UCSB Edges No. 7 Oregon 1-0 in 14-Inning Thriller

Noah Davis (Photo by Rudy Huezo)
Noah Davis (Photo by Rudy Huezo)

EUGENE, Ore. – Freshman right-hander Noah Davis and sophomore lefty Kyle Nelson combined to allow just four hits over 14 shutout innings and freshman outfielder Michael McAdoo brought in the only run of the game with an RBI single into right field as No. 19 UC Santa Barbara outlasted No. 7 Oregon in a 14-inning nailbiter on Saturday afternoon at PK Park. 

Offense was hard to come by for both teams on a cloudy and intermittently wet day – each team had just one hit after nine innings – but McAdoo broke the scoreless deadlock after UCSB (9-2) continuously threatened in extra innings against the Ducks (7-2). 

Sophomore second baseman JJ Muno kicked off that decisive rally when he he was hit in the back of a leg by a Cooper Stiles fastball, the eighth time a Gaucho batter reached via hit by pitch in the contest. After a sac bunt moved Muno into scoring position with one out, Stiles had a pitch get by catcher Tim Susnara to put the go-ahead run 90 feet away from scoring. 

With a 2-2 count, McAdoo went down and golfed a pitch low in the zone and shot it into shallow right field, easily scoring Muno. 

That turned out to be enough for Nelson, who sent down the side in order in the bottom half of the inning. He ended the game by getting Phil Craig-St. Louis to chase a slider in the dirt for strike three. 

Both Nelson, who moved to 2-0 on the year, and Davis turned in the most clutch performances of their UCSB careers on Saturday. 

Nelson pitched a career-high six innings in the win, allowing just three hits and preserving the scoreless tie despite being in a pressure situation for the duration of his appearance. He has now gone 43 1/3 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run, extending his own UCSB record. 

Making just the third start of his collegiate career, Davis was near spotless. Over eight strong innings, he allowed just one hit, an infield single in the third inning. He otherwise kept the potent Ducks bats at bay for the entirety of his outing, never even allowing a runner to reach scoring position. 

The Huntington Beach, Calif. native really got in a rhythm after allowing that third inning base hit, retiring 16 of the final 17 batters he faced. 

However, the Ducks received just as strong a performance from starting pitcher Matt Krook, who struck out 12 over six no-hit innings before being lifted to start the seventh inning. 

Once Krook was out of the game though, UCSB definitely appeared to be the more dangerous team after threatening to break through on several occassions. 

With a runner on second and two outs in the top of the seventh, Ryan Clark scorched a one-hopper into the 5-6 hole that would have likely produced a run, but Oregon third baseman Matt Kroon made a highlight reel snag of the grounder to retire Clark.

Reigning Big West Field Player of the Week Austin Bush laced a would-be RBI single to center field in the 10th inning, but Muno was gunned down trying to score from second on a perfect throw by Ducks center fielder Austin Grebeck. 

The Gauchos were also able to get runners into scoring position with less than two outs in both the 12th and 13th innings,  but Oregon was able to wiggle out of the jam both times. 

The Ducks' best chance to win the game came in the 13th when they loaded the bases on two singles and a hit by pitch, but Nelson ended the threat by inducing a lazy fly ball from Grebeck for the third out. 

This was just the second time in the Checketts era (since 2012) that UCSB played a 14-inning game and the first since Apr. 14, 2012 against Long Beach State. 

UCSB and Oregon will play the rubber match of their three game series tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. Sophomore right-hander Joe Record (2-0, 2.03 ERA) will toe the rubber for the Gauchos opposite Ducks' southpaw David Peterson (1-0, 0.69 ERA).