Ducks open home schedule Friday with first of weekend series vs. Loyola Marymount: Oregon’s home schedule gets underway Feb. 22 when the Ducks host Loyola Marymount in the opener of a three-game series at 6 p.m. at PK Park. The Ducks and Lions will also play single games Saturday (Feb. 23) at 2 p.m. and Sunday (Feb. 24) at Noon.
The three-game series against LMU is the beginning of a 29-game home schedule for the Ducks which includes five Pac-12 series. UO hosts Arizona, Washington, UCLA, Stanford and Oregon State in league play. The Ducks also entertain nationally-ranked Vanderbilt March 8-10 at PK Park. The Commodores are ranked as high as second in the nation and are in the top five in four of the five preseason polls.
Oregon’s home schedule includes a pair of seven-game home stands with both coming in March. UO entertains Cal State Northridge (2 games), Vanderbilt (3 games) and Texas State (2 games) March 4-13. The Ducks host Arizona (3 games), Portland (1 game) and Washington (3 games) March 22-30.
Ducks open series with four-game sweep at Hawaii: Oregon opened the 2013 season with a four-game sweep at Hawaii during the season’s opening weekend. The Ducks picked up a 3-0 win on Friday in the opener, a 5-4 win on Saturday, a 9-5 victory on Sunday and a 4-2 win on Monday. The four-game sweep of the series was the first by a Duck team since baseball was reinstated before the 2009 season. Oregon used a strong performance from a deep pitching staff in the four wins. Eleven Oregon pitchers combined for a 2.50 ERA. The group allowed just 33 hits in 36 innings, while striking out 25. Oregon’s four starters allowed just four runs in 22.2 innings pitched (1.99 ERA) on 21 hits.
Offensively, the Ducks batted .293 with 15 extra base hits and 20 RBI. The team combined for a .429 slugging percentage and a .372 on base percentage. First baseman Ryon Healy led Oregon in the four games hitting .533 with a home run, four RBI and three doubles. He had a .933 slugging percentage and a .588 on base percentage. Shortstop J.J. Altobelli hit .462 in the series, with a double and four RBI. Second baseman Aaron Payne batted .400 with two RBI. Oregon also excelled defensively, committing just one error in 36 innings and turning three double plays.
Healy named Pac-12 Player of the Week: Junior first baseman Ryon Healy has been named the Pac-12 Player of the Week for Feb. 11-17, the conference office announced on Tuesday. Healy led the Ducks to a season-opening series sweep of Hawaii over the weekend. He batted .533 (8-for-15) with two multi-hit games and wrapped up the series with .588 on base percentage and a .933 slugging percentage. The West Hills, Calif. native produced a career-best four hits in a 9-5 win over the Rainbows on Sunday, going 4-for-5 with three RBI and a run scored. On Saturday, Healy went 3-for-3 with a career-high three doubles with one RBI and one run scored. In the opener, he went 1-for-3 and stole a base. This is Healy’s first career Pac-12 Player of the Week honor and the 8th all-time selection for Oregon.
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.
UO moves up in polls after Hawaii sweep; Ducks ranked as high as No. 5 in two polls: Oregon moved up in all four polls that released new rankings this week (the first USA Today Coaches Poll regular-season ranking won’t be released until next Monday). The Ducks moved up one spot in the Collegiate Baseball poll to fifth, while jumping three spots to number five in the NCBWA poll. UO climbed from ninth to eighth in the Perfect Game poll, while moving up to 14th from 15th in the Baseball America poll.
Oregon in midst of another tough schedule in 2013: The Ducks opened what figures to be another tough season with four wins at Hawaii last weekend. Oregon will play seven teams currently ranked in the top 25, including five teams from the Pac-12. UO first plays a team ranked in the top 25 when the Ducks travel to Cal State Fullerton (March 1-3) to play George Horton’s old team in a three-game series. The Titans, the defending Big West Conference champions, are ranked as high as 19th after one week of the season. Five days later Oregon entertains No. 2 Vanderbilt (March 8-10) at PK Park. UO opens the home portion of conference action against defending national champion and 10th-ranked Arizona (March 22-24). The Ducks also play at No. 22 Arizona State (April 5-7), vs. No. 6 Oregon State (April 9 at OSU, May 17-19 at PK Park, May 21 at OSU), while hosting both No. 5 UCLA (April 19-21) and No. 6 Stanford (April 26-28).
Ducks coming off best season in program history: Oregon heads into the 2013 season with momentum thanks to a record-setting 2012 campaign. The Ducks finished the season last year with a school record 46 wins and the school’s first ever Super Regional appearance in the modern era. UO finished the season ranked in all five national polls, including a No. 11 ranking by Baseball America. Oregon also finished with 19 Pac-12 Conference wins, the most in program history, and UO’s third-place conference finish was the best for the program since taking second place in the Northern Division in 1978. Senior Alex Keudell’s 11 wins set a new UO single-season record, and he was the first Duck in program history to be named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year. Sophomore Jimmie Sherfy’s 19 saves set new Oregon single-season and all-time records, and ranked second in the nation.
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 also has 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: The Ducks got off to a hot start sweeping a four-game series in Hawaii. Oregon returns home for four games (3 vs. Loyola Marymount/1 against Portland) before heading back on the road next weekend to face Cal State Fullerton, head coach George Horton’s former team. Oregon was impressive in all three phases of the game at Hawaii. The Ducks batted .293 with 15 extra base hits in the four games. UO pitchers combined for a 2.50 ERA, with the starters combining for an impressive 1.99 ERA in 22.2 innings of work. Defensively, Oregon committed just one error in 36 innings.
Starters Jake Reed, Tommy Thorpe, Cole Irvin and Jeff Gold gave the Ducks strong starts allowing Oregon to play with the lead for most of the four games in Hawaii. UO never trailed by more than a run in the four-game series. The Ducks had three players hit over .400 in the series with Pac-12 Player of the Week Ryon Healy leading the way with a .533 average with four extra base hits (three doubles/1 home run) and four RBI. Shortstop J.J. Altobelli batted .462 with four RBI, while second baseman Aaron Payne hit .400 with two RBI and two stolen bases.
Loyola Marymount comes into this weekend’s three games with a 2-2 record. The Lions have been tested playing all four games against Pac-12 competition. LMU opened the season with a 2-1 series win over Utah despite dropping the opener 6-3. The Lions rebounded winning a 1-0 game and an 11-2 decision over the Utes, before dropping a 2-1 nail-biter at USC on Wednesday night. Cullen Mahoney leads LMU batting .462, while both Zac Fujimoto (.333) and Kevin Garcia (.308) are hitting over .300. Loyola Marymount will send three right handers to the mound as starters this weekend. Colin Welmon (0-1, 3.60) gets the nod in game one, while Trevor Megill (1-0, 0.00) goes in game two and Aaron Griffin (1-0, 1.12) takes the mound to start game three.
HEALY AND PAYNE RIDING CONSECUTIVE GAME STREAK: First baseman Ryon Healy and second baseman Aaron Payne were the only two Ducks last season to start all 65 games during Oregon’s run to within one game of the College World Series. Payne started all 65 games at second base, while Healy started UO’s last 54 games at first base. Healy opened the 2012 season at first base starting the first four games, before moving to designated hitter for seven games.
Both players extended their streaks starting all four games in Hawaii during the season-opening four-game set. Overall, Healy has started 81 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. Payne ran his consecutive starts streak to 69 at Hawaii.