SPOKANE, Wash. – Once again it came down to an exciting finish, but Jimmie Sherfy earned his 12th save of the season as Travis Forbes fouled out to first base with the bases loaded and the No. 10 Ducks prevailed 8-7 over Gonzaga on Wednesday at the Patterson Complex.
Oregon (32-13) extends its winning streak to five games and heads to Tucson, Ariz., this weekend to play 11th-ranked Arizona with the series beginning on Friday. The Ducks hold a half-game lead in the Pac-12 standings over the Wildcats.
Entering the bottom of the ninth leading 8-6, Oregon trotted Sherfy out to the mound for his second save opportunity in as many nights. Sherfy walked and plunked the first two batters he faced. A fielder’s choice and then a strikeout put runners on the corners with two outs, but UO’s closer walked Marco Gonzales to load the bases before forcing in a run by plunking pinch-hitter Payden Cawley-Lamb. But with the game-tying run 90 feet away, Sherfy retired Forbes.
After Gonzaga (27-16) scored six runs in the first three innings, junior right-hander David Wylie (1-0) shut out the Bulldogs in a career-high four innings on the mound. In his first career win, Wylie allowed just one hit while issuing two walks and striking out two.
Joey Housey and Tommy Thorpe each pitched a shutout inning of relief, while Sherfy allowed one run on two walks and two hit batters in one inning.
The Ducks opened the game in the first with a 3-0 lead as Aaron Payne, Brett Thomas and Kyle Garlick each doubled. Gonzaga starter Karl Myers lasted just one inning, allowing three runs on three hits.
The Bulldogs answered in the bottom of the first as UO starter Henry Gigeous surrendered three consecutive hits, including a RBI single to Royce Bolinger. Clayton Eslick’s RBI groundout and Alex Stanford’s sacrifice fly plated Gonzaga’s last two runs of the first.
In the third appearance and first start of his career, Gigeous allowed four runs on five hits in two innings of work.
Oregon took a 4-3 lead in the second as back-to-back Bulldog errors set up Ryon Healy’s RBI single.
In the top of the third with Gonzaga reliever Derek Callahan on the mound, the Ducks took a 6-3 lead as a Garlick leadoff single and walk issued to Ryan Hambright, set the table for Andrew Mendenhall, who drove a two-run single into center field.
Billy Flamion struggled in relief, facing four batters and walking each of them, as two Gonzaga base runners were forced across the plate to bring the score to 6-5 in the bottom of the third. The Bulldogs scored their sixth run to tie the game in the third as catcher Shaun Chase dropped a third strike, and his throw was wide of first allowing Alex Bonczyk to score.
But Chase recovered from the error, plating Oregon’s go-ahead runs in the fifth with a two-run double to the wall in center field, driving home Garlick and Hambright, who reached on back-to-back singles to lead off the top of the fifth.
Sean-Luke Brija (0-1) was issued the loss allowing two runs on three hits in one inning on the mound.
The Ducks outhit the Bulldogs 10-7, led by a 3-for-5 effort from Garlick, who drove in a run and scored two.
Oregon will remain on the road and travel to 11th-ranked Arizona for a three-game Pac-12 series in Tucson. The Wildcats (29-13, 12-6) trail the first-place Ducks by a half-game in the league standings.