A loose ball at the plate was recovered in time to tag out Matthew Dyer with what would have been the tying run and put the winning run 90 feet away.
Catcher Tim Susnara set the stage for the Ducks, going 2 for 3 with a pair of walks to reach base four times.
Matt Mercer (5-4) was tagged with the loss allowing five hits and a pair of runs in 5.1 innings of work. The Sun Devils touched reliever Warren Brac for a hit and two more runs in the 7th.
Oregon plated a run in the home half and another in the eighth then loaded the bases in the ninth to get within striking distance. Unfortunately for the Ducks, ASU catcher Zach Cerbo recovered the loose ball before Dyer could reach the plate.
The series opener had a different type of late inning drama. Friday night ace David Peterson (9-2) fanned a school record 20 batters in Oregon’s 2-0 win. Surrendering four hits and one walk, the junior left-hander ended the Ducks five game losing streak with the complete game win. Peterson was in command from start to finish, striking out the side in the first then despite yielding a lead-off double in the ninth striking out the next three batters to close out the Sun Devils.
A bunt single plated Oregon’s first run and a throwing error allowed the second, both coming in the fourth inning and that was more than enough a cushion for Peterson on his record setting night.
Sunday’s rubber match turned Oregon’s way thanks to pitchers Cole Stringer and Kenyon Yovan. Stringer (4-1) picked up the win, limiting the Sun Devils to three hits and one earned run in 5.2 innings of work.
With Oregon leading 3-1 Cooper Stiles came in to relieve Stringer but promptly yielded a long home run to center field and head coach George Horton called on Yovan to get the three inning save. And that he did, holding the Sun Devils to a pair of hits and no runs to pick up his 13th save of the season.
Jake Bennett’s two-RBI double was the big hit for the Ducks in the fourth after Oregon tied the game at 1-1 in the third on a double by Matthews.
A mid week 4-1 non-conference loss on Tuesday to the #1-ranked Oregon State Beavers in Corvallis leaves the Ducks with an overall record of 25-15 and sitting in sixth place in the Pac-12 standings at 8-10.
Oregon returns to conference play with a three game series at Washington State before returning to PK Park to host to host the Beavers for the annual Civil War set Thursday, May 11 at 6:00 pm. Friday’s game two and Saturday’s finale are both set to begin at 7:00 pm. All three games will be televised by the Pac-12 Networks.
~ Rick Morgan