DURHAM, N.C. - The 2009 Oregon baseball recruiting class was ranked 24th in the nation by Baseball America’s evaluation of NCAA Division I baseball classes, it was announced by the publication today.


“We are very pleased with the quality of the 17 athletes that joined our program in the 2009-10 academic year,” head coach George Horton said. “I commend both coach Andrew Checketts and coach Mike Kirby for their hard work and instincts. The class is laden with immediate and upside abilities that should impact the improvement of our young program. The class is talented and their aptitude seems very special in the early evaluation process. This class has also impressed us with their potential to become leadership players during their careers, and they are also outstanding young men. We all think this will be an extremely productive group.”


It marks the second straight season the Ducks’ recruiting class has received a top-25 ranking, as Oregon’s class from a season ago was ranked 10th in the nation according to the Baseball America publication.


Oregon’s 2009 class includes some of the top freshmen from the West Coast including southern California products J.J. Altobelli (Newport Beach, Calif./Woodbridge HS), a second-team CIF Southern Section honoree; infielder Jack Marder (Calabasas, Calif./Newbury Park HS), a 30th round selection of Arizona Diamondbacks and CIF Southern Section First Team honoree; and Nick Wagner (Dove Canyon, Calif./Santa Margarita HS), a 44th round selection by the Toronto Blue Jays and Trinity League First Team selection.


The freshman class also boasts lefthander Christian Jones (Danville, Calif./Monte Vista HS), the reigning East Bay Prep Athlete of the Year, and outfielder Andrew Mendenhall (Kennewick, Wash./Southridge HS), a three-time all-Big 9 Conference selection.


The Ducks also welcome some of the top junior college players including junior infielder Stephen Kaupang (La Mirada, Calif./Cypress College), a 2009 All-Southern California Team selection and outfielder Marcus Piazzisi (Placentia, Calif./Santa Ana College), a 2009 Southern California All-American.


The Ducks are entering their final week of Fall Ball after beginning workouts on Sept. 14.


Oregon is beginning just its second season after a 28-year hiatus from NCAA Division I baseball. The Ducks will open the 2010 season on the road at Cal State Fullerton, former home of current Oregon head coach George Horton (1991-2007), on Friday, Feb. 19. That weekend the Ducks will also play single games with Long Beach State, Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount.


The Ducks will return home to a finished PK Park on Tuesday, March 2, hosting Washington in a non-conference contest.

Fellow Pacific-10 Conference members Stanford (No. 2), Arizona State (No. 3), UCLA (No. 19) and Oregon State (No. 22) were also ranked in Baseball America’s Top-25 poll.

Four-year transfers were not considered for BA’s rankings, just freshmen and junior college transfers. For detailed breakdowns on the top 25 classes, visit www.baseballamerica.com.

Baseball America’s 2009 Top 25 Recruiting Classes
1. Florida
2. Stanford
3. Arizona State
4. Texas Christian
5. Cal State Fullerton
6. Texas
7. North Carolina
8. Mississippi State
9. Virginia
10. Central Florida
11. North Carolina State
12. Mississippi
13. Vanderbilt
14. Tennessee
15. Kentucky
16. Oklahoma
17. Miami
18. Michigan
19. UCLA
20. Clemson
21. Rice
22. Oregon State
23. Missouri
24. Oregon
25. Louisville

Pac-10 in the Top 25
2. Stanford
3. Arizona State
19. UCLA
22. Oregon State
24. Oregon