Portland at No. 5 Oregon
• Date: Wednesday, 6 p.m.
• Venue: PK Park
• TV: None
• Radio: KUJZ 95.3 FM in Eugene/Springfield
Entering the week on an eight-game winning streak, the fifth-ranked Ducks will play four games this week. Portland travels to PK Park on Wednesday for a 6 p.m. game. Wednesday’s game will mark the final UO regular season home game in Eugene.
The Ducks will end the regular season at Oregon State in a three-game Pac-12 series that begins at 5:35 p.m., Friday.
Oregon heads into the final weekend of Pac-12 play with a one-game lead in the standings over Arizona and a two-game lead over Arizona State, Stanford and UCLA.
After beginning the season unranked, the Ducks are currently ranked in five national polls, and rest at No. 5 in the Baseball America Top-25 poll.
Winners in 14 of their last 15 games, including eight in a row, the Ducks’ 41 wins are the most in program history heading into the final week of regular season play. Last week, Oregon took a weekend off from conference action, and recorded its second straight series sweep, winning three games against Seattle at PK Park. In the series, Aaron Jones led Oregon batting .444, while Kyle Garlick drove in a team-leading three runs. Senior Alex Keudell was once again stellar on the mound, tossing seven and 2/3 shutout innings in Friday night’s 6-1 victory. For Keudell, it was his 10th win of the year setting the new Oregon single-season record. Keudell has also won his last nine starts. In addition, freshman left-hander Tommy Thorpe appeared in all three games, tossing three and 2/3 shutout innings while striking out eight and recording one win and one save.
Oregon currently ranks fifth in the NCAA RPI ratings. In addition, Oregon’s 2012 schedule is ranked the third strongest in the country according boydsworld.com, while boydsworld.com rates Oregon’s RPI at five.
LAST MEETING WITH PORTLAND
Volcanoes Stadium erupted on April 18 when Portland’s Jeff Melby lined out to Aaron Payne, securing freshman lefty Jordan Spencer’s no-hitter as the Ducks defeated Portland 3-0.
The Beaverton, Ore., native faced just two batters over the minimum in his career high nine innings on the mound, plunking a batter in the fifth, and the second reaching on an error in the seventh. Spencer struck out a career-best five, as the lefty tossed the first complete game shutout of his career.
Oregon was led at the plate by Aaron Payne’s 3-for-4 performance, while Ryon Healy and Brett Thomas also recorded two hits apiece.
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.
• Oregon’s 41 wins in 2012 is a program best.
• Oregon’s 19 conference wins are the most in program history.
• After finishing 2011 with a record of 5-12 in one-run games, the Ducks are currently 15-4 in one-run games and 4-0 in games that are decided in extra innings.
• Oregon is 13-4 against ranked opponents in 2012.
• Alex Keudell’s 10 wins in 2012 set a new UO single-season record.
• Oregon’s 27 home runs surpass the club’s total of 19 from 2012.
• Jimmie Sherfy’s 16 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 14 of its last 15 games as the Ducks enter the week on an eight-game winning streak.
During that stretch, Oregon is batting .280 led by sophomore Aaron Payne’s .340 clip and 15 RBIs. In addition, Ryon Healy (.321) and Brett Thomas (.308) are batting over .300, while Kyle Garlick (11) and Aaron Jones (9) have combined to drive in 20 runs.
UO’s pitching staff is managing a 2.93 ERA in 2012, but in Oregon’s last 15 games that number is 2.49. In 15 starts, the starters are 11-1, while UO’s bullpen has earned an additional three wins while also backed with seven saves by UO closer Jimmie Sherfy.
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.
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.
Oregon holds a 10-4 record against teams currently ranked in the Baseball America top-25, including series wins over No. 9 UCLA, No. 13 Arizona, No. 14 Stanford and No. 16 Arizona State. In those games, Oregon’s pitching staff has held opponents to 3.2 earned runs per game. Brett Hambright leads Oregon batting .304 in those 14 games, while the trio of Aaron Jones (10), Aaron Payne (9) and Ryon Healy (8) have driven in 27 runs.
Oregon has driven in 231 runs this season, and out of those 231 RBIs, 94 have come with two outs. Oregon sophomore Kyle Garlick leads the Ducks with 17 two-out RBIs followed by Aaron Payne (14) and Aaron Jones (13) and Ryon Healy (13).
Last Friday, Alex Keudell set the Oregon single-season record earning his 10th victory of the year as the Ducks shut out Seattle, 6-0, at PK Park. Keudell is now tied with Dean Kegler (1978-81) with 22 career wins.
Keudell has won his last nine starts, and during that stretch is 9-0 with a 1.14 ERA allowing just nine runs in 71 and 1/3 innings.
The Friday-night starter for Oregon, Keudell’s 1.80 ERA leads the league (18th country), and his 10 wins ties for second. In conference games only, Keudell leads all pitchers with an 8-1 record and 1.66 ERA.
Against top-25 competition this season, Keudell is an undefeated 5-0 with an ERA of 0.88 after allowing just four earned runs in 41 innings on the mound. Against ranked opponents he has tossed two complete games including one shutout while holding opposing batters to a .200 clip.
The Portland, native was named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week in back-to-back weekends after tossing seven shutout innings at UCLA, scattering eight hits while striking out two in a 6-2 win on April 5. The following weekend, he allowed just one run on five hits while walking no one and striking out a season-best seven in a 4-2 win at No. 6 Stanford on April 13.
IN THE NCAA
Oregon’s 2.93 ERA currently leads the Pac-12 and ranks 10th in the nation. The Duck pitching staff is holding opponents to a .227 clip to lead the Pac-12, while UO’s pitchers have picked off 15 runners to lead the league.
Oregon’s staff allows just 7.21 hits per nine innings to rank second in the country. The Ducks’ 373 strikeouts also top the Pac-12.
UO’s .979 fielding percentage ranks eighth in the country.
Sophomore right-hander Jimmie Sherfy has accepted an invitation to play for the 2012 Collegiate National Team this summer it was announced last Friday.
Oregon’s closer, Sherfy currently leads the Pac-12 with 16 saves (5th country) which sets a new single-season record for the Ducks. In 52 innings on the mound, the Camarillo, Calif., native leads Oregon with 81 strikeouts – an average of 14 strikeouts every nine innings pitched.
In 28 appearances, Sherfy has inherited 24 runners, allowing just four to score. In addition to his 16 saves, the Camarillo, Calif., native has a 4-2 record and a 2.25 ERA while holding opposing batters to a .171 clip.
During Oregon’s current eight-game winning streak, Sherfy is 1-0 with four saves.