EUGENE - Stanford (23-15, 9-9) was two outs away from avoiding the series sweep, but George Horton-small ball wouldn't allow it. With Aaron Payne on third, Oregon's (33-10, 16-5) Mitchell Tolman laid down a sacrifice squeeze bunt for a 4-3 walk-off.
It was Tolman's third sacrifice bunt of the game, and with how the Ducks choose to play, the decision to do so was far from surprising.
"I think it's probably a high percentage success play," said Horton, gave credit to batting coach Mark Wasikowski for making the call. "But if it backfires then you're kind of going, 'Why'd you do that?'"
Tolman hasn't been one of Oregon's better bunter this season, but the two previous bunts gave the coaches confidence that he could lay one down in the crucial situation.
"Just like if you're a basketball coach and it's the last ten seconds and a guy's had a pretty good shooting night, you draw up a play to get him the ball," Horton said.
Oregon entered the bottom of the ninth trailing 3-2, the Stanford bullpen walked two of the first three batters (Brett Thomas and Payne) bringing slugger Ryon Healy, who hit two homers Saturday, to the plate with two on and only one out.
"We have a don't die attitude. If we're down five going into the ninth we still think we can come back. We all know we're good enough," Tolman said.
Healy blasted a ball down the third base line, plating Thomas and putting Payne, who'd become the winning run, on third.
"I was just trying to get something with elevation and put a good swing on it. I was able to keep it fair fortunately," Healy said.
Oregon got out to a 2-0 lead on a Healy ground out in the first, followed by a Thomas RBI single in the fifth. The Ducks appeared to be rolling towards an easy win, before a mistake by catcher Josh Graham cost the Ducks the lead.
Stanford's Austin Slater hit a routine double-play ball to Aaron Payne who successfully orchestrated the 4-6-3 play, but Graham was called for catcher's interference and both runners were called safe. The next batter Brian Ragira hit a bullet between short and second to score both runners and the game was tied.
Stanford'Justin Ringo would drive the ball just over the left field wall to put Oregon pitcher Jake Reed in position for the loss. All and all, Reed called it his best start at Oregon, pitching eight innings, with just three hits and the home run the only earned run.
"I think definitely, by far, my best start since I've been here. The scoreboard might not show it, but if I get that double play and I have no idea how he got that ball out…that's definitely my best start," he said.
"I didn't want to let him go home with the loss the way he threw tonight," Healy said.
Relief pitcher Garrett Cleavinger picked up a one-pitch win, when it took just one out to get Danny Diekroeger to fly out to end the top of the ninth.
Oregon heads on the road for the next eight games. First to Seattle for a two game series with the Redhawks, then across state to Pullman for a three-game series, followed by a series in Columbus against the Buckeyes.