April 26, 2013
EUGENE, Ore. - Oregon loaded the bases in the ninth and got a walk-off single from Aaron Payne to deal Stanford a 2-1 loss to open a three-game Pac-12 Conference baseball series.
The two teams traded runs in the third and kept each other scoreless until Payne's knock Friday at PK Park. The deciding score was of the unearned variety, as Steven Packard led off the inning by reaching base on one of three errors by 14th-ranked Stanford (23-13 overall, 9-7 Pac-12).
Packard's grounder to short was heaved into the Oregon dugout, sending the pinch hitter to second. Connor Hofmann laid down a bunt single and J.J. Altobelli was intentionally walked by Mark Appel (7-3). Payne sent Appel's 0-2 offering to center to plate the winning run.
Appel suffered his first league loss despite striking out nine in 8.1 innings. No. 7 Oregon (31-10, 14-5) kept the Cardinal defense working all night with its small ball and managed eight hits off Appel, who has yet to allow an earned run past the fifth inning this season.
The Cardinal mustered one run on nine hits and stranded eight.
Tommy Thorpe gave up each of the nine Cardinal hits in 6.2 innings. Darrell Hunter provided a scoreless 0.2 innings and Garrett Cleavinger (3-0) was perfect in the final 1.2 frames for the win.
Brian Ragira extended his hitting streak to eight games with a first-inning single. Austin Wilson also had a first-inning hit go for naught as the Cardinal left two in scoring position.
Ragira and Drew Jackson shared team-high honors with two hits apiece.
The Cardinal had nothing to show for its first five hits through two complete.
Danny Diekroeger drove in Stanford's only run with a two-out double in the visitor's half of the third. Slater scored after singling to start the inning.
Ryon Healy connected on a two-out RBI single to right and went on to steal second for the first swiped base by an opponent this season with Appel on the mound.
Stanford overcame two errors to leave two Ducks stranded in the fifth.
What Jackson initially thought to be his first career home run in the seventh turned out to be a long double off the wall. Jackson stole third and was one of two Stanford runners left on the corners.
The series continues at 2 p.m. (PT) Saturday and will be televised on Pac-12 Networks.