Ducks opens 15-game home stand against Portland on Tuesday: Oregon opens the home portion of its season Tuesday when the Ducks host Portland in a non-conference game at PK Park. The game is the first of 15 straight in Eugene stretching from Feb. 25 to March 23. Oregon swept a four-game season series from Portland last season winning two in Eugene and two in Portland. Tuesday’s game is the first of four between the two teams in 2014.

Ducks 3-2 in home openers in modern era: Oregon will look to win its fourth home opener in the last six seasons when the Ducks host Portland on Tuesday. Oregon opened with home wins in 2009, 2010 and 2012, while losing home openers last season and in 2011.

Top 10 battle starts: Oregon, No. 9 in the Baseball America Poll, will open a three-game series against No. 5 Cal State Fullerton on Friday at PK Park. The Ducks and Titans were both national seeds last season after facing each other in Fullerton in early March. The Titans won two of three against UO, with the Ducks winning the season finale.

Oregon head coach George Horton will lead the Ducks into the anticipated early season three-game showdown with his former team, Cal State Fullerton. 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 five times, winning three of the five. In 2010, the Ducks opened the season with a 7-3 win over the fourth-ranked Titans. In 2012, Oregon played Fullerton on the second day of the NCAA Eugene Regional and handed CSF a 7-5 loss.  The Titans exacted some revenge winning the first two games of last season’s three game series.

Oregon off to best start since 1963: The Ducks have jumped out to a 7-0 record to start the season, the best start since Oregon won its first 10 games in 1963. The Ducks opened the season with a four-game sweep at Hawaii and then won three straight at Loyola Marymount last weekend. Oregon’s best start to open a season since the program was resurrected before the 2009 season was a 4-0 start last season. The Ducks opened the 2010 season with a 2-0 start, while winning their season-opener in 2009. The Ducks dropped their season opener in 2012 and dropped their first two games in 2011.

Horton gets first milestone, eying two more: Oregon head coach George Horton started the 2014 season within reach of three career milestones this season and the Ducks’ skipper claimed the first one in the series finale at Hawaii. In his 23rd season as a head coach, Horton claimed his 900th career win when Oregon completed a four-game sweep against the Rainbow Warriors. He opened his career at Cerritos College and compiled 226 wins in six seasons (1985-90) at the California junior college. Horton made the jump to Division I as an assistant at Cal State Fullerton in 1991 before becoming the Titans head coach in 1997. Over the next 11 seasons Horton won 490 games at CSF, including the 2004 national championship, before leaving to restart the program at Oregon. Horton has added 187 wins in his five seasons at Oregon moving within 23 wins of 700 Division I victories and within 13 wins of 200 victories at Oregon.

Ducks picked second in preseason Pac-12 Coaches Poll: The Oregon Ducks were picked to finish second in the 2014 Pac-12 Preseason Baseball Coaches’ Poll. UO received 86 points behind only preseason favorite Oregon State. The Ducks won a school-record 48 games in 2013 before ending their season in the Regionals in Eugene. UO returns six position player starters this season behind a pitching staff that features first-team All-Pac-12 pick Tommy Thorpe, who finished his sophomore season 7-5 with a 2.16 ERA. Overall, Oregon returns nine pitchers off last year’s team that finished second in the Pac-12.

Ducks ranked in all five polls, including four top 10 rankings: Oregon heads into Portland ranked in all five college baseball polls. The Ducks highest ranking is third in the Collegiate Baseball poll, while UO checks in fifth in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA), while ranking seventh in the Perfect Game poll and the USA Today coaches poll (which only has released a preseason poll). The Ducks finished the 2013 season 15th in the coaches poll and 17th in the other four polls after winning a school-record 48. 

