|Kent State Golden Flashes||0||0||2||1||2||0||0||2||0||7||9||1|
|WP: David Starn (11 - 3)
SV: Josh Pierce (2)
LP: Alex Keudell (11 - 5)
I will be honest. I fell asleep in the eighth inning, but not due to a lack of excitement. The entire game was outstanding. It was the first time I had the ability to watch a MAC baseball game this season, and I could tell that Kent State is a legitimate top program. Usually in football or basketbal you look to the smaller, scrappier team and hope they can claw their way to a victory. In this game, I didn't see it. Both teams are kinda scrappy. I guess that's just college baseball in a nutshell.
The game-winning play, yet again, went to Evan Campbell. The man who hit the 3-run "home run" against Kentucky to win the Gary Regional made a saving catch in deep left-center field with the bases loaded, not necessarily laying out but definitely had to stretch for it, and ultimately did land belly-first on the turf.
If that ball drops, Oregon wins this game. But if UO doesn't make a critical error (any of the three), or hits a base knock with runners on earlier in the game, then the outcome still goes to the Ducks.
Another crucial moment in the game was the bottom of the fourth. Starn walked the bases loaded and with two outs, on a 2-2 pitch, Starn's pitch wicked batter Aaron Payne's knee, but the umpire ruled that the batter didn't make an effort to get out of the way of the pitch. (You have to do this.) It was a good call — Payne appeared to stick his knee out a little, and the pitch was perhaps just six inches off the plate.
And maybe baseball linescores should include walks, because those truly tell the story. Kent State walked ELEVEN batters. In fact, winning pitcher David Starn took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, but how impressive is that when he had walked seven batters at that point?
For Oregon, the death knell was errors and men left on base. Only two of KSU's runs were earned and the Ducks twice left the bases loaded and a total of 12 stranded runners. And that's baseball, more than any other sport. One more flair that falls, or one more grounder that's fielded, and that's the difference.
Watch Game 1 over again on ESPN3. Game 2 is tonight at 10 p.m ET.
For more on Ducks baseball, visit Oregon blog Addicted To Quack.