Ducks visit defending national champion UCLA this weekend in Los Angeles: Oregon will make its final Pac-12 Conference road trip of the season this weekend when the Ducks travel to Southern California for a three-game series against UCLA at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Oregon is looking for its first Pac-12 series win on the road this season. UO dropped two of three at Stanford in late March before losing two of three at Washington in early April. Oregon State swept Oregon in late April before the Ducks dropped two of three at Arizona State last weekend. Oregon has won all four of their home Pac-12 series including sweeps over Utah, Washington State and Arizona.
UCLA heads into the series struggling with nine losses and a tie in its last 12 games. The Bruins have lost six straight including a sweep at the hands of Oregon State over the weekend. The Bruins did win two of three at Oregon last season before going on to win the national title. UCLA won games one and two of the series with identical 1-0 scores at PK Park before the Ducks responded with a 5-3 win in the Sunday game.
All three games at UCLA will be televised: The Pac-12 Networks will broadcast all three of this weekend’s games at UCLA with both the Friday and Saturday games starting at 7 p.m. and the Sunday game beginning at Noon. Brian Webber will handle play-by-play duties for the Friday game, while Jim Watson calls the action on both Saturday and Sunday. Geoff Blum provides color commentary for all three games.
Chase goes deep twice against Pacific, takes Pac-12 lead in home runs: Shaun Chase launched a pair of home runs against Pacific on Tuesday in a 14-8 Oregon win to run his season total to 10 homers. With the two bombs the junior catcher moved into the Pac-12 lead in homers with one more than Stanford’s Alex Blandino. Even more impressive is Chase’s 10.50 home run to at-bat ratio which ranks third in the country behind Kentucky’s A.J. Reed (8.76) and Tennessee Tech’s Brandon Thomasson (10.25). Blandino has hit one homer in every 19.33 at bats. Chase’s Pac-12 numbers are even better with six home runs in 61 at bats (10.16).
It’s been a year of milestones for Horton: Oregon head coach George Horton has added three career milestones to his resume in 2014. The Ducks’ skipper has reached three career milestones this year. Horton picked up the third one last weekend against Washington State when he won his 700th career game as a Division I head coach. His first milestone of the season came in the first series of the year when he won his 900th career game as a head coach. He opened his career at Cerritos College and compiled 226 wins in six seasons (1985-90) at the California junior college. Horton made the jump to Division I as an assistant at Cal State Fullerton in 1991 before becoming the Titans head coach in 1997. Over the next 11 seasons Horton won 490 games at CSF, including the 2004 national championship, before leaving to restart the program at Oregon. Horton picked up the second milestone April 2 in Spokane with his 200th career win at Oregon.
Ducks picked second in preseason Pac-12 Coaches Poll: The Oregon Ducks were picked to finish second in the 2014 Pac-12 Preseason Baseball Coaches’ Poll. UO received 86 points behind only preseason favorite Oregon State. The Ducks won a school-record 48 games in 2013 before ending their season in the Regionals in Eugene. UO returns six position player starters this season behind a pitching staff that features first-team All-Pac-12 pick Tommy Thorpe, who finished his sophomore season 7-5 with a 2.16 ERA. Overall, Oregon returns nine pitchers off last year’s team that finished second in the Pac-12.
Ducks ranked in three of five polls, including one top 10 ranking: Oregon heads into this week ranked in three of the five college baseball polls. The Ducks are ranked as high as 15th, by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA), while checking in 17th in the USA Today Coaches Poll and 18th in the Collegiate Baseball poll. The Ducks fell out of the Baseball America poll after getting swept by Oregon State three weeks ago, while dropping out of the Perfect Game poll this week.
Ducks 20-16 all-time against ranked teams at PK Park: Oregon is no stranger to hosting ranked teams at PK Park. During the program’s five-plus seasons playing in the park, the Ducks have played 36 games against teams ranked in the Baseball America top 25 and compiled a 20-16 record in those games.
