Ducks visit Cal for a three-game weekend series: The Ducks will head to the Bay Area this weekend where they will play a three-game series at California starting on Friday at 6 p.m. Oregon and Cal have split the six games played between the two teams since 2009 with the Ducks sweeping last season’s three-game series in Eugene (4-1, 3-2, and 7-1). The Bears won two of three games between the two teams in 2009, 2010, and 2011.
Ducks in midst of eight-game road swing: Oregon opened an eight-game road swing last weekend in Tempe where the Ducks dropped two of three against Arizona State. UO continued the trip with a win at Oregon State on Tuesday. Oregon plays four more games on the road before returning home next weekend against UCLA. After playing three games at Cal this weekend, the Ducks travel to Portland next Tuesday. Oregon is 9-5 on the road this season.
Payne’s ninth inning heroics lead Ducks past Beavers in Corvallis: Junior second baseman Aaron Payne had a two-run triple in the top of the ninth inning to break a 3-3 tie at Oregon State on Tuesday. The Ducks went on to claim a 6-3 non-conference win after Ryon Healy added a sacrifice fly that scored Payne from third. Jimmie Sherfy picked up his ninth save of the season pitching a perfect ninth inning. Freshman Garrett Cleavinger got the win after holding the Beavers scoreless in the eighth inning. Payne finished the game 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored. Tyler Baumgartner went 2-for-4 with a RBI.
Oregon’s offense produces at Arizona State but pitching has a rare off weekend: The Ducks, who headed to Arizona State last weekend batting .249 as a team, had a big offensive output in Tempe despite losing two of three. Oregon hit .357 as a team with 45 hits, eight doubles, a triple and a home run. UO raised its team batting average 14 points to .263 against the Sun Devils. Eight different Ducks batted over .300 in the series with seven of those having at least eight at bats. Freshman Mitchell Tolman led the attack going 7-for-14 at the plate with a double, a triple, two RBI and two runs scored. He had a team-best .714 slugging percentage and raised his batting average from .325 to .370. Aaron Payne also batted .500 going 4-for-8 at the plate, but his .733 on-base percentage during the weekend with five walks and two hit by pitches helped him raise his OBP from .330 to .379, while his batting average climbed from .205 to .229. Ryon Healy boosted his batting average from .345 to .357 going 7-for-16 with seven runs scored. Scott Heineman (.385), J.J. Altobelli (.333), Shaun Chase (.333), Tyler Baumgartner (.313) and Steven Packard (.300) all hit at least .300.
Heineman has career game in win over ASU: A number of Ducks had a big game in Oregon’s 16-3 win over ASU on Sunday, but for Scott Heineman it might have been the best game of his two-year career. The Ducks’ outfielder went 4-for-6 with three RBI, two stolen bases and a run scored. Heineman set new career bests during the game in hits, RBI and stolen bases. In all, 11 new career highs were set by Oregon batters or base runners in the win over the Sun Devils.
Ducks play 10 TV games: Oregon will make 10 regular season appearances on national television during the 2013 season. 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)
Sherfy, Healy, Payne and Irvin lead Ducks among national leaders with top 20 rankings; Oregon leads nation in fielding percentage: Jimmie Sherfy, Ryon Healy, Aaron Payne and Cole Irvin all rank among the top 20 in one category in the national ranking. Sherfy ranks ninth in the nation in saves with eight, four behind national leader Tyler Rogers of Austin Peay. Irvin is 13th in wins with 6 and trails the national co-leaders who have eight wins. Healy is 14th in doubles with 13, five behind Delaware’s Jimmy Yizzo. Payne is 18th in sacrifice bunts with nine, behind Arkansas State’s Alex Potts who leads the country with 18. Payne also ranks 27th in sacrifice bunts per game, while Healy is 24th in doubles per game, 35th in total bases and 55th in hits. Irvin is tied with fellow starting pitchers Jake Reed and Tommy Thorpe for 17th in starts with eight, just two behind the co-leaders who have 10.As a team, Oregon leads the country in fielding percentage at .988, while ranking in the top 60 in a total of 11 categories. The Ducks are ninth in sacrifice bunts (42) to give the team two top-10 rankings. UO also ranks among the national leaders in win-loss percentage (18th; .742), hits allowed per nine innings (35th; 7.85), ERA (37th; 3.02), WHIP (44th; 1.24) stolen bases (47th; 46), and hit by pitch (52nd; 42), doubles (55th; 60) and stolen bases per game (55th; 1.48).
UO in the polls: Oregon slipped a couple spots in each of the national polls released Monday after losing the series at Arizona State last weekend. The Ducks dropped five spots in the Baseball America poll to 16th, while moving down one spot in the Collegiate Baseball poll to ninth, two spots in the USA Today Coaches Poll to ninth, four spots in the NCBWA poll to ninth and five spots to 16th in the Perfect Game poll.
Ducks schedule features a number of ranked teams, including No. 24 Arizona State this week: Oregon will play its fourth ranked team of the season Tuesday when it visits No. 6 Oregon State for a non-conference game. The Ducks have already played nine games against ranked teams, including six games in a 10-day stretch starting March 1 when the Ducks visited No. 4 (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. 2 Vanderbilt. Oregon just wrapped up a three-game series at No. 15 Arizona State.
Oregon’s schedule doesn’t figure to get any easier with the Ducks facing two more Pac-12 teams (including OSU) currently ranked in the Baseball America poll later this season. In addition to Tuesday, Oregon plays sixth-ranked Oregon State four more times (May 17-19 at PK Park, May 21 at OSU), as well as playing No. 17 UCLA (April 19-21). Stanford and Arizona, 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 as high as 23rd in the Collegiate Baseball poll. Arizona, who the Ducks swept in March, is 25th in the Collegiate Baseball poll.
Irvin named NCBWA National Pitcher of the Week and Pac-12 Conference Pitcher of the Week: Freshman Cole Irvin was named the NCBWA National Pitcher of the Week and the Pac-12 Conference Pitcher of the Week after throwing a shutout against Washington. Irvin pitched Oregon’s first complete-game shutout of the season and only allowed two runners to advance past first base in the Ducks’ 6-0 victory over Washington on March 30. He allowed just four hits, while striking out a season-high 11 batters and registering one walk. The Yorba Linda, Calif. product found his rhythm early, fanning seven batters through the first four innings, and never let up. He struck out one in the sixth, another in the seventh, and notched a pair of punch outs in the ninth.
Sherfy fourth on active career saves list: Oregon closer Jimmie Sherfy ranks fourth among the active career save leaders with 27. The junior moved ahead of Louisiana Tech’s Caleb Dudley with a save on Tuesday at Oregon State. He trails only La Salle’s Pat Christensen (37 saves), Texas’ Cory Knebel (34 saves) and Ole Miss’ Brett Huber (33 saves). Sherfy is the career leader at Oregon and set the single-season Ducks’ record in 2012.
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
Healy delivers first walk-off home run in modern history at Oregon: Since Oregon reinstated baseball before the 2009 season; no Oregon Duck had hit a walk-off home run until March 28. Ryon Healy became the first to do it when he lined a two-run home run over the left field wall in the bottom of the 10th inning to give UO a 5-3 win over the Washington Huskies. Healy’s blast came two innings after he singled in the tying run to eventually send the game into extra innings.
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.
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.