June 2, 2013
EUGENE, Ore. -- USF's season came to an end Sunday afternoon following a 6-1 loss to the Oregon Ducks, eliminating the Dons from the Eugene Regional.
After USF took a 1-0 lead on Justin Maffei's leadoff home run, Oregon scored single runs in the third, fourth, fifth innings to take a 3-1 lead. The Ducks added two unearned runs in the seventh and one more in the ninth for the final 6-1 count.
Oregon's Cole Irvin (12-3) scattered six hits and struck out nine in notching his fourth complete game of the season. After allowing the leadoff home run to Maffei, the freshman retired 15 of the next 17 Don batters, including nine straight, and allowed just one runner to reach second base.
USF starter Alex Balog (3-4) allowed just three hits and struck out four in 6.1 innings of work, but was victimized by three errors which led to three unearned runs. He also allowed solo home runs to Shaun Chase to leadoff the fourth and Tyler Baumgartner to start the fifth, putting the Dons in a 3-1 hole.
Balog's own error in the Ducks half of the seventh led to two unearned runs that gave Oregon a 5-1 cushion. A double by Scott Heineman that scored Mitchell Tolman in the ninth inning accounted for the Ducks last run of the game.
Irvin's mastery kept the Dons bats in check for a third consecutive game in the regional, as USF managed just seven runs in 33 innings in their three games in Eugene.
"This was a real good regional with four solid teams," said USF head coach Nino Giarratano after the game. "Obviously we are disappointed the season has come to an end but I'm really proud of our kids and their effort.
"I wish we would have played up to our capabilities defensively. I thought we pitched well enough to win today but we just didn't get it done defensively."
Maffei and Bob Cruikshank accounted for four of the Dons six hits allowed by Irvin, with Jason Mahood and Brendan Hendriks picking up the other two.
The Dons, who made their second trip to the NCAA Regionals in three years, finish the season with a 35-24 record.