Ducks have 18 TV games in 2014: Oregon will make 18 appearances on television during the 2014 season. Eight of the team’s 32 games at PK Park will be broadcast by the Pac-12 Networks while five of the Ducks’ 10 Pac-12 series will have all three games televised. The Pac-12 Networks will also broadcast all three games against Arizona (May 2-4) in Eugene, the three-game set at defending National Champion UCLA (May 16-17) and the final series of the season against California (May 22-24) at PK Park. Oregon’s three-game conference series at Washington (April 4-6) was televised, as will UO’s games at Oregon State (April 25-27) with the Pac-12 Networks televising the first two games and ESPNU airing the Sunday series finale. In all, five Civil War games against Oregon State will be televised with the Pac-12 Networks broadcasting non-conference games in Eugene on May 6 and May 20. The Ducks’ game at Arizona State on May 11 rounds out the 18-game television schedule.
Irvin and Krook out for season: Oregon’s starting rotation has been hit by the injury bug in 2014. SO LHP Cole Irvin will miss the entire 2014 season after undergoing surgery on February 10. Irvin set an Oregon school record with 12 wins during his freshman season while claiming freshman All-American honors. The 6-foot-4 lefty went 12-3 with a 2.48 ERA in 16 starts. He pitched a team-high 116.0 innings and struck out 50 while walking just 22. FR Matt Krook underwent season-ending surgery on April 22 after suffering an injury at Washington on April 5. Krook was 2-1 on the season with a team-best 1.79 ERA and led the Pac-12 in strikeouts with 60 before being sidelined.
Thorpe gets the ball for the Ducks on Fridays: While Cole Irvin and Matt Krook have been shelved, JR LHP Tommy Thorpe continues to be the guy headlining Oregon’s rotation. The junior bounced back from a bad outing at Stanford (3.2 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 5 ER) to win three straight starts at Washington (5.2 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 1 ER), against UC Riverside (7.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER) and vs. Washington State (7.0 IP, 2H, 0 R) before being charged for a loss at Oregon State (6.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R). He has added back-to-back wins vs. Arizona (7.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R) and at Arizona State (5 IP, 4 H, 2 R)
The lefty has nine quality starts in 13 outings in 2014 and has gone at least seven innings in seven of those starts. Thorpe had arguably his best outing of the season with a dominant start against Ohio State where he struck out a career-high 10 and allowed just two hits over seven innings. He may have been even better against Utah allowing just three hits in eight shutout innings in a 1-0 win over Utah. Before the Oregon State loss, he allowed just one unearned run in 14 innings, while striking out 15 and walking just 3 against UCR and WSU. Thorpe served as the team’s Friday night starter for the last half of last season, including in Oregon game against UCLA. Thorpe took the loss against the Bruins in a 1-0 game despite allowing just one run on three hits in seven innings pitched.
Thorpe earns Pac-12 honor: Tommy Thorpe was named the Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week after helping Oregon to a series sweep of Utah. Thorpe, a Vancouver, Wash., native propelled Oregon to a series-opening 1-0 win over the Utes, allowing just three hits in eight innings to match a career-high while striking out five. The junior didn’t allow a base runner until the fifth inning and didn’t give up an outfield hit until the seventh inning.
Gold settles into weekend rotation, ninth in nation in wins: Oregon went old school when it needed another dependable starter. SR RHP Jeff Gold was impressive in nine straight weekend starts, after serving as a mid-week starter during the season’s first three weeks, before getting chased early in a loss to Arizona State last weekend. In his 10 weekend starts, Gold has allowed just 24 earned runs on 56 hits in 65.1 innings while striking out 41 and walking just five in wins against Ohio State, USC, Utah, Stanford, UC Riverside, and Washington State with no decisions at Washington, at Oregon State and against Arizona before losing at ASU. Gold has wins in nine of his 13 starts this season, which ties him for the 15th most wins in the nation. The senior also ranks in the top 20 in the country in two other categories. He is 11th in the nation and first in the Pac-12 in walks allowed per nine innings (0.87), while also ranking 11th in the country and first in the Pac-12 in strikeout-to-walk ratio (7.00). Gold ranks among the Pac-12 leaders in batters struck out looking (3rd; 25) and innings pitched (10th; 82.1). Gold’s win over WSU on April 18 was the 22nd of his career, tied for the second most in Oregon history and the 20th most among active Division I players.
