EUGENE, Ore. – Oregon is ranked 11th in the preseason poll released by Baseball America today.
Oregon returns six starting position players off the 2013 team, which finished 48-16 and advanced to the NCAA Regionals, as well as all three weekend starters on the mound. Overall, UO returns 12 position players, 10 of 15 pitchers, and two redshirts who could start while boasting one of the top recruiting classes in the country.
Friday starter Tommy Thorpe, Saturday starter Cole Irvin and Sunday starter Jake Reed return after combining for a 25-14 record in 2013 with a 2.69 ERA. Irvin, a sophomore, set an Oregon record in wins with 12 (12-4) while finishing his freshman campaign with a 2.48 ERA. Thorpe topped the starters with a 2.16 ERA while finishing with a 7-5 record. Reed made a team-high 17 starts finishing 6-6 with a 3.50 ERA.
The Ducks lost All-American closer Jimmie Sherfy and reliever Christian Jones to the Major League Baseball draft, but return sophomore Garrett Cleavinger (9-0, 2 saves, 37 appearances) and Darrell Hunter (2-0, 1 save, 28 appearances) to headline what should be a deep bullpen.
Sophomore Mitchell Tolman, junior Scott Heineman, senior Tyler Baumgartner and senior Aaron Payne will lead the Ducks’ offensive attack. Tolman finished third on the team in batting (.315) in 2013, while finishing with 37 RBI. Heineman, who was a Cape Cod League all-star during the summer, batted .278 with 38 RBI, 14 doubles and 12 stolen bases.
Oregon will play 11 games against teams ranked in the top 25 of the poll, including five against No. 2 Oregon State (April 25-27 @OSU; May 6 @PK; May 20 @PK). The Ducks also play three games against No. 4 Cal State Fullerton (Feb. 28-March 2) at PK Park in Eugene, and three games at No. 12 UCLA (May 16-18).