Ducks schedule featured a number of ranked teams: Oregon’s schedule looks to be one of the most challenging in the country. The Ducks will play 20 games against teams ranked in the preseason top 25 in at least one of the polls, including eight games against teams ranked in the top four of all five polls. The Ducks meet their first ranked team nine games into the season when they host Cal State Fullerton in a three-game series at PK Park starting Feb. 28. The Titans entered the season ranked No. 1 in three (Collegiate Baseball, USA Today Coaches, NCBWA) of the five polls, while opening play second in the Perfect Game poll and fourth in the Baseball America poll. UO will play Oregon State, ranked as high as No. 2 and as low as No. 4, five times during the season with a three-game league series in Corvallis (April 25-27) and two non-conference games in Eugene (May 6, May 20). Oregon faces defending national champion UCLA, ranked as high as eighth, in a three game series near the end of Pac-12 action (May 16-18), while playing Arizona State, ranked in four of the five polls, in Tempe (May 9-11). The Ducks also have three games against Stanford, ranked in the USA Today and Collegiate Baseball polls, on the road (March 28-30) as well as Arizona, ranked 24th by Collegiate Baseball, at PK Park (May 2-4).

Ducks 20-12 all-time against ranked teams at PK Park: Oregon is no stranger to hosting ranked teams at PK Park. During the program’s five seasons playing in the park, the Ducks have played 32 games against teams ranked in the Baseball America top 25 and compiled an impressive 20-12 record in those games. 

Ducks will play 18 TV games: The Ducks will make 18 appearances on television during the 2014 season. Eight of the team’s 32 games at PK Park will be broadcast by the Pac-12 Networks while five of the Ducks’ 10 Pac-12 series will have all three games televised. The Pac-12 Networks will broadcast all three games at Washington (April 4-6), the three-game series against Arizona (May 2-4) in Eugene, the three-game set at defending National Champion UCLA (May 16-17) and the final series of the season against California (May 22-24) at PK Park. Oregon’s three-game conference series at Oregon State (April 25-27) will also be broadcast with the Pac-12 Networks televising the first two games and ESPNU airing the Sunday series finale. In all, five Civil War games against Oregon State will be televised with the Pac-12 Networks broadcasting non-conference games in Eugene on May 6 and May 20. The Ducks’ game at Arizona State on May 11 rounds out the 18-game television schedule. 

Irvin out for season: SO LHP Cole Irvin will miss the 2014 season after undergoing surgery on February 10. Irvin set an Oregon school record with 12 wins during his freshman season while claiming freshman All-American honors. The 6-foot-4 lefty went 12-3 with a 2.48 ERA in 16 starts.  He pitched a team-high 116.0 innings and struck out 50 while walking just 22.

Jeff Gold gets start against Portland: Senior Jeff Gold will be on the mound for Tuesday’s home opener against Portland. Gold boasts the most experience among the final three starters with 20 starts and 39 appearances. He has a 14-4 career record with a 3.09 ERA. Gold picked up the load start by the Ducks’ rotation at Hawaii in the opening weekend of play allowing just one run on five hits in six innings.

Thorpe returns to anchor Ducks’ pitching staff: Oregon heads into the Cal State Fullerton series against the Titans with just one of their three weekend starters from 2013 scheduled to start a game against the despite all three being on the 2014 roster. JR LHP Tommy Thorpe will start on Friday after serving as the team’s Friday night starter for the last half of last season and at Hawaii and at Loyola Marymount. Thorpe picked up his first win of the season last Friday beating LMU.

Oregon will be without last year’s Saturday starter for the entire season. SO LHP Cole Irvin underwent surgery on February 10 and will return to the mound in 2015. JR RHP Jake Reed, last season’s Sunday starter, has moved to the bullpen where he will replace two-time All-American Jimmie Sherfy as the team’s closer. Reed picked up a save and a win at Hawaii in his first weekend as a reliever, and added two saves at LMU.

