Oregon Baseball is starting the season strong at 7-1. Tuesday night they hosted the Portland Pilots for a one game series. The Ducks used four pitchers and struck out 15, but Portland made things interesting in the bottom of the ninth. Duck Closer, Sophomore Jimmie Sherfy came in with a runner on first and had the game tying run at the plate. He then struck out the side for the Ducks win and his third save on the season. A good early test for the young man on several watch lists for awards this year.
At the plate the Ducks had key hits from Scott Heineman, Outfielder Brett Thomas and First Baseman Ryon Healy. All three drove in runs for Oregon. The Sacrifice fly came into play in two scoring situations in both the third and fifth innings, but the story for the game was pitching.
Four pitchers, starting with one who was sidelined all last season with an elbow injury, Christian Jones. He made his first start since May 2011 and allowed two hits in three innings while striking out five. Jeff Gold, who last week was hit by a comebacker in Hawaii was back in action and followed Jones. He was equally effective striking out 7 in four innings and getting his first win of 2013. Freshman pitcher Garrett Cleavenger entered for an inning plus striking out two before Closer Jimmie Sherfy closed the door. A 3-1, 15 strikeout performance by the Ducks.
The Ducks hit the road this weekend for a series against a team that Coach George Horton knows all too well, he coached them before becoming a Duck. Oregon heads to Cal State Fullerton for a three game series starting on Friday at 7pm.
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Justin Phillips is Sports Reporter for Newsradio 1120 KPNW in Eugene, Oregon.