EUGENE. ~ PK Park hosted the college baseball super regional for two games. Game 3 will decide the series. Oral Roberts won 8-7 on Saturday to field its Super Regional after Oregon’s triumph on Friday. Sunday at 3 p.m., the Ducks (41-21) and Golden Eagles will play for a spot in the World University Series. “As some of our coaches said (post-game), if we could go back to September 10 or 11 – our first day (of training in the fall) – and if you had a game to play so that everything go to Omaha, would you take it? Tanner Smith said. “I think it hit the team square in the eye, and I think we’re going to come out together as a group tomorrow and play our hearts out.”
Saturday’s heartbreak ended the Ducks’ nine-game winning streak. After a two-run triple from Drew Smith gave visiting Oregon a 7-4 lead in the seventh inning, Oral Roberts scored in each of the remaining three innings. Oregon missed its first college World Series since 1954 by a day. “I’m really proud of the team I coach and I can’t wait to adapt to them tomorrow,” the coach said the OU, Mark Wasikowski. “They are also hungry for it. They will do whatever they can to bring this club to Omaha.
How it happened: Jacob Walsh’s second-inning solo homer ignited Oregon’s offense on Saturday. For the second game in a row, Oral Roberts led 3-1 after charging with no one late in the second against UO starter Turner Spoljaric and scoring all three runners. Wasikowski rallied the Ducks before the fourth. He reminded them that playing every game for the past two weeks as a knockout bout had brought them within an Omaha win. “I told the team that I felt we needed to go back to the white t-shirt, blue collar mentality that had gotten us this far,” Wasikowski recalled. “And they responded.”
They did – after Friday night hero Drew Cowley was walked on to start the fourth, Sabin Ceballos worked the full count and hit a home drive down left center to level the game. In the fifth, Cowley’s RBI single scored Rikuu Nishida, and Ceballos’ double scored Cowley to restore the Ducks’ lead. Oregon took a 7-4 lead in the eighth after Austin Anderson’s two scoreless innings. Ceballos walked, Tanner Smith doubled to put two runners in scoring position, and Drew Smith drove a fly ball to right center with two outs. ORU outfielder Jonah Cox gloved it up but dropped it after hitting the wall.
Matt Dallas saved the lead in the seventh inning. Cox’s solo shot in the eighth inning extended his hitting streak to 46 games and made it 7-5. Oregon entered Saturday 9-2 in one-point games, 5-0 in the nine-game winning streak. Ceballos’ homer 17th tied Kenyon Yovan’s 2021 UO single-season record. Nishida scored 67 runs and Cowley had 70 RBI, setting UO single-season records. Cowley’s 84 hits behind Tanner Smith’s 2022 UO record 85. Saturday’s crowd of 4,476 sold out again.