No. 16 Oregon at No. 6 Stanford
• Date: Friday-Sunday, April 13-15
• Venue: Sunken Diamond (Stanford, Calif.)
• TV: None
• Radio: KUJZ 95.3 FM in Eugene/Springfield; Jerry Allen
Oregon returns to the road to play a ranked opponent for the third consecutive weekend. The Ducks travel to sixth-ranked Stanford, to play the Cardinal in a three-game series at Sunken Diamond that begins at 5:30 p.m. on Friday.
After beginning the season unranked, the Ducks (22-9, 8-4) are currently ranked in five national polls, and rest at No. 16 in the Baseball America rankings. The Ducks are also tied with UCLA (22-8, 8-4) for second in the Pac-12 standings.
Stanford (21-7, 4-5) currently ranks sixth in the Baseball America Top 25 poll, and the Cardinal enters the weekend sixth in the league standings after taking two-of-three at Washington last weekend.
The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes will host Oregon and the Portland Pilots in game at Volcanoes Stadium on Wednesday, April 18, with first pitch scheduled at 6:30pm. Tickets may be purchased in-person at Volcanoes Stadium, by phone 503-390-2225, or online at www.volcanoestickets.com.
LAST WEEK RECAP
The Ducks won their sixth series of the season, and their third against a ranked opponent (two on the road) by taking the first two games of its series at fifth-ranked UCLA. The Ducks have won back-to-back series against top-25 opponents after sweeping then 14th-ranked Arizona State at PK Park (March 30-April 1).
Senior right-hander Alex Keudell earned his fourth win of the season (third consecutive) after shutting out UCLA for seven innings in last Thursday’s 6-2 win.
The Ducks are 7-3 in their last 10 games which includes two losses at Texas State, a series sweep against Arizona State, a series win at UCLA and two home wins over San Francisco.
Ducks Sweep Pac-12 Weekly Honors
Oregon swept the Pac-12 Conference awards as sophomore outfielder Brett Thomas was named Pac-12 Player of the Week, and senior right-hander Alex Keudell was named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week for April 2-8, Commissioner Larry Scott announced Monday.
Keudell (4-3) tossed seven shutout innings in Oregon’s series opening 6-2 upset over then fifth-ranked UCLA on Thursday night. Keudell scattered eight hits while striking out two and walking just one batter. He held the Bruins without an extra-base hit en route to the 16th win of his career.
Thomas batted .636 (7-for-11) in the UCLA series with two doubles, three runs scored, two RBIs and two stolen bases as the Ducks took two-of-three from then fifth-ranked UCLA in Los Angeles. Thomas was also perfect in the outfield, and recorded an outfield assist.
Sixth-ranked Stanford leads the all-time series with Oregon 16-8 (since 1961), but Oregon has taken two-of-three from the Cardinal in back-to-back seasons (2010-2011). Since the Oregon baseball program was reinstated (2009), the Ducks hold a 5-4 advantage in the series.
Stanford is currently batting .300 as a team, and the club boasts a league-leading .442 slugging percentage.
On Friday, Alex Keudell will make his third career start against Stanford. In six career games against the Cardinal, J.J. Altobelli has batted .350.
Last season in the bottom of the seventh, with the rubber game tied at 5-5, Stanford intentionally walked Danny Pulfer to get to Brett Thomas. With runners on the corners and two outs against him, Thomas drove in the game-winning run with a single up the middle as UO clinched the series with a 6-5 victory on May 15 at PK Park.
Oregon’s 2012 schedule is ranked the ninth strongest in the country according boydsworldcom, while the NCAA rates Oregon;’s RPI at 21.
Currently four of Oregon’s 2012 opponents are ranked in the Baseball America College Top 25 poll. In addition, 13 opponents on Oregon’s schedule reached the postseason a year ago.