Tessar is Sunday starter: After being limited for much of the last two seasons because of injuries, SR RHP Brando Tessar put together three straight impressive starts, the last coming as a member of the weekend rotation, before struggling in a loss to Arizona State on Sunday. In those three starts before ASU, Tessar tossed 22.1 straight scoreless innings with the first 14 coming in starts (and wins) at Portland (7 innings) on April 9 and against San Diego (7 innings), the nation’s third-best hitting team (.326 batting average), on April 14. After 1.1 innings of scoreless relief two weeks ago at Oregon State, Tessar held Arizona scoreless for seven innings in his first weekend start. The Ducks righty, who served as Oregon’s Sunday starter at the beginning of the 2012 season before suffering a muscle strain against Stanford on April 15, allowed 14 hits in the combined 21 innings against Portland, USD and Arizona in the three starts while fanning 18. Arizona State was able to get to Tessar scoring seven runs (four earned) on 10 hits in just 3.2 innings pitched. For the season Tessar is 4-1 with a 2.81 ERA in seven starts and four relief appearances.
Reed moves to closer role after two years as starter: After two years and 34 starts as a member of the Oregon starting rotation, JR RHP Jake Reed is coming out of the bullpen for the first time in his career. Reed inherited the closer job from two-time All-American Jimmie Sherfy, who compiled 40 saves over the last two seasons. Reed has been successful over the first 53 games of the season out of the bullpen picking up 11 saves while posting a 3-1 record with a 2.43 ERA. He has allowed 17 hits in 29.2 innings while fanning 27. Reed is second in the Pac-12 in saves, while ranking in a tie for 18th in the country.
Reed named to Stopper of the Year watch list: Jake Reed has been named to the midseason watch list for the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award, an honor given to the top reliever in NCAA Division I baseball, the NCBWA announced. Reed was 10th in the nation, and led the Pac-12, in saves with 10 while boasting a 2-1 record with a 3.18 ERA when the list was announced. He had struck out 22 hitters in 22.2 innings pitched, while allowing just 14 hits. Reed, a junior, is a converted starter who moved to the bullpen this season after winning 16 games in 34 career starts during his freshman and sophomore seasons. Reed ranks among Oregon’s all-time leaders in saves (3rd), innings pitched (4th), wins (7th), strikeouts (9th) and appearances (9th). Finalists for the Stopper of the Year Award will be named on June 4 with the winner being announced during the College World Series.
Gold and Karaviotis named to watch lists: Senior right-handed pitcher Jeff Gold and freshman shortstop Mark Karaviotis have been named to watch lists at their respective positions. Gold is one of 47 pitchers on the National Pitcher of the Year list, while Karaviotis is one of just 35 shortstops named to the Brooks Wallace Award list.
Tolman earns national and Pac-12 weekly honors: Mitchell Tolman was named the national hitter of the week by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association on April 15, a day after being named Pac-12 player of the week for hitting .600 as the Oregon baseball team won five times last week. Tolman, a sophomore from Lake Forest, Calif., was 9-for-15 on the week with six RBI and five runs. He had a hit in all five games — two midweek wins over Portland and a weekend sweep of UC Riverside — and had multiple hits four times. Tolman was named NCBWA hitter of the week for the second time in his career, and the first this season. He was named conference player of the week for the first time, and was the first UO position player so honored this season.
Chase named Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week: Oregon junior catcher Shaun Chase was named one of the Collegiate Baseball National Players of the Week, as well as the Pac-12 player of the week on May 5, after going 7-of-11 with three home runs and seven RBI in the Ducks’ sweep of Arizona at PK Park. Chase, a Phoenix native, hit two home runs in Friday’s 6-1 victory, and his grand slam provided the winning margin in Sunday’s 5-1 result. Chase had two hits on Saturday, the second of which led off the 10th inning; he was replaced by a pinch runner who came around to score on Austin Grebeck’s walk-off single.
