Horton leads Oregon into three-game weekend series against former team Cal State Fullerton in top 20 matchup: Oregon head coach George Horton will lead the Ducks into an anticipated early season three-game showdown with his former team, Cal State Fullerton, this weekend. Horton spent 11 seasons (1997-2007) as the Titans head coach, compiling an impressive 490-212-1 (.698 winning percentage) record in Fullerton. During his tenure at the helm of CSF, Horton led the Titans to six College World Series appearances, including the 2004 National Championship.
Since coming to Oregon after the 2007 season, Horton has played his old school twice, winning both games. In 2010, the Ducks opened the season with a 7-3 win over the fourth-ranked Titans. Last season, Oregon played Fullerton on the second day of the NCAA Eugene Regional and handed CSF a 7-5 loss.
Jones gets first start since May 28, 2011: Senior Christian Jones made his first start in 21 months on Tuesday against Portland. The 6-foot-3 left-hander entered the game on a pinch count and threw 3.0 innings, allowing just two hits while striking out five. Jones missed all of the 2012 season while recovering from an elbow injury. He returned to the mound during this year’s season opener when he pitched three innings in relief, allowing just one hit while striking out two in a win over Hawaii on Feb. 16. Jones earned the save in the Ducks’ win and appeared in two more games out of the bullpen before making his start, throwing an inning at Hawaii on Feb. 18 and two innings against Loyola Marymount on Feb 22. For the season, Jones has a 0.00 ERA in 9.0 innings while allowing just four hits with nine strikeouts. In 2011, Jones finished the season with a 7-2 record and a 3.24 ERA. He started 12 games for the Ducks, striking out 73 hitters in 77.2 innings. The Danville, Calif., native struck out more than 10 hitters twice that season. He had 13 against BYU and 12 vs. Saint Mary’s.
Four Duck pitchers combine for 15 strikeouts in 3-1 win over Portland: Christian Jones, Jeff Gold, Garrett Cleavinger and Jimmie Sherfy combined to strike out 15 Portland batters in Tuesday’s 3-1 win, while not allowing a walk during the game. Jones started the game and struck out five in three innings before giving way to Gold who fanned a career-high seven Pilots in four innings. Cleavinger struck out two in the eighth inning, and Sherfy added one punch out in the ninth to give the Ducks their most strikeouts since Feb. 18, 2012 when Oregon pitchers struck out 17 Hawaii batters in a 12-inning win.
Ducks win second straight series behind another strong pitching performance: Oregon is coming off its second straight series win last weekend when the Ducks took two of three from Loyola Marymount at PK Park. UO once again got a big effort from its pitching staff with seven Ducks combining for a 2.67 ERA in the three games. Saturday starter Tommy Thorpe and Sunday starter Cole Irvin both pitched deep into games and picked up wins. Thorpe didn’t allow a runner past second base in seven innings of a 6-1 win, while Irvin (a true freshman) went eight innings allowing just one run and six hits in another 6-1 win. Relievers Christian Jones and Jimmie Sherfy combined for four shutout innings in the series.
Ducks starters putting up impressive numbers through eight games: The five Oregon pitchers who have started games this season have combined for an impressive 1.97 ERA, while allowing just 10 earned runs in 45.2 innings pitched. The five (Jake Reed, Tommy Thorpe, Cole Irvin, Jeff Gold, Christian Jones) have struck out 38 opposing batters while giving up just 39 hits. Thorpe leads the way among pitchers with two starts with a 0.75 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 12 innings. Irvin has two quality starts in two appearances, compiling a 2.40 ERA over a team-high 15 innings. Reed has a 3.27 ERA as the Ducks’ Friday starter and has struck out a team-best 15 batters. Gold, who left his one start after being hit by a come-backer at Hawaii, has a 1.93 ERA in 4.2 innings as a starter and Jones hasn’t given up a run in three innings as a starter.
UO remains high in polls after series win over Loyola Marymount: Oregon maintained a high ranking in all five polls released on Monday. The Ducks slipped one spot in the Collegiate Baseball poll to sixth, while also sliding one spot to number six in the NCBWA poll. UO stayed eighth in the Perfect Game poll, while holding firm at number-14 in the Baseball America poll. Oregon is seventh in the first regular-season USA Today Coaches Poll.
