Ducks 13-4 all-time against ranked teams at PK Park: Oregon is no stranger to hosting ranked teams at PK Park. During the program's four-plus seasons playing in the park, the Ducks have played 17 games against teams ranked in the Baseball America top 25 and compiled an impressive 13-4 record in those games -- a .765 winning percentage. Vanderbilt will be the highest ranked team to visit PK Park, matching the number-two ranking of Arizona State in 2010.
The Ducks have won every series against ranked teams they have played in PK Park, with the exception of the Arizona State series. Oregon beat defending National Champion, and 15th-ranked, Fresno State two out of three in 2009 in the first series in ballpark history against a ranked team. The Ducks won the first two, 1-0 and 7-1, before losing game three 10-3. In 2010, Oregon dropped two of three to No. 2 Arizona State winning game two 6-5 in 12 innings, while beating No. 19 San Diego 13-4. In 2011, UO beat No. 23 Arizona two of three and swept No. 6 Oregon State at PK Park. Last season, the Ducks swept No. 14 Arizona State in a three-game series, while beating No. 23 Oregon State in a single Tuesday game.
Since baseball was reinstated at Oregon, the Ducks have played the No. 1 team in the country in two separate series on the road. In 2009, UO lost two games at UC Irvine (9-6, 7-4) before taking two of three games (5-4, 8-4, 1-5) at UCLA in 2010.
Ducks in the midst of a 13 games in 17 day stretch: The first 17 days of March see Oregon play 13 games, including a pair of three-game road trips to Southern California that bookend the stretch. The Ducks started the busy schedule with a three-game series at Cal State Fullerton on March 1-3 where they won the Sunday game after losing the first two. Oregon then flew home following the win and swept a two-game set against Cal State Northridge on Monday and Tuesday (March 4-5). UO now hosts Vanderbilt in a three-game series this weekend (March 8-10) before entertaining Texas State for two games next Tuesday and Wednesday (March 12-13). After finishing the seven-game homestand, Oregon heads back on the road where the Ducks will open Pac-12 Conference play at USC with a three-game weekend series (March 15-17). During the 17-day stretch, Oregon won't have games on March 6 (Wednesday), March 7 (Thursday), March 11 (Monday), and March 14 (Thursday). After wrapping up the USC series on March 17, Oregon doesn't play again until Friday, March 22.
Ducks in midst of stretch with six games against ranked teams in 10-day span: Oregon is playing six games in a 10-day stretch against teams ranked in the top 25 poll starting last Friday when the Ducks visited No. 10 Cal State Fullerton (this week's Baseball America). The Ducks returned home for a two-game series against Cal State Northridge on Monday and Tuesday and now open a three-game set against No. 2 Vanderbilt on Friday at PK Park. Oregon's schedule doesn't figure to get any easier with the Ducks facing five Pac-12 teams currently ranked in the Baseball America poll. Fourth-ranked Oregon State (April 9 at OSU, May 17-19 at PK Park, May 21 at OSU), No. 12 UCLA (April 19-21), No. 13 Stanford (April 26-28), No. 20 Arizona (March 22-24) and No. 23 Arizona State (April 5-7) are all ranked in the Baseball America poll.
UO remains high in polls despite losing two of three at Cal State Fullerton: Oregon maintained a high ranking in all the polls released on Monday. The Ducks slipped one spot in the Baseball America poll to 14th, while sliding eight spots in the Collegiate Baseball poll to 14th and six spots in the USA Today Coaches Poll to 13th. Oregon dropped nine spots to 17th in the poll released by Perfect Game and five spots in the NCBWA poll.
Ducks use strong pitching performances to win first two season series: Oregon took two of three from Loyola Marymount at PK Park two weekends ago (Feb. 22-24) to win its second series of the season. UO 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.
Jones gets first start since May 28, 2011: Senior Christian Jones made his first start in 21 months last 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 last 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.
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: Big three-game series this weekend as No. 2 Vanderbilt comes to town to play the 15th-ranked Ducks. Oregon has won three straight after a pair of wins earlier this week against Cal State Northridge. The Ducks swept a three-game series against the Commodores last season in Nashville. In that series, Scott Heineman paced Oregon batting .400 with a home run and four RBI. Aaron Payne hit .273 with three runs scored, two stolen bases and two RBI. The Ducks pressured Vanderbilt on the base paths during the series stealing six bases in eight attempts. On the mound, current Ducks Jake Reed and Brando Tessar each picked up wins over Vandy, while Jimmie Sherfy had two saves striking out six in 4.2 innings. Oregon batted just .209 as a team in Nashville, but the pitching staff finished the three-game series with a low 2.33 ERA.
Oregon heads into the weekend behind a pitching staff that has been strong over the first 13 games. The starters have combined for a 2.66 ERA, while the entire staff has a 2.58 ERA through 13 games. Jake Reed, Cole Irvin, Tommy Thorpe and Jeff Gold have combined for six quality starts in the 13 games, with Irvin (a true freshman) accounting for three of those. The Ducks' bullpen has six saves with Sherfy accounting for four of those and Christian Jones and Garrett Cleavinger getting one save each.
Vanderbilt is riding an 11-game winning streak with its only loss coming in the third game of the season against Long Beach State. The Commodores are hitting .324 as a team with 10 home runs, while the pitching staff has a 2.07 ERA with 135 strike outs in 126 innings. Vince Conde leads Vanderbilt with a .413 batting average, while six other Commodores are hitting over .300. This weekend's three scheduled starters all have ERAs under 1.45 on the season.
HEALY RIDING CONSECUTIVE GAME STREAK; PAYNE'S STREAK COMES TO AN END: At Oregon it's not only death and taxes you can count on. You can also count on Ryon Healy being in the lineup every day. The Ducks first baseman ran his consecutive start streak to 90 games in Oregon's win over Cal State Northridge on Tuesday. The junior has started Oregon's first 13 games this season after starting all 65 of the team's games last year. Overall, Healy has started 88 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.
Healy's streak is 61 games longer than anyone else on the Ducks' team. Second baseman Aaron Payne had his 76-game streak snapped on Monday when he didn't play against Cal State Northridge in the first game of the two-game series with the Matadors. Payne had started the first 11 games this season and all 65 games in 2012 to run his streak to 76 games. Shortstop J.J. Altobelli now has the second longest streak on the team starting Oregon's last 29 games.
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.