Ducks outlast San Diego 5-4 in 11 innings to advance in NCAA tourney

The Oregon Ducks baseball team put the saying “survive and advance” to its limit Friday afternoon.

They watched a 4-1 eighth inning lead evaporate with one swing of the bat, then hold on with runners on the corners with one out in the 11th inning to eventually hold on and defeat San Diego 5-4 in the Santa Barbara regional.

With the win, the 3-seeded Ducks will play the winner of the UCSB-Fresno State game to be played later on Friday.

This wasn’t what coach Mark Wasikowski would have drawn up in order to advance to the winner’s bracket, but a win is a win and the Ducks will happily take it.

Lost in the late-game hoopla was the effort of starting pitcher RJ Gordon, who pitched his best game of the season. He went 7+ innings, allowing three runs on six hits, struck out three and walked four. He led his defense behind him make the plays and left throwing 115 pitched.

But Gordon ran out of gas in the eighth as he allowed the first two Toreros on before the Ducks went to the bullpen. Unfortunately, it wasn’t Brock Moore’s day as he gave up a game-tying three-run homer to San Diego’s best hitter Jakob Christian.

It was back to the bullpen where the Ducks went to Logan Mercado and that was ultimately the right call. The senior closer went the rest of the way, not allowing the Toreros to score in the next four innings to earn the win.

Oregon would eventually pull ahead in the 11th on a Bryce Boettcher blast down the left field line to give the Ducks the 5-4 lead and win.

The Ducks never trailed in the game as Carter Garate got the scoring off to a start with his fourth homer of the season, a 423-foot bomb to right-center field in the fifth.

After San Diego tied the game in the bottom half of the inning, Oregon managed to score on a Maddox Molony fielder’s choice and a safety squeeze pulled off perfectly by Garate. The Ducks made it 4-1 on Garate’s third hit, a double that went to the wall that scored Drew Smith all the way from first base.

Oregon will next play Saturday night at 7 pm PST on one of the ESPN networks.

Story originally appeared on Ducks Wire