighth inning and Isaac Ayon struck out ten in a complete game to lead Oregon to a dramatic 4-3 win over No. 25 Arizona on Friday.
Ayon's complete game was his second of the season and first in a nine-inning game. He struck out as many batters as he allowed on base (10) with the Wildcats notching just three walks, six hits and an HBP.
Grant ensured Ayon would have a win to show for his efforts, putting the Ducks ahead 4-3 with a two-out, RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning. The sophomore pitcher then struck out the side in the ninth, finishing the game with five straight punchouts.
"When Gavin Grant came through, it really got me going," Ayon said. "He was the right guy at the right time, and I knew he was going to come through. So right when that happened I got that little bit of extra fire to go out there and finish the game."
How It Happened: Oregon (34-21, 17-12 Pac-12) jumped on Arizona (35-20, 16-13 Pac-12) early. Brennan Milone hustled all the way to third on an error by the right fielder and Drew Cowley made the Wildcats pay with a two-out, RBI single.
Bennett Thompson added on in the second, blasting a two-run home run to left field to put the Ducks up 3-0. The first homer of the freshman's career came against Garrett Irvin, who entered the game with the fourth-best ERA (2.65) in the Pac-12.
After three scoreless innings on the mound, Arizona got to Ayon in the fourth and fifth. The Wildcats cut the deficit to 3-1 with a solo homer in the fourth before tying the game with a two-run double in the fifth.
Irvin and Ayon resumed their pitchers' duel for the next two frames, putting up zeros on both sides of the scoreboard. The Oregon sophomore was more efficient, however, needing just 78 pitches to get through seven innings while Irvin required 104 and the Ducks were able to get into Arizona's bullpen.
With Irvin out of the game, Oregon re-took the lead. Sam Novitske reached base on a two-out throwing error and Jacob Walsh worked a walk to move Novitske's pinch-runner, Tyler Ganus, into scoring position. Grant then laced a 1-0 pitch up the middle to drive in Ganus for the go-ahead run.
Box Score Notes: The Ducks have now homered in seven straight games, the third longest streak in school history behind 11 and 17-game streaks from earlier this season … Cowley had his 19th multi-hit game in 33 games played … Hall had multiple hits for the 18th time this season and the 33rd time in his career … Grant's go ahead single gave him 15 multi-hit games in 2022 and 26 in his career … Oregon's last nine-inning complete game was May 25, 2018 when Kenyon Yovan went the distance against Arizona.
Up Next: The Ducks and Wildcats meet in game three of their series on Saturday. First pitch is 12:05 p.m. at PK Park.