EUGENE, Ore. — Despite some wet conditions at PK Park, the Dons got on the board early behind RBI hits from Derek Atkinson and Brendan Hendriks and a solid performance from Sam Granoff on the mound as the Dons beat No. 5 Oregon 8-2 on Wednesday afternoon.
“The defense was good. Pitching was good. We got key hits,” San Francisco head coach Nino Giarratano said.
“That’s how you beat such a good team.”
San Francisco has now won four of their last five games and begin West Coast Conference play against Gonzaga on Friday.
“We needed it,” Giarratano said. “We needed to play well. Hopefully we take that confidence into conference play. We’re going to have to play well and hopefully that is what we’re going to do.”
The Dons started to put something together a two-out rally in the second on a single from Ross Puskarich and a chopper in the infield by Michael Eaton but Ryan Matranga grounded into the fielder’s choice at third to end the frame.
San Francisco put the pressure back on Oregon on the third. Connor Hofmann led off the inning with a single up the middle and, after moving to second on a hit-and-run, Atkinson sent one into right for a base hit and the throw home was just a bit late to score the run and give USF a 1-0 lead.
Atkinson went 2-for-4 on the afternoon.
Sam Granoff, who made his first career start on the mound, continued his early season success and rolled through the first three innings as he retired the Ducks in order with three strikeouts. The one scare was a fly ball from Nick Catalano that reached the warning track in left but was caught by Brendan Hendriks.
He did not allow a base runner until there were two outs in the fifth and lasted 6.1 innings and allowed two runs on three hits with six strikeouts.
“He gave us a great start,” Giarratano said of Granoff. “Sam threw strikes, changed speeds, threw the breaking ball when he needed to. He just got a little tired in the seventh.”
The Dons added on in the fifth and got two on with two outs for Dominic Miroglio and he promptly sent a hit into rightfield to bring home Hofmann for the 2-0 lead. Atkinson scored on the next pitch that skipped to the backstop to make it a three-run advantage.
Two batters later, Matt Sinatro came through with the two-out RBI single and the Dons went up 4-0.
San Francisco broke it open in the sixth with runners at first and second and two down when Atkinson singled to right to bring home Eaton. On the next pitch, Hendriks doubled to right center to plate two more and give the Dons a commanding 7-0 lead.
“We had some guys step up when we needed it,” Giarratano said. “We had production throughout the lineup. That was good.”
Oregon mounted a rally in the seventh and with a man on and one out, Oregon got a two-run home run to pull within five. Following a walk, Granoff was chased from the game and it brought in Logan West and he got out of the inning with a 6-4-3 double play.
West went 2.2 innings to close out the game