Payne ties former double play partner for Oregon career runs record: It’s been a record setting career at Oregon for SR 2B Aaron Payne. The three-year starter scored his 127th career run against Pacific to tie former teammate J.J. Altobelli (2010-13) for the school career record. Earlier in the season, Payne broke the career stolen bases record, formerly held by Don Reynolds (1972-75), and continued to add to his total with his 42nd and 43rd career steals against Pacific. The stolen base career record was the second set by Payne, who became UO’s hit by pitch all-time leader during his junior season. Payne has run his HBP total to 67, 35 more than his closest pursuer and has tied his own single season record for HBP with 25. Payne also ranks in the all-time career top 10 in games started (2nd; 181), at bats (2nd, 647), triples (3rd; 10), walks (4th; 76), hits (4th; 167) and multiple-hit games (6th; 39).
Garlick, Tolman, and Baumgartner among career leaders on offense; while a handful of pitchers rank on career pitching lists: In addition to Aaron Payne, a number of Ducks are already among the all-time leaders in the Oregon career record book. JR DH Kyle Garlick is the school’s all-time leader in triples (12), while also ranking in RBI (2nd; 100), multiple-RBI games (2nd; 27), doubles (5th; 27), intentional walks (5th; 3), games started (6th; 144), multiple-hit games (7th; 34), at bats (6th; 525), hits (9th; 139) and walks (7th; 61). In just under two seasons, SO INF Mitchell Tolman already ranks among the career leaders in multiple-RBI games (3rd; 20), hit by pitches (3rd; 24), RBI (7th; 82) and multiple-hit games (9th; 31). JR INF Scott Heineman ranks among the top 10 in hit by pitches (9th; 14), stolen bases (9th; 22) and outfield assists (6th; 3), while SR OF Tyler Baumgartner is among the leaders in doubles (7th; 26), triples (7th; 8) and multiple-RBI games (9th; 12), while also closing in on the top 10 in multiple-hit games. JR OF/1B Steven Packard is second all-time in outfield assists with seven.
On the mound, SR RHP Jeff Gold, SO LHP Cole Irvin, JR RHP Jake Reed, JR LHP Tommy Thorpe and SO LHP Garrett Cleavinger rank among the all-time leaders. Reed is ranked in four categories including saves (2nd; 11), pickoffs (3rd; 8), starts (3rd; 34), innings pitched (4th; 243.2), wins (5th; 17), games finished (4th; 23), strikeouts (8th; 159), appearances (6th; 59) and walks (10th; 87). Thorpe is among the leaders in runners picked off (4th, 6), appearances (5th; 64), starts (5th, 30), strikeouts (4th, 214), innings pitched (5th; 229.1) and wins (5th; 17). Irvin is ranked in two categories, runners picked off (5th; 5) and starts (8th; 16), while Gold is in the top five in wins (2nd; 22), career starts (4th; 32), innings pitched (9th; 210.1) and appearances (10th; 51). Cleavinger ranks in the top 10 in games finished (8th; 14), saves (7th; 4) and appearances (4th; 66). SO LHP Porter Clayton (9th; 2) and SR RHP Darrell Hunter (9th; 2) also rank in the career saves top 10, while SR RHP Brando Tessar is among the leaders in starts (7th; 19).
Oregon team features six college graduates: It’s not often a college baseball team can send three graduates to the mound while playing three more in the field, but that is the case at Oregon. Seniors Jeff Gold and Darrell Hunter both graduated in 2013 but returned to school to exhaust their eligibility. Hunter, who was granted a sixth season by the NCAA last September, has a degree in sociology and is working on a Master’s Degree in education. Gold graduated in four years with a degree in general social sciences and is working on a music technology minor. Four Ducks--Tyler Baumgartner, Craig Meredith, Aaron Payne, and Brando Tessar--earned their degrees at the end of the winter term in March.
