Ninth-inning rally rescues Ducks, sets up match with Cal State Fullerton
EUGENE - With two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Oregon Ducks beat Austin Peay 6-5 Friday night to open the NCAA playoffs and continue their 2012 trend of winning close calls.
The Ducks - 17-5 in one-run games - will play Cal State Fullerton at 6 p.m. Saturday, also at PK Park, in their attempt to reach the regional final.
Oregon, the top seed in the four-team Eugene regional, almost fell into the losers' bracket. But UO got the winning run on Austin Peay's third error, with Aaron Payne scoring after Governors third baseman Greg Bachman failed to handle a grounder by Kyle Garlick.
Oregon (43-17) tied the score when J.J. Altobelli scored from third on Brett Thomas' grounder to pitcher Tyler Rogers, who missed on his throw to home.
The Ducks had been 0-16 when trailing after eight innings.
Austin Peay (38-23) forged a 4-4 tie with a run in the seventh and took the lead in the eighth.
Oregon finished with a 13-9 edge in hits, and closer Jimmie Sherfy (5-2) got the win after blanking the Governors on one hit over 1 1/3 innings.
Saturday's game with Cal State Fullerton will put Oregon coach George Horton with his former school. Horton guided the Titans to eight Big West Conference titles, six College World Series and the 2004 national championship as their head coach from 1997-2007.
Fullerton advanced with a 9-5 win Friday over Indiana State.