EUGENE, Ore. — The Eugene Regional in the NCAA Championship tournament will go seven games, after LSU won a do-or-die game against No. 13 Oregon on Sunday in PK Park, 4-1.
The Ducks (39-15) would have clinched the regional with a win Sunday, having gone unbeaten to that point while the Tigers had dropped a game. But LSU got six quality innings from reliever Javen Coleman and two big hits each from leadoff man Dylan Crews and cleanup hitter Gavin Dugas to force a deciding game Monday night.
Oregon didn’t lack for baserunners, putting at least one man on in all but two innings. But the Ducks hit 1-for-15 with runners on base, and 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
“(Coleman) was a three-pitch mix up to 94 miles per hour, with a breaking ball and a changeup for a strike any time he wanted to,” UO coach Mark Wasikowski said. “It was a Friday night performance out of the young man. You really do tip your cap to him.”
The two teams will play again Monday at 7 p.m. for the right to face Tennessee in the Super Regional round.
“We’re not just out for a participation trophy,” Wasikowski said. “We’re in it to win this thing.”
How It Happened: LSU scored first when Crews led off the game with a bloop to right field that Aaron Zavala dove to catch, but had pop out of his glove as he hit the ground. An infield single and a fielder’s choice brought Crews in with the first run.
Zavala doubled with two out in the first and Josh Kasevich led off the second with a double, but each was stranded. The Ducks did tie the game in the third when Gavin Grant led off with a single, took third on a base hit by Tanner Smith and scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Kenyon Yovan.
Dugas led off the fourth with a homer, and he scored again in the sixth on a one-out triple that turned into a run when Smith bobbled the ball in the outfield trying to collect it after it hit the wall. Crews made it 4-1 with a homer to lead off the eighth.
Oregon’s offense was quiet through the middle innings. Kasevich walked to lead off the seventh and pinch-hitter Bryce Boettcher walked to open the eighth, but neither came around to score.
In the ninth, Kasevich reached on a one-out error and pinch-hitter Tristan Hanoian drew a two-out walk. Sam Olsson worked a full count with two out and the game on the line, driving a foul ball just outside the first-base line that might have scored both runners before ultimately striking out.
“I don’t know that there is a lesson tonight, other than the fact they won a college baseball game that was really, really good,” Wasikowski said. “… That was an exciting ballgame, with people going nuts watching two good teams compete and get after it.”
At The Plate: Kasevich went 1-for-3 with a double and made it into scoring position three different times, but was stranded each time. Oregon’s 2-3-4 hitters combined to go 1-for-11 with six strikeouts.
Olsson was a replacement for starting catcher Jack Scanlon, who was hit on the hand by a pitch in the fifth and stayed in to catch one more inning before being replaced. Wasikowski said Scanlon would be assessed after the game to determine his status.
On The Mound: Brett Walker provided a quality start for the Ducks, allowinh four runs — three earned — on nine hits and one walk in 7.2 innings, with five strikeouts.
“I thought the ball was coming out of his hand as well as it did all year long,” Wasikowski said. “… There were a couple pitches that got away from Brett, and they hit ’em.”
Walker was pulled after a two-out double in the eighth, and Hunter Breault came on to strand that runner before pitching a 1-2-3 ninth.
Up Next: The Ducks and Tigers play for the right to advance to Super Regionals on Monday at 7 p.m.