Spencer and Krook rounded out rotation in Loyola Marymount series: In addition to Tommy Thorpe, Oregon sent two pitchers to the mound with varying degrees of experience. FR LHP Matt Krook got the start in game two on Saturday, and SO LHP Jordan Spencer got the ball in game three on Sunday. Spencer made his 10th career start. The Beaverton native, who has thrown the only no-hitter in recent Oregon history, gave up three runs on six hits in 4.1 innings pitched and got a no decision. Krook made his second start. He has been very effective in both of his much-anticipated Oregon starts, allowing just three earned runs in 13.1 innings while fanning 19. The freshman was a first-round draft pick, the number 35 overall pick, by the Miami Marlins in the 2013 draft.

Reed moves to closer role after two years as starter: After two years and 34 starts as a member of the Oregon starting rotation, JR RHP Jake Reed is coming out of the bullpen for the first time in his career. Reed inherited the closer job from two-time All-American Jimmie Sherfy who compiled 40 saves over the last two seasons. Reed was successful in his first two weekends out of the bullpen picking up a save and a win at Hawaii and two saves at Loyola Marymount. Reed heads into this week with a 1-0 record with a 0.00 ERA and three saves. He has allowed three hits in 5.1 innings while fanning five.

Cleavinger and Hunter look to continue success in bullpen: While the Oregon starting rotation and closer role have new faces this season, two guys who succeeded in getting games from the starters to the closer return. SO LHP Garrett Cleavinger will once again handle the eighth-inning duties after going 9-0 with a 1.24 ERA and two saves in that role last season.  Cleavinger has picked up two wins in his first four appearances of the season while striking out eight hitters (tied for second on the team) in 3.2 innings pitched. SR RHP Darrell Hunter also has two wins after two series. The graduate student has struck out four hitters in five innings pitched.

Oregon’s pitching staff features two college graduates: It’s not often a college baseball team can send a pair of graduates to the mound, but that is the case at Oregon. Seniors Jeff Gold and Darrell Hunter both graduated in 2013 but returned to school to exhaust their eligibility. Hunter, who was granted a sixth season by the NCAA last September, has a degree in sociology and is working on a Master’s Degree in education. Gold graduated in four years with a degree in general social sciences and is working on a music technology minor.

Four Ducks named to Baseball America top prospects lists: Four Oregon Ducks have been named to Baseball America’s top 50 prospects list by class. JR INF/OF Scott Heineman, SO LHP Cole Irvin, FR LHP Matt Krook and FR OF Austin Grebeck each have been named to the respective class lists. Krook (San Mateo, Calif./St. Ignatius HS) is the highest ranked of the four claiming the No. 7 spot on the freshman list. Irvin (Yorba Linda, Calif./Servite HS) ranks 17th on the sophomore class list, while Scott Heineman (Pacific Palisades, Calif./ Crespi Carmelite HS) is 26th on the junior list and Austin Grebeck (Laguna Hills, Calif./Mater Dei HS) is 46th on the freshman list.

Heineman, who will start the season at third base for the Ducks, batted .278 with four home runs and 38 RBI while playing the outfield as a sophomore. Heineman was ranked as the 19th best prospect in the prestigious Cape Cod League after last summer where he batted .304 in 38 games leading the Brewster Whitecaps to a 14-29-1 record. He led the Whitecaps in at bats (148), hits (45), doubles (8), triples (3) and stolen bases (24). In the season finale for Brewster on August 4, Heineman played all nine positions in a 5-1 loss to Harwich. He started at catcher, moved to first base, then second base, shortstop, third base, left field, center field, right field and finally pitcher (0.1 IP, 1 K, 1 H, 0 R). Heineman, who was named a starter in the Cape Cod League All-Star Game, led the league in stolen bases and triples, while finishing 11th in runs, 16th in doubles and 18th in batting average.

