Ducks start eight-game road swing at No. 24 Arizona State: Oregon heads to Arizona State this weekend to open a stretch of eight straight games away from PK Park in Eugene. The Ducks play ASU Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Packard Stadium in Tempe, before visiting Oregon State next Tuesday, California April 12-14, and Portland on April 16.  Oregon heads into the swing with a 7-3 road record. The Ducks are batting .275 on the road while the pitching staff has a 3.21 ERA.

Ducks swept Arizona State in 2012: Oregon swept a three-game series from Arizona State at PK Park last season, beating the Sun Devils 1-0 in game one, 3-1 in game two and 4-3 in game three. The Ducks batted just .229 as a team, but Kyle Garlick (.400, 2 HR, 2 RBI), Ryon Healy (.400) and Aaron Jones (.364, 2 2B, 4 RBI) all hit over .350. UO’s pitching staff finished with a 1.33 ERA, with starters Alex Keudell, Jake Reed and Brando Tessar combining to pitch 22.2 innings of scoreless baseball. 

Ducks coming off back-to-back sweeps of Arizona and Washington: Oregon has started Pac-12 play winning all three of its series, including back-to-back sweeps of Arizona and Washington. The Ducks opened Pac-12 play winning two of three at USC. Over the last six league games against Washington and Arizona, Oregon’s pitching has been dominant compiling a 1.47 ERA with 46 strikeouts and just 14 walks in 55 innings, while holding the Huskies and Wildcats to a combined .188 batting average. The Ducks’ three starters (Jake Reed, Tommy Thorpe, and Cole Irvin) have combined for a 1.26 ERA allowing just six earned runs in 43 innings, while striking out 30 and walking 12.  Oregon’s pitching numbers against Washington were impressive, with the Ducks throwing back-to-back shutouts against UW. Overall in the series against the Huskies, Oregon’s pitching staff combined for a 0.64 ERA allowing just two earned runs in 28 innings while holding the Huskies to a .132 team batting average. Sophomore Tommy Thorpe and All-American closer Jimmy Sherfy combined on a three-hit shutout in a 1-0 win in game two of the series. Thorpe went eight innings allowing just three hits while striking out seven. Sherfy picked up his eighth save of the season while striking out two and not allowing a hit in the ninth inning. Freshman Cole Irvin pitched Oregon’s first complete game of the season the next day winning game three of the series 6-0. The Oregon lefty struck out a season-high 11 while allowing just four hits.

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 last Sunday. 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 Saturday. 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. Irvin, who owns a 3.00 season ERA, improved to 5-1 with the win.

Sherfy and Payne lead Ducks among national leaders with top 10 rankings: Jimmie Sherfy and Aaron Payne both rank among the top 10 in one category in the national ranking. Sherfy ranks third in the nation in saves with seven, three behind national leader Tyler Webb of South Carolina. Payne is 10th in sacrifice bunts with nine, six behind Arkansas State’s Alex Potts who leads the country. Payne also ranks 22nd in sacrifice bunts per game.

Oregon has a number of other players who rank among the nation’s leaders. Ryon Healy is 20th in the nation in doubles with 11, six behind national leader Jimmy Yezzo of Delaware. He is also 36th in total bases with 64, 51st in home runs with five, and 56th in doubles per game with 0.39 per game. Pitcher Jeff Gold is in the top 60 in strikeout-to-walk ratio (17th; 8.67), walks allowed per nine innings (24th, 0.92), earned run average (28th; 1.23), and WHIP (48th; 0.92). Weekend starters Jake Reed, Tommy Thorpe and Cole Irvin are all tied for 17th with seven games started, while Irvin is 28th in wins with five.

As a team, Oregon ranks in the top 60 in six different categories, including two top 10 rankings. The Ducks are second in the nation in fielding percentage (0.988) and are fifth in sacrifice bunts (40). UO also ranks among the national leaders in ERA (15th, 2.59), hits allowed per nine innings (21st; 7.49), WHIP (25th; 1.18) and hit by pitch (51st; 37).

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 last Thursday. 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.

UO climbs in polls: Oregon moved up in four of the five polls released on Monday, while holding steady in the fifth poll after going 4-0 last weekend. The Ducks climbed one spot in the Baseball America poll to 11th, while moving up two spots in the Collegiate