Thorpe Leads Ducks To Opening Win
EUGENE- Oregon (43-11, 20-5) got right on Oregon State (41-9, 20-5) scoring three runs in the first two innings, en route to a 3-0 win, tying the Beavers atop the conference standings with just five Pac-12 games remaining. In their quest for their first Pac-12 championship, not enough can be said for getting an early lead. Oregon opened the game with three consecutive hits off of Oregon State starter Matt Boyd. The third, a Ryon Healy single to left, brought home their first run. "Obviously you want to score first and get ahead. Definitely playing at home you want to make the score feel like more," Healy said. Healy had missed the past three games with a lower back strain and the importance of his return to the line-up was evidenced by his go-ahead hit. "I woke up this morning with I think the most energy I've had since Hawaii [the Ducks' opening series]," he said. "I was really excited to get back out there." Oregon would tack on two more runs in the opening two innings, the second off a Scott Heineman ground-out in the first and the final Duck run on a J.J. Altobelli bloop single to center in the bottom of the second. Starting pitcher Tommy Thorpe kept the Beavers from threatening to rally, with his fastball, curve and slider. Thorpe would pitch into the eighth without giving up a run, and allowing just two hits. "A lot of anticipation at home, just thinking about it, but when I got on the mound, all of the butterflies went away and I was ready to go," Thorpe said. "He didn't even use one of his pitches: his change-up," said Oregon head coach George Horton. "He was really good with both breaking balls. I thought early he kind of overthrew his fast ball… and got away with a few pitches." "He's a competitive little bugger. He might not be a candidate for pitcher of the year, but he's a pretty good Friday night starter." The closes Oregon State came was after Thorpe walked Tyler Smith to lead off the ninth and was relieved by Jimmie Sherfy. Sherfy hit two batters, making things interesting for the sold out crowd, which was as bipartisan as Civil War game could be expected to be. But was able to get the the third out on a Danny Hayes fly-out to Connor Hofmann to pick up save No. 20. "I had my faith in him…he did that a lot last year, he always got out of them somehow. So it was awesome to see him do the same thing," Thorpe said. After 10 batters reached base in the first three innings, only four batters did so from the fourth-to-the eighth. Thorpe retired 13 consecutive batters in that stretch, before issuing the Smith walk. "The innings went so quick, I almost forgot he [Thorpe] was pitching for us that whole time. That was a real special performance for him," Healy said. With the Ducks and Beavers tied for the conference lead, Saturday and Sunday's Civil War games will play a great deal into who wins the conference title. Oregon, who hasn't won one since the program was re-instated in 2009, is focused on a series sweep, not just an opening game win. "It's just one game. We've got a lot of work to do," Horton said. "The last few years, whoever's one on the first day has swept. We're not going to be immature about that. They're going to come back." Oregon and Oregon State play Saturday at 2 p.m., before finishing the series Sunday at noon.