Irvin, who underwent surgery on Feb. 10 and miss the 2014 season, set an Oregon record as a freshman finishing with 12 wins while earning honorable mention all-conference recognition. He finished with a 12-3 record and a 2.48 ERA with four complete games. The left-hander finished second in program history in innings pitched (116.0) while also ranking in a tie for third all-time in starts (16). He was 7-3 with a 2.88 ERA in Pac-12 games with two complete games. Irvin was named the Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week twice as well as the National Collegiate Baseball Writers of America (NCBWA) National Player of the Week once. He earned a spot on the Eugene Regional All-Tournament Team after throwing a complete game where he allowed just one run on six hits while striking out nine.

Krook was the 35th overall pick in the 2013 MLB Draft but chose to come to Oregon instead of starting his professional career. The lefty was named first-team All-America and first-team all-region by Perfect Game after finishing his senior season with a 1.65 ERA with 85 strikeouts in 59.1 innings pitched.

Grebeck was a first-team all-league and second-team all-state pick while being named to the Orange County Register All-County Team. He batted .407 (37-for-91) with a home run and 11 RBI during his senior season.

Payne and Heineman among career leaders on offense; while Reed, Thorpe, and Gold rank on career pitching lists: A number of Ducks are already among the all-time leaders in the Oregon career record book. SR 2B Aaron Payne is the school’s all-time leader in hit by pitches (46) and is among the leaders in games started (6th; 135), triples (7th; 7) walks (8th; 59), and at bats (8th; 478). JR INF/OF Scott Heineman is 10th all-time in multiple-RBI games, while ranking sixth all-time in outfield assists.

On the mound, SR RHP Jeff Gold, SO LHP Cole Irvin, JR RHP Jake Reed, and JR LHP Tommy Thorpe rank among the all-time leaders. Reed is ranked in four categories including pickoffs (3rd; 8), starts (3rd; 34), innings pitched (4th, 219), wins (8th; 15) and saves (7th, 3). Thorpe is among the leaders in runners picked off (4th, 5), starts (5th, 19), appearances (7th; 53) and saves (10th, 1). Irvin is ranked in two categories, runners picked off (4th; 5) and starts (7th; 16), while Gold is in the top five in career starts (5th; 20). Garrett Cleavinger (7th; 2), Clayton Porter (7th, 2), Darrell Hunter (10th; 1) Derek Smith (10th; 1) and all rank in the career saves top 10.

Two Ducks named to preseason All-America Teams: SO LHP Garrett Cleavinger and SO LHP Cole Irvin were named to Louisville Slugger’s Preseason All-America Third Team Collegiate Baseball Newspaper announced. Cleavinger (Baldwin City, Kan./Lawrence HS) finished last season with a 9-0 record, two saves and a 1.24 ERA in 37 appearances out of the bullpen for the Ducks. He allowed just 20 hits in 43.2 innings while striking out 57 and walking 24. The lefty matched a school record for lowest opponent batting average (.137), while finishing second all-time in single-season appearances and third in single-season wins. He was dominant in Pac-12 Conference play with a 4-0 record and a 1.77 ERA, while allowing just eight hits and striking out 24 in 20.1 innings. Cleavinger also put together a strong Eugene Regional Tournament allowing no runs in 5.1 innings pitched in three appearances. He struck out seven and walked one in the tournament.

Irvin (Yorba Linda, Calif./Servite HS) set an Oregon record as a freshman finishing with 12 wins while earning honorable mention all-conference recognition. He finished with a 12-3 record and a 2.48 ERA with four complete games. The left-hander, who will miss the entire 2014 season, finished second in program history in innings pitched (116.0) while also ranking in a tie for third all-time in starts (16). He was 7-3 with a 2.88 ERA in Pac-12 games with two complete games. Irvin was named the Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week twice as well as the National Collegiate Baseball Writers of America (NCBWA) National Player of the Week once. He earned a spot on the Eugene Regional All-Tournament Team after throwing a complete game where he allowed just one run on six hits while striking out nine. Irvin previously was named to the NCBWA Preseason All-America Third Team as well.