By David Krueger Herald Writer
EVERETT — The nationally ranked Oregon Ducks put runs up on the scoreboard early and often Tuesday night, but the upstart Seattle University Redhawks continued to respond.
Fans of both teams came to Everett Memorial Stadium Tuesday night to see a game that saw Oregon take four leads — because of Seattle U comebacks to tie three times. The Ducks finally prevailed, winning 12-7 in a nonleague game.
The Ducks, ranked No. 11 in the latest “Baseball America” poll, struck early in the first, second and third innings. But the Redhawks, members of the Western Athletic Conference, continued to battle back and tie the score in the bottom of each of the first innings, with the score 5-5 going into the fourth.
That’s when the Pacific-12 conference’s Oregon took a three-run lead — its second three-run lead of the game — and remained out in front the rest of the way.
“Give the Redhawks some credit, they were up there to hit and they did,” Oregon head coach George Horton said.
It was the second consecutive year Seattle U played at Everett Memorial and third straight year a game was scheduled. The Redhawks lost to Washington State last season and had a game against Notre Dame moved to Husky Stadium the year before because of snow in Everett.
“This is a great little ballpark,” Horton said. “This is where our players hope to play at (in the minor leagues.”
SU athletic communications director Jason Behenna said the Redhawks have expressed an interest in continuing to play one game per season at Everett Memorial Stadium in the future.
The 510 people in attendance Tuesday night got their money’s worth with a game that featured a combined 19 runs, 25 hits and lasted 3 hours and 36 minutes. The crowd was split pretty evenly between the Oregon and Seattle U fans Tuesday night, with the Redhawks supporters perhaps having a slight edge later in the game with a few Ducks fans abandoning the chilly stadium.
“I think we had more at the start,” said Paul Chambers, an Oregon fan who moved to Seattle a year ago. “But it’s gotten really cold and I’ve seen a few people leave.”
Chambers, along with his friend Stuart Mathews, came from Seattle for the game. Being Oregon fans, they don’t get to see a lot of Ducks baseball games. Having one less than an hour away, compelled them to come to Everett.
“It was a little haul, but I don’t get to see them very often,” Chambers said. “It’s nice to see them again.”
“We’re pretty fired up,” said Mathews, who also lives in Seattle. “We’re hardcore Duck fans. Kind of in enemy territory.”
The game also gave some Seattle U fans that live north of campus a chance to catch a Redhawks game. Roman Miller, a member of the Board of Trustees at Archbishop Murphy as well as the Seattle University Hall of Fame, was at the game sporting a Wildcats jacket with a Seattle U hat.
“It’s great. We probably should play more games up here because this is a nice ballpark,” Miller said. “This would be a good home field.”
A graduate of Seattle U, Miller was an assistant athletic director for the Redhawks for several years. He recruited athletes in all sports to the school, including a young Elgin Baylor.
Miller quickly pointed out that several Archbishop Murphy baseball players have gone on to become Redhawks after their high school careers.
Is he pushing them toward Seattle U?
“If I can,” Miller said with a smile.
There were also some AquaSox fans in the stands, passing the time until the season starts with the annual Everett Cup against the Everett Merchants on June 12.
Nathan Dayley and Scott Wilkening-Joly, who are both host families for the Frogs, were there just to check out some college baseball.
“I love baseball and I don’t get to see college baseball very often other than on TV,” said Wilkening-Joly. “So there’s no better chance than right now.”
The game also gave Dayley a chance to do a beloved activity.
“Root on Seattle U and boo Oregon,” said Dayley, who was wearing a University of Washington sweatshirt and baseball cap.
Everett Seagulls head coach Patrick Duffy was also in attendance to watch some baseball. He came over to the stadium after his team returned from its game against Mountlake Terrace.
After a “tough loss” Duffy saw the lights on at Everett Memorial and decided to come over to the game.
“Saw these guys were out here playing and figured I’d check it out,” Duffy said. “It’s great to see all the kids running around, enjoying the game in their Seattle U or Oregon shirts.”
A few of Duffy’s players were also checking out the game. The others were “hopefully doing their homework.”
Oregon (34-10) freshman Mitchell Tolman did a lot of the damage on offense for Oregon. The designated hitter batted 3-for-4 with seven RBI. First baseman Ryon Healy, last week’s Pac-12 Player of the Week, was 2-for-3 with three RBI and two runs scored before leaving in the fourth inning after a throw from third base bounced up and hit him in the face.
Right fielder Sean Narby led Seattle U going 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored. Ryan Somers (1-for-2) scored three runs for the Redhawks (17-26).
“I thought their attitude was outstanding. I think their club did a better job of playing with excitement for nine innings than we did,” Horton said.