PORTLAND, Ore. – Oregon recovered from an early two-run deficit to record a 6-4 victory over Portland on Wednesday afternoon at Joe Etzel Field.
The Ducks (16-14) have now won two games in a row and have evened their season series 1-1 with the Pilots (12-17).
With the game knotted at 4-4 after seven innings, the Ducks capitalized on a Portland error to take a two-run lead in the top of the eighth that stood up.
Right-hander Kellen Moen took the mound with one out in the eighth to record his fifth save of the season, holding the Pilots scoreless on one hit while striking out two.
In the top of the eighth after Brian Frattali misplayed a ball at first, Shawn Peterson reached safely and moved to second on Jack Marder’s sacrifice. Dylan Gavin took over to pinch run and scored the go-ahead run on Paul Eshleman’s single back up the middle.
With Marcus Piazzisi pinch-running for Eshleman at first, the speedy outfielder - making his first return to action after breaking his right hand on March 11 - stole second to get into scoring position for Brett Thomas. The San Diego native then laced a double into left center to put the Ducks ahead 6-4.
Scott McGough (1-4) was credited with the win for Oregon, allowing one run on two hits, while striking out two in one and 1/3 innings on the mound.
Esheleman was 2-for-4 on the day and plated the game-winning run, while Danny Pulfer was 2-for-5 with a run scored. Stefan Sabol was 2-for-3 with a RBI, run scored and double.
On a 2-1 count, Matt Mardesich sent his fourth home run of the season over the wall in left as Portland took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first.
Oregon was held scoreless and trailed 2-0 for five innings until the Ducks finally got to UP starter Matt McCallister in the sixth. McCallister gave up a leadoff single to Pulfer and walked Sabol before he was pulled in favor of right-hander Brent Miller.
With runners on first and second, Aaron Jones singled off Miller to load the bases. Back-to-back sacrifice flies from Peterson and Jack Marder scored Pulfer and Sabol to tie the game 2-2 in the top of the sixth.
McCallister tossed 5 innings, allowing two runs on three hits and one walk while striking out 8.
Oregon took a 4-2 lead in the top of the seventh as the Ducks scored two runs on three hits with Miller on the mound. J.J. Altobelli led off the inning with a single and was sacrificed to second by Thomas before KC Serna’s single up the middle scored the go-ahead run.
Serna was able to move to second on the throw home and moved to third on a ground out before Sabol’s single to left under Mardesich at third allowed Serna to score UO’s fourth run of the game.
Portland answered Oregon with two runs of its own in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game at 4-4. Porter Clayton issued a lead off walk to Garrett Queen before McGough took over on the hill. Frattali singled to right to put runners on the corners with Sam Westendorf pinch running and no outs for McGough. Jeff Melby’s sacrifice bunt toward first scored Westenfdorf before Kris Kauppila plated the tying run in Frattali with a single to center.
In his second career start, Ryon Healy went three innings and allowed two runs on three hits, while striking out three.
Zach Nice (0-1) took the loss for Portland pitching just 1/3 inning allowing one unearned run.
The Ducks return to action on Friday for a three-game series at USC.