BASE | Dons use big fourth inning to overpower No. 7 Oregon
Posted March 26, 2014 by Alforde Joaquin in
SAN FRANCISCO—The Dons fought through the wet weather and used a six-run fourth and an impressive outing from Sheldon Lee to get off to a good start to one of the toughest weeks this season as they beat No. 11 Oregon 8-4 on Tuesday afternoon.
It was the first time the Dons (12-10, 2-4 WCC) had seen Oregon since the NCAA Regionals in June, where the Dons were eliminated by the Ducks.
“I think any time your season ends in a [NCAA] Regional where these guys beat us 6-1, we felt like, ‘Hey, if we get another chance at them, we’re going to play a little bit better.’ We played a little bit better, inspired today. We made pitches,” San Francisco head coach Nino Giarratano said. “It was a rough day to start with the rain and the midst and our guys stayed with it. It’s a testament to the group. They do it all the time… We were rewarded today with all of our effort.”
The Dons have won four of their last five games and will return to the field on Wednesday to finish off the short two-game set with Oregon (17-6, 5-1 Pac-12) before getting ready for San Diego this weekend.
A leadoff home run from Bradley Zimmer gave the Dons a 1-0 lead going into the second and, after striking out three of the first four Oregon batters, Lee found himself in some trouble in the second. He walked two and, with two outs, Lee got Shaun Chase to pop up to Nico Giarratano but he dropped it and the Ducks scored to tie it at one.
Lee, who had only pitched five innings coming into the game, settled down after the second and went 5+ innings, allowing one unearned run on four hits with five strikeouts.
“I thought he was sharp,” Giarratano said. “He threw strikes. He gave us those first six innings and an opportunity to [win].”
The Dons had been playing even with Oregon through the first three innings and that is when the bats began to wake up.
Derek Atkinson and Zack Turner began the inning with singles, setting it up for Brendan Hendriks who ripped a double down the left field line and gave the Dons a 2-1 lead. After a pitching change by Oregon, Bob Cruikshank hit a two-run double into the right center gap to put USF up three.
Hendriks went 2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI.
“We battled back, we put up a big inning, which had been happening to us for quite some time,” Giarratano said. “I’m really happy that offense got a chance to put together six runs in that inning. It was a culmination of a couple of things. Some really good at bats, some guys that executed the bunts, some big base hits, some two-out base hits. We put some offense together for one inning that was nice for us right there.”
The Ducks scraped together two runs in the seventh on a single by Austin Grebeck and had two runners on with one out. That brought in Ben Graff who struck out the next two batters to end the inning and the Oregon threat.
Graff struck out five batters in his two innings of work.
As a team, the Dons struck out 15 Oregon hitters.
Contact: Zack Farmer
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