Ducks host Washington in three-game series starting on Thursday: Oregon will look to remain in first place in the Pac-12 Conference when the Ducks host Washington in a three-game series starting on Thursday night and finishing on Saturday night. UO enters the series in a three-way tie for first place with Oregon State and UCLA at 5-1. The Beavers take a break from conference play this weekend traveling to San Diego for three games, while UCLA plays three games in Tempe against Arizona State.
Easter and TV game lead to different game days and times: The normal Friday, Saturday, Sunday league schedule is interrupted this week because of Easter on Sunday. As a result the Ducks and Huskies will start their three-game series on Thursday night and wrap it up Saturday night. The first two games of the series (Thursday and Friday) will start at 6 p.m. Saturday’s game will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network and will start at 7 p.m. instead of the normal 2 p.m. start.
Ducks play 10 TV games: Oregon will make its second of 10 regular season appearances on national television on Saturday when the Ducks host Washington on the Pac-12 Networks. Oregon plays a total of eight games on the Pac-12 Networks during the season, while also playing one game on ESPNU and one game on the Big 12 Network. (See complete TV schedule on page 6) Roxy Bernstein will handle play-by-play duties Saturday, while former Major League Baseball player Kevin Stocker provides color commentary.
Ducks look to avenge series loss at Washington in 2012: Oregon will be looking to turn the tables on Washington this weekend during their three-game series at PK Park. Last year the Ducks lost two of three games in Seattle to the Huskies marking just one of three Pac-12 series’ Oregon didn’t win in 2012. The Ducks struggled at the plate at Washington batting just .159 (17-for-107) in the three games. Oregon had just a .204 on base percentage and a .224 slugging percentage against the Huskies, with 12 of the 17 hits being singles. The Ducks lost game one 8-3 and game two 5-0, before rallying to win game three 3-2 in 13 innings. Oregon’s pitchers finished the series with a 3.10 ERA, but Washington countered with a 1.45 ERA.
Ducks sweep defending national champion Arizona: Oregon opened its seven-game homestand last weekend with a three-game sweep of Arizona, the defending national champions. The Ducks picked up a 2-1 win in game one on Friday, a 5-1 win in game two on Saturday and a 7-6 victory in game three on Sunday. Oregon hit .274 as a team with Tyler Baumgartner (.500, 1 double, 1 triple), Brett Thomas (.375, 4 runs scored), Ryon Healy (.300, 1 home run, 5 RBI), and Scott Heineman (.300) all batting .300 or better. The Ducks pitching staff limited Arizona’s potent offense finishing with a 2.33 ERA. All three Oregon starters -- Jake Reed, Tommy Thorpe, Cole Irvin -- picked up wins. Jimmie Sherfy had a save, while the Ducks bullpen didn’t allow a run in the first eight innings of work before giving up three runs in the ninth inning of game three. The sweep was the second series win for Oregon, coming on the heels of the Ducks winning two of three to open league play at USC.
Healy, Sherfy and Payne lead Ducks among national leaders with top 10 rankings: Ryon Healy, Jimmie Sherfy and Aaron Payne all rank among the top 10 in one category in the national ranking. Healy is ninth in the nation in doubles with 11, five behind national leader Dillon Haupt of San Diego. He is also 23rd in doubles per game with 0.46 per game and 47th in total bases with 47. Sherfy ranks fourth in the nation in saves with seven, two behind national leader Tyler Rogers of Austin Peay. Payne is 10th in sacrifice bunts with eight, six behind Arkansas State’s Alex Potts who leads the country. Payne also ranks 20th in sacrifice bunts per game.
Oregon has a number of other players who rank among the nation’s leaders. Pitcher Jeff Gold is in the top 60 in strikeout-to-walk ratio (19th; 8.67) and in walks allowed per nine innings (30th, 0.92). Weekend starters Jake Reed, Tommy Thorpe and Cole Irvin are all tied for 19th with six games started, while Irvin is 44th in wins with four.
As a team, Oregon ranks in the top 60 in eight different categories, including two top 10 rankings. The Ducks are third in the nation in fielding percentage (0.988) and are fourth in sacrifice bunts (34). UO also ranks among the national leaders in sacrifice flies (33rd; 13), earned run average (35th; 2.92), hit by pitch (43rd; 34), WHIP (52nd; 1.26), hits allowed per nine innings (54th; 8.11) and doubles (59th; 45).