Four Ducks named to Baseball America top prospects lists: Four Oregon Ducks have been named to Baseball America’s top 50 prospects list by class. JR INF/OF Scott Heineman, SO LHP Cole Irvin, FR LHP Matt Krook and FR OF Austin Grebeck each have been named to the respective class lists. Krook (San Mateo, Calif./St. Ignatius HS) is the highest ranked of the four claiming the No. 7 spot on the freshman list. Irvin (Yorba Linda, Calif./Servite HS) ranks 17th on the sophomore class list, while Scott Heineman (Pacific Palisades, Calif./ Crespi Carmelite HS) is 26th on the junior list and Austin Grebeck (Laguna Hills, Calif./Mater Dei HS) is 46th on the freshman list.
Heineman, who will miss the remainder of the season after undergoing surgery, batted .278 with four home runs and 38 RBI while playing the outfield as a sophomore. Heineman was ranked as the 19th best prospect in the prestigious Cape Cod League after last summer where he batted .304 in 38 games leading the Brewster Whitecaps to a 14-29-1 record. He led the Whitecaps in at bats (148), hits (45), doubles (8), triples (3) and stolen bases (24). In the season finale for Brewster on August 4, Heineman played all nine positions in a 5-1 loss to Harwich. He started at catcher, moved to first base, then second base, shortstop, third base, left field, center field, right field and finally pitcher (0.1 IP, 1 K, 1 H, 0 R). Heineman, who was named a starter in the Cape Cod League All-Star Game, led the league in stolen bases and triples, while finishing 11th in runs, 16th in doubles and 18th in batting average.
Irvin, who underwent surgery on Feb. 10 and will miss the 2014 season, set an Oregon record as a freshman finishing with 12 wins while earning honorable mention all-conference recognition. He finished with a 12-3 record and a 2.48 ERA with four complete games. The left-hander finished second in program history in innings pitched (116.0) while also ranking in a tie for third all-time in starts (16). He was 7-3 with a 2.88 ERA in Pac-12 games with two complete games. Irvin was named the Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week twice as well as the National Collegiate Baseball Writers of America (NCBWA) National Player of the Week once. He earned a spot on the Eugene Regional All-Tournament Team after throwing a complete game where he allowed just one run on six hits while striking out nine.
Krook was the 35th overall pick in the 2013 MLB Draft but chose to come to Oregon instead of starting his professional career. The lefty was named first-team All-America and first-team all-region by Perfect Game after finishing his senior season with a 1.65 ERA with 85 strikeouts in 59.1 innings pitched.
Grebeck was a first-team all-league and second-team all-state pick while being named to the Orange County Register All-County Team. He batted .407 (37-for-91) with a home run and 11 RBI during his senior season.
Oregon puts 20 runs on the board in game vs. Ohio State, most runs since bringing baseball back: The Ducks stormed back from a disappointing loss to Ohio State on March 8 with one of their most impressive offensive showings since the program was restarted. UO scored 20 runs marking the most runs scored by a Ducks’ team since they beat Sacramento State 21-1 on March 19, 1979. The 20 runs bested the modern-era high of 19 runs scored in a 19-10 win at Gonzaga on April 21, 2010. Before the 20 runs scored on Sunday, Oregon’s best game at PK Park came in a 17-7 win over East Tennessee State on May 16, 2010.
What are the odds? 1 in 43!: Oregon has played 43 three or four-games series at PK Park since it was built and during that time the Ducks had never homered in every game of a home series....until they hosted Arizona. The Ducks homered in all three games of the series against the Wildcats with two bombs on Friday, a single home run on Saturday and a pair of long balls on Sunday. Catcher Shaun Chase hit a pair of homers in Friday’s 6-1 win, before Steven Packard hit a two-run shot in the seventh inning to tie Saturday game. Mitchell Tolman hit a solo home run on Sunday before Chase went yard again with a grand slam in the eighth.