Ducks start stretch of six games against ranked teams in 10-day stretch on Friday: Oregon will play six games in a 10-day stretch against teams ranked in the top 25 poll starting on Friday when the Ducks visit No. 17 (Baseball America)Cal State Fullerton. The Ducks return home for a two-game series against Cal State Northridge before opening a three-game set against No. 2 Vanderbilt on March 8 at PK Park. Oregon’s schedule doesn’t figure to get any easier with the Ducks facing four Pac-12 teams currently ranked in the Baseball America poll and a fifth that is ranked in the other four polls. Sixth-ranked Oregon State (April 9 at OSU, May 17-19 at PK Park, May 21 at OSU), No. 12 UCLA (April 19-21), No. 15 Stanford (April 26-28), No. 20 Arizona (March 22-24) are all ranked in the Baseball America poll, while Arizona State (April 5-7) is ranked as high as 20th in one of the other polls (USA Today Coaches Poll).
Ducks coming off best season in program history: Oregon is looking to build on the momentum from the record-setting 2012 campaign. The Ducks finished the season last year with a school-record 46 wins and the school’s first ever Super Regional appearance in the modern era. UO finished the season ranked in all five national polls, including a No. 11 ranking by Baseball America. Oregon also finished with 19 Pac-12 Conference wins, the most in program history, and UO’s third-place conference finish was the best for the program since taking second place in the Northern Division in 1978. Senior Alex Keudell’s 11 wins set a new UO single-season record, and he was the first Duck in program history to be named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year. Sophomore Jimmie Sherfy’s 19 saves set new Oregon single-season and all-time records, and ranked second in the nation.
Sherfy named to Golden Spikes Award watch list and NCBWA Stopper of the Year watch list; junior also on three preseason All-America teams: Jimmie Sherfy has been named to both the 2013 USA Baseball Preseason Golden Spikes Award watch list and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year watch list. Sherfy, who is one of 50 players named to the Golden Spikes Award list and 75 players named to the NCBWA preseason list, was a Stopper of the Year finalist as a sophomore last season. The Camarillo, Calif. native has also claimed a number of preseason All-America honors. He was named a preseason first-team All-American by the NCBWA and Louisville Slugger, and was a second-team preseason pick by Perfect Game. Sherfy earned multiple postseason All-America honors as a sophomore after finishing the season with 19 saves and a 2.20 ERA. The right-handed reliever claimed first-team ABCA/Rawlings All-America recognition, while being named second-team All-America by the NCBWA, Baseball America, and Perfect Game, and third-team by Louisville Slugger. Sherfy was also a NCBWA Stopper of the Year finalist and claimed first-team All-Pac 12 accolades after leading the league in saves. Sherfy set an Oregon record with 19 saves while finishing with a 5-3 record in 36 appearances. He struck out 93 hitters in just 61.1 innings (an average of 13.6 strikeouts per nine innings pitched) and held opponents to a .172 batting average.
Horton named 2012 Division I Coach of the Year by FieldTurf: University of Oregon head baseball coach George Horton won the 7th annual FieldTurf Baseball Award as the 2012 NCAA Division I Coach of the Year Field Turf announced in January. Horton led the Ducks to within one win of the College World Series in just the program’s fourth season after it was reinstated for the 2009 season. Under Horton’s tutelage, Oregon finished the 2012 season with a 46-19 record and a No. 11 ranking in the final Baseball America Top-25 poll. The Super Regional appearance was the eighth by a Horton coached team, and the first for Oregon since 1954. The 40-win season was the ninth in Horton’s 15 years as a head coach at the Division I level and the team’s .708 winning percentage was the best by a Ducks team since 1978.
Ducks 2013 recruiting class ranked No. 6 by Perfect game: The Oregon Ducks 2013 baseball recruiting class is ranked sixth in the nation by Perfect Game. The Ducks signed the nationally-ranked class after advancing to within one game of the College World Series last season. Oregon won a school-record 46 games in 2012 before ending its season in the Super Regional in Eugene.