USC at No. 9 Oregon
• Date: Saturday, 2 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m.; Monday, 6 p.m.
• Venue: PK Park
• TV: Comcast SportsNet Northwest (Sunday only)
• Radio: KUJZ 95.3 FM in Eugene/Springfield
No. 9 Oregon (35-14, 16-8) returns to PK Park in the middle of a seven-game homestand to host USC (22-21, 7-13) this weekend. The series begins at 2 p.m., Saturday, followed by a 2 p.m. first pitch on Sunday which will be televised on Comcast SportsNet Northwest. The series finale will start at 6 p.m., Monday.
After beginning the season unranked, the Ducks are currently ranked in five national polls, and rest at No. 9 in the Baseball America Top-25 poll.
Oregon is currently first in the Pac-12 Conference standings with a one and a 1/2-game lead over second-place Arizona. Arizona State trails the Ducks by two games followed by fourth-place UCLA.
On Sunday, celebrate Mother’s Day at PK Park and wear pink for Ladies Day! Fans that wear pink can purchase reserved seats for $9!
Monday night is a Bi-Mart 2-for-1 night. Show your Bi-Mart card and receive two tickets for the price of one.
LAST WEEK RECAP
Oregon maintained its hold on first place in the Pac-12 standings by taking two-of-three on the road at Arizona last weekend in a clash between the first and second place teams. The Ducks spent all of last week on the road, finishing the week with a 4-1 record, wining back-to-back games at Gonzaga before traveling to Tucson. Last week, Kyle Garlick (.381) and Aaron Payne (.353) led the Ducks at the plate driving in a combined 10 runs while also combining for five extra-base hits. Jimmie Sherfy, Jordan Spencer, David Wylie and Alex Keudell each picked up wins on the mound. Keudell gave the Ducks momentum with a heroic performance in UO’s 6-1 win on Friday night at Arizona, holding the conference’s top hitting team to just one run in his third complete game of the year. In Sunday’s 3-1 come from behind victory, Aaron Jones drove in the go-ahead run, as he leads the team with 33 RBIs.
USC leads the all-time series with the Ducks, 22-5. The Ducks dropped the series, 2-1, to the Trojans in Los Angeles in 2011. Oregon last won a series against the Trojans in 2010 at PK Park, winning the rubber game, 8-4, on April 25, 2010 courtesy of a J.J. Altobelli grand slam.
USC (22-21, 7-13) travels to Eugene on a four-game losing streak after dropping a single game to Cal State Fullerton before getting swept by Washington last weekend. The Trojans have recorded Pac-12 series wins over California and Oregon State this season.
USC’s 3.27 ERA ranks third in the Pac-12.
PAYNE NAMED PAC-12 PLAYER OF THE WEEK
For the second consecutive week, sophomore Aaron Payne has been named Pac-12 Player of the Week.
Payne led Oregon driving in six runs as the Ducks finished last week 4-1, including a series win over Arizona. Payne batted .353 (6-for-17) last week, and five of his six RBIs were in two-out situations. Payne also delivered the game-winning RBI twice last week. In addition, the San Clemente, Calif., native scored two runs, stole two bases and was walked three times to lead the Ducks with a .476 on-base percentage.
This is Payne’s second career Pac-12 Player of the Week honor and the seventh all-time selection for Oregon. Payne is the first Pac-12 player to earn back-to-back Player of the Week honors since Arizona State’s Ike Davis and Washington’s Kyle Conley each did so in 2008.
Oregon currently ranks sixth in the NCAA RPI ratings. In addition, Oregon’s 2012 schedule is ranked the fifth strongest in the country according boydsworld.com, while boydsworld.com rates Oregon’s RPI at 5.
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
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 entered 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 took 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.
• After finishing 2011 with a record of 5-12 in one-run games, the Ducks are currently 13-4 in one-run games and 4-0 in games that are decided in extra innings.
• Oregon is now 13-4 against ranked opponents in 2012.
• Oregon’s 16 conference wins are the most in program history.
• Oregon’s 24 home runs surpass the club’s total of 19 from 2012.
• Jimmie Sherfy’s 13 saves are a new Oregon single-season record.
• On April 28, Oregon baseball set a new PK Park attendance record with a crowd of 3,892 as UO defeated Cal 3-2.
• On April 18 at Volcanoes Stadium (Keizer, Ore.), freshman Jordan Spencer threw the first no-hitter since the Oregon baseball program was reinstated (2009) in a 3-0 victory over Portland.
