As far as home openers go, it doesn’t get much more exciting if you’re Oregon (2-2).
After giving up the lead in the top of the ninth inning, the Ducks rallied in the bottom half of the frame when freshman Tanner Smith drove in Jakob Goldfarb with a sacrifice fly, giving Oregon the 3-2 victory over visiting St. Mary’s (4-1).
The bottom of the ninth provided little drama after Goldfarb led off with an infield hit before advancing to third on a hit by Aaron Zavala. After an intentional walk loaded the bases, St. Mary’s got tricky and brought in an outfielder to the infield. It proved to be no problem for Smith as launched a ball deep towards the right field fence to easily score Goldfarb and set off the celebration.
Goldfarb continued his solid start to the season, accounting for half of Oregon’s hits against St. Mary’s, finishing 3-for-4 for two RBI’s. Smith, Zavala and Jonny DeLuca all went 1-for-3 for the Ducks, giving starting pitcher Cole Stringer just enough offense for the win.
The game was a pitcher’s duel through four innings as Stringer and his counterpart Ken Waldichuk kept both offense of balance and scoreless.
The Gaels broke through in the top of the fifth when Kevin Milam doubled to left field, scoring leadoff batter Joe Vranesh for the early lead.
It was short-lived as Goldfarb got the Ducks on the board in the bottom of the sixth. His bases-loaded single through the left side of the infield scored DeLuca and leadoff batter Sam Novitske, who reached base on a walk before DeLuca was hit by a pitch.
St. Mary’s equalized in the top of the ninth, taking advantage of three Oregon walks to load the bases before a fielder’s choice tied the game, setting the stage for Smith’s heroics.
Stringer got the no decision, throwing 6.0 innings and giving up one run on three hits with six strikeouts. Brett Walker relieved Stringer and threw 2.0 scoreless innings, giving up no hits while striking out one.
Nico Tellache got the win in the end, throwing 2/3 of an inning.
Oregon will face St. Mary’s in a doubleheader on Saturday, beginning at 1 p.m. with the second game to follow 45 minutes afterwards. Both teams will meet again on Sunday to compete the four-game series.