UO climbs in polls: Oregon moved up in all five of the polls released on Monday after sweeping defending national champion Arizona last weekend. The Ducks climbed one spot in the Baseball America poll to 12th, while moving up five spots in the Collegiate Baseball poll to 10th, three spots in the USA Today Coaches Poll to ninth, four spots in the NCBWA poll to eighth, and five spots in the Perfect Game poll to 11th.
Ducks schedule features a number of ranked teams: Oregon played six games in a 10-day stretch against teams ranked in the top 25 poll starting March 1 when the Ducks visited No. 5 (this week’s Baseball America ranking) Cal State Fullerton. The Ducks returned home for a two-game series against Cal State Northridge and then played three games against No. 3 Vanderbilt. Oregon’s schedule doesn’t figure to get any easier with the Ducks facing two Pac-12 teams and one West Coast Conference team currently ranked in the Baseball America poll later this season. Second-ranked Oregon State (April 9 at OSU, May 17-19 at PK Park, May 21 at OSU), No. 7 UCLA (April 19-21) and No. 21 Gonzaga (May 14-15) are all ranked in the Baseball America Poll. Stanford and Arizona State, who both dropped out of the BA poll in the last few weeks, are ranked in at least one of the other polls. Stanford, who Oregon plays April 26-28, is ranked as high as 23rd in the NCBWA poll. Arizona State (April 5-7) is as high as 24th in the Perfect Game poll. Arizona, who the Ducks swept last weekend, was ranked in all five polls earlier this season but has dropped out after being swept by Oregon State and Oregon in back-to-back weekends.
Ducks use strong pitching to get off to quick start: Oregon has used solid pitching to get out to a 19-6 start heading into this week’s games against Portland and Washington. Oregon’s staff has combined for a 2.84 ERA while striking out 179 hitters in 222 innings with just 82 walks. UO has used seven different starters in the first 25 games, with those pitchers combining for a 3.31 ERA. Jeff Gold, who has started three games and appeared in relief three times, leads the group of starters with a 1.23 ERA. In his three starts, Gold has allowed just four earned run in 17.2 innings pitched for a 2.04 ERA. Friday starter Jake Reed leads the team with 30 strikeouts in 36.2 innings pitched. Saturday starter Tommy Thorpe has a 3.28 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 35.2 innings. Sunday starter, and true freshman, Cole Irvin has a 3.69 ERA with the Ducks winning five of his six starts. The Ducks’ bullpen has been even better compiling a 2.19 ERA over 82.1 innings. All-American closer Jimmie Sherfy (1.65 ERA) has seven saves and a win, while striking out 24 in 16.1 innings pitched. True freshman Garrett Cleavinger has two saves and junior Christian Jones has one. Darrell Hunter is second on the team with 13.2 innings pitched out of the bullpen and has a 1.98 ERA.
Jones gets first start since May 28, 2011: Senior Christian Jones made his first start in 21 months Feb. 26 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 13.0 innings while allowing just four hits with 15 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 a 3-1 win on Feb. 26, 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 14-6 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 20 games against teams ranked in the Baseball America top 25 and compiled an impressive 14-6 record in those games -- a .700 winning percentage. Oregon hosted No. 2 Vanderbilt March 8-10 and won one of three against the Commodores. The Ducks dropped games one (4-1) and two (4-2) before winning the series finale (7-5) on Sunday. Vanderbilt was 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 and Vanderbilt 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.
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.
Sherfy Preseason Honors
2013 USA Baseball Preseason Golden Spikes Award Watch List
NCBWA Stopper of the Year Watch List
NCBWA Preseason 1st-Team All-America
Louisville Slugger Preseason 1st-Team All-America
Perfect Game Preseason 2nd-Team All-America
Sherfy 2012 Postseason Honors
NCBWA Stopper of the Year Finalist
ABCA/Rawlings 1st-Team All-America
Baseball America 2nd-Team All-America
Perfect Game 2nd-Team All-America
NCBWA 2nd-Team All-America
Louisville Slugger 3rd-Team All-America
Pac-12 1st-Team All-Conference
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.