Preseason All-Conference Team
UT So. Ryon Healy .320, 4HR
Top 50 Draft Prospects
28. Jr. LHP Christian Jones
(missing 2012 season with injury)
40. So. 1B/RHP Ryon Healy
47. So. RHP Jimmie Sherfy
50. So. C/OF Aaron Jones
Top 100 College Seniors
46. Sr. RHP Alex Keudell
98. RS-Jr. RHP Joey Housey
Top 50 Freshmen
23. Fr. RHP Jake Reed
26. Fr. OF Billy Flamion
The Ducks’ starting rotation took a hit in the preseason as Oregon went from returning two starters from last year’s rotation to only one - senior Alex Keudell.
Junior left-hander Christian Jones (7-2, 3.24) will miss the 2012 season with an injury.
FRESHMAN CLASS RANKING
Once again a highly-touted recruiting class joined the Oregon baseball program as the 2011 class received a No. 9 ranking from Baseball America’s annual recruiting evaluations.
For the second year in a row, head coach George Horton brought in a top-10 class, and for the fourth consecutive year, Oregon has recruited a top-25 class.
A NEW LOOK
Oregon enters the 2012 season with 14 newcomers on the roster. From the 2011 squad, the Ducks lost three position starters with shortstop KC Serna, second baseman Danny Pulfer and catcher Jack Marder all departing after being selected in the 2011 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
On the mound, Oregon has taken its biggest hit. The Ducks lost 322 and 1/3 innings of pitching, 15 wins and all 17 saves as Tyler Anderson, Madison Boer, Scott McGough and Kellen Moen were lost to the 2011 MLB Draft. Freshman Porter Clayton (0-1, 1 SV) is also missing from the 2012 roster after choosing to depart on a two-year mission.
• With Oregon’s 8-3 win last Friday night at UCLA, the Ducks won five consecutive conference games for the first time since May 4-9, 1976.
• Oregon is now 8-2 against ranked opponents in 2012.
• Oregon ‘s sweep of ASU was the first in the series history between the two clubs, and UO’s 1-0 victory on March 31 was the first Oregon shut out of the Sun Devils.
• In Oregon’s 3-1 victory over ASU on March 31, Kyle Garlick became the first UO player since reinstatement (2009) to hit two home runs in one game. Aaron Jones became the second player with two home runs at UCLA last Thursday.
• Oregon 4-3 loss to Utah on March 25 was Oregon’s first defeat when leading after eight innings (11-1) in 2012.
• On March 17, Oregon won its 100th game since the program was reinstated, defeating Washington, 3-2, in 13 innings at Husky Ballpark.
• Oregon’s 8-3 loss at Washington on March 16 snapped Oregon’s seven-game road winning streak - its longest since prior to 1963 (the first season game-by-game results are available).
• Oregon’s 10-game winning streak (Feb. 18-March 4) was its longest since 1969, and Oregon’s 10-1 start was the best for the program since 1965.
• From Feb. 19-23, UO recorded three consecutive wins with double-digit runs for the first time since April 22-24, 1974 in wins over Portland State (10-6), Linfield (16-15) and Washington State (12-1).
• After finishing 2011 with a record of 5-12 in one-run games, the Ducks are currently 8-4 in one-run games and 3-0 in games that are decided in extra innings.
• Oregon trailed Long Beach State 5-0 on March 4, but the Ducks staged a comeback to win 8-7 on Aaron Jones’ walk-off in the bottom of the eighth. It was the Ducks’ first comeback from a five-run deficit since a 17-7 victory over East Tennessee State at PK Park on May 16, 2010.
• On March 10 in Oregon’s 12-0 win over West Virginia, Aaron Jones hit the first Oregon grand slam at PK Park since J.J. Altobelli vs. USC (April 25, 2010).
• Two Oregon pitchers have tossed nine-inning complete-game shutouts in 2012: Brando Tessar’s four-hit, nine-inning complete-game shutout helped UO to a 4-0 win over Connecticut on March 11. Alex Keudell pitched a four-hit shutout as No. 23 Oregon upset No. 14 Arizona State 1-0 on March 31.