• Oregon’s 5-0 series-clinching win over Stanford on April 14 marked the 600th Division I career victory for head coach George Horton.
• With Oregon’s 8-3 win at UCLA (April 16), the Ducks won five consecutive conference games for the first time since May 4-9, 1976.
• 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 on April 5.
• 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.
• 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 ninth. 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).
• Three 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. Jordan Spencer pitched a no-hitter in Oregon’s 3-0 shutout win over Portland on April 18.
Oregon ended a three-game losing streak by winning eight of its last nine games. During that stretch, Kyle Garlick is leading the Ducks batting .355 with seven RBIs and three extra-base hits. Reigning two-time Pac-12 Player of the Week Aaron Payne is batting .313 in UO’s last nine games, and leads the Ducks driving in 11 runs. Brett Thomas (.323) has added five doubles, one triple, one home run and five RBIs in that stretch, followed by senior Brett Hambright (.304).
UO’s pitching staff is managing a 3.04 ERA in its last nine games, led by Alex Keudell’s back-to-back one-run complete games. Closer Jimmie Sherfy is 1-0 with four saves and nine strikeouts in eight and 1/3 innings. In one start and three relief appearances, freshman left-hander Tommy Thorpe has tossed eight and 1/3 shutout innings while striking out five in UO’s last nine games.
VS. THE TOP-25
Oregon is currently 13-4 against teams ranked in the top-25 at the time of the contest. In those games, the Ducks have scored 4.5 runs per game, while allowing 3.1 runs per game. The Ducks have totaled 36 extra-base hits in top-25 games led by Aaron Payne (.323) and Brett Thomas (.321). Aaron Jones has driven in 15 runs followed by Payne (12) and Ryon Healy (10),.
Oregon’s defense has a .982 fielding percentage against top-25 competition, while the pitching staff manages a 2.80 ERA. Alex Keudell is an undefeated 5-0 against ranked opponents with a 0.88 ERA, allowing just four earned runs in 41 innings, while Jimmie Sherfy has totaled six saves.
Against ranked opponents in Pac-12 games only, the Ducks are 9-3. In UO’s nine wins, the Ducks have outscored opponents 40-13, as the pitching staff maintains a 1.43 ERA, allowing just 1.4 runs per game. In those nine wins, six of Oregon’s everyday starters bat over .300 led by Payne (.364) and Jones’ 10 RBIs.
Keudell is 4-0, tossing two complete games and allowing just two runs in 34 innings, while Jake Reed is 3-0 with a 1.33 ERA, and Sherfy has three saves.
Oregon has driven in 205 runs this season, and out of those 205 RBIs, 84 have come with two outs. Oregon sophomore Kyle Garlick leads the Ducks with 15 two-out RBIs followed by Aaron Jones (13), Ryon Healy (12) and Aaron Payne (12).
Senior right-hander Alex Keudell leads Oregon with a 1.79 ERA (2nd Pac-12, 21st country) and an 8-3 record. The Friday-night starter has been nearly flawless in Pac-12 play, with a 7-1 record in conference games and a league-leading 1.41 ERA. Against ranked opponents in 2012, Keudell is an undefeated 5-0 including wins over UCLA, Stanford, Arizona State and Arizona. The native of Portland, Ore., is 7-0 in his last seven starts with a 0.95 ERA. During that stretch, he has tossed three completes games and in 57 innings has allowed just six runs while holding opposing batters to a .205 clip. Following back-to-back to road wins over UCLA and Stanford, Keudell also received back-to-back Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week awards.
On the year, Keudell is holding opposing batters to a .225 average (.217 Pac-12 play). He leads the UO starting staff with 90 and 2/3 innings pitched, and his eight overall wins rank second in the Pac-12 while his seven conference wins lead the league. Keudell has also recorded nine quality starts in 2012, and his eight wins tie for fifth in UO single-season history while his 20 career wins rank second at Oregon.
IN THE NCAA
Oregon’s 3.08 ERA currently leads the Pac-12 and ranks 28th in the nation. The Duck pitching staff is holding opponents to a .229 clip to lead the Pac-12, while UO’s pitchers have picked off 12 runners to lead the league.
Oregon’s staff allows just 7.37 hits per nine innings to rank third in the country. The Ducks’ 320 strikeouts rank second in the league behind Arizona (325).
UO’s .978 fielding percentage ranks 10th in the country.