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Ducks Host Portland Tuesday, Travel To Cal State Fullerton This Weekend
Courtesy: GoDucks.com
Release Date: 02/25/2013
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Ducks wrap up four-game homestand with Tuesday game against Portland: No. 14 Oregon will wrap up its four-game homestand Tuesday with a game against Portland at 6 p.m. at PK Park. General admission tickets are just $2 with a Bi-Mart coupon. The Ducks are riding a three-game winning streak against the Pilots, including a sweep of last year’s two games. UO picked up a 3-0 win in Portland on April 18, 2011, and a 2-1 win at PK Park on May 23. Overall, Oregon holds an 86-33 series advantage, but the series is tied 6-6 since baseball was reinstated at UO before the 2009 season, with UP winning the first four and five of the first six.  The Ducks have responded by winning five of the last six.

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 expected to get first start since May 28, 2011: Senior Christian Jones could get his first start in 21 months on Tuesday against Portland. The 6-foot-3 left-handed pitcher missed all of the 2012 season while recovering from an elbow injury.  Jones returned to the mound during this year’s season opener when he pitched three innings, 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 has appeared in two more games since, 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 6.0 innings while allowing just two hits with four 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. 

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 seven games: The four Oregon pitchers who have started games this season have combined for an impressive 2.11 ERA, while allowing just 10 earned runs in 42.2 innings pitched. The four (Jake Reed, Tommy Thorpe, Cole Irvin, Jeff Gold) have struck out 33 opposing batters while giving up just 37 hits. Thorpe leads the way 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 appearance after being hit by a come-backer at Hawaii, has a 1.93 ERA in 4.2 innings.

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.

 

Quick Hits: The Ducks are off to a hot start, sweeping a four-game series in Hawaii and winning two of three against Loyola Marymount. Oregon wraps up its four-game homestand Tuesday against Portland before heading back on the road this weekend to face Cal State Fullerton, head coach George Horton’s former team. The Ducks and the Titans will be meeting for the third time since Horton left Fullerton to become the head coach at Oregon, but for the first time in a three-game series. The previous two meetings were single game matchups, the first was Oregon’s season opener at CSF in 2010 and the second was last year’s game in the NCAA Regional Tournament.

Oregon heads into the week’s play behind a pitching staff that has been strong over the first seven games. The starters have combined for a 2.11 ERA, while the entire staff has a 2.57 ERA through seven games. Jake Reed, Cole Irvin and Tommy Thorpe have combined for four quality starts in the seven games, with Irvin (a true freshman) accounting for two of those.  The Ducks’ bullpen has three saves with All-American Jimmie Sherfy accounting for two of those and Christian Jones (Tuesday’s starter) picking up a save in the season opener.

Portland enters Tuesday’s game with a 2-6 record. The Pilots opened the season at No. 5 Mississippi State and were swept in a four-game series. Portland picked up a win at Seattle, before losing two of three at home against Utah Valley last weekend.  Cal State Fullerton is off to an 8-0 record, including a three-game sweep at No. 22 TCU last weekend. The Titans also have a pair of wins over Nebraska and wins over USC, at Cal State Bakersfield and at Pepperdine. CSF’s pitching staff has been dominant combining for a 1.62 team ERA. Friday starter Thomas Eshelman hasn’t allowed an earned run in 11.2 innings, while striking out 14. Justin Garza is 2-0  with a 0.68 ERA and 11 strikouts in 13.1 innings. Grahamm Wiest, who figures to start Sunday, has a 2.03 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 13.1 innings. Fullerton is hitting .282 as a team, with Matt Chapman leading the way with a .379 average.

HEALY AND PAYNE RIDING CONSECUTIVE GAME STREAK: First baseman Ryon Healy and second baseman Aaron Payne were the only two Ducks last season to start all 65 games during Oregon’s run to within one game of the College World Series. Payne started all 65 games at second base, while Healy started UO’s last 54 games at first base.  Healy opened the 2012 season at first base starting the first four games before moving to designated hitter for seven games.

Both players have extended their streaks by starting the first seven games of the 2013 season. Overall, Healy has started 84 straight games for the Ducks. The Duck junior began his streak on May 13, 2011 when he started at first base in the series opener against Stanford during his freshman season. He finished that year starting the final 12 games of the year. The last game Healy didn’t start was a 7-7 tie at Seattle on May, 11, 2011.   Payne ran his consecutive starts streak to 72 against Loyola Marymount.

Oregon picked fourth in preseason Pac-12 Coaches Poll: The Oregon Ducks are picked to finish fourth in the 2013 Pac-12 Preseason Baseball Coaches’ Poll. UO received 73 points behind only preseason favorite Stanford, UCLA and Oregon State. The Ducks won a school-record 46 games in 2012 before ending their season in the Super Regional in Eugene. UO returns seven position player starters this season behind a pitching staff that features four returning starters and an All-American reliever.

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