The only returner from Oregon’s 2011 starting rotation is senior Alex Keudell.
Keudell was drafted in the 38th round by the Minnesota Twins in the 2011 MLB Draft, but chose to return to Eugene for his senior campaign.
Keudell takes the mound on Friday having tossed 22 consecutive shutout innings while posting a record of 3-0 in his last three starts.
Keudell (4-3) pitched the first complete-game shutout of his career as Oregon upset No. 14 Arizona State, 1-0, on March 31 at PK Park. The Ducks shut out ASU for the first time in series history as Keudell allowed just four hits and issued two walks, while helping his cause by picking off two runners. In four seasons with the Ducks, Keudell posts a 16-18 record with a 3.45 ERA. His 16 wins tie for fifth in all-time program history.
NUMBERS ON THE MOUND
Oregon’s 2.93 ERA currently ranks second in the Pac-12 and 30th in the country. The Duck pitching staff is holding opponents to a .231 clip (2nd Pac-12), while UO’s pitchers have picked off 12 runners to lead the league. Oregon’s 214 strikeouts rank fourth, but UO has struck out 76 batters looking for tops in the conference.
Oregon’s staff allows just 7.44 hits per nine innings to rank 10th in the country.
Freshman right-hander Jake Reed ‘s 2.47 ERA ranks seventh in the Pac-12. Reed has recorded seven quality starts as Oregon’s Saturday starter, and sports a 3-2 record with 31 strikeouts. The La Mesa, Calif., native is also holding opposing batters to a .219 clip (9th Pac-12).
The Ducks are 6-2 when Reed takes the mound.
Reed was selected in the 40th round (1,221 overall) of the 2011 MLB Draft by the Chicago White Sox.
Oregon’s trio of sophomore pitchers - Jeff Gold, Brando Tessar and Jimmie Sherfy - each play significant roles in Oregon’s rotation.
Closer Jimmie Sherfy (3-1,7 SV) is averaging 13.23 strikeouts per nine innings to rank second in the country, while his 2.53 ERA rates eighth in the Pac-12. In 13 appearances this season, Sherfy has pitched Oregon to wins against Hawai’i, Long Beach State and Washington in extra innings, while also recording saves in the series opener and finale at then 17th-ranked Vanderbilt, both wins against Utah and the final two games against Arizona State.
Sherfy has struck out 46 (T-9th Pac-12) in 32 innings, and his .193 opponent batting average leads the Pac-12.
Brando Tessar is an undefeated 4-0 in 2012, and currently sports a 3.28 ERA with 37 strikeouts in 49 and 1/3 innings on the mound.
Jeff Gold is 3-2 on the season with a 3.54 ERA, and is UO’s midweek starter. In his last start, Gold shut out San Francisco in five innings of work, helping the Ducks to a 4-1 victory over the Dons at PK Park on Tuesday afternoon. Gold held the Dons without a hit through five innings, and retired 15 consecutive batters.
Oregon’s offense is led by the middle of its lineup - No. 3 hitter Aaron Jones, clean-up batter Ryon Healy and in the six spot, Kyle Garlick.
Jones (.316) leads the team with 28 RBIs, five home runs, 37 hits, and eight multiple-RBI games.
Healy (.289) has driven in 22 runs in 2012, while Kyle Garlick leads the club in batting average (.357), slugging percentage (.583) and on-base percentage (.440).
THE NEW DUO
Junior J.J. Altobelli made the move from third base to shortstop this season, and his infield mate is sophomore Aaron Payne.
The Duck defense has turned 30 double plays (3rd Pac-12), and posts a .977 fielding percentage which ranks third in the Pac-12.
Freshman Scott Heineman has taken over at the hot corner, while Ryon Healy sits at first base.
2011 SEASON RECAP
Oregon finished the 2011 season with a 33-26-1 record and an eighth place finish in the Pac-10 with a mark of 11-16. The Ducks clinched three conference series victories with wins over two Super Regional participants; Stanford and Oregon State as well as regional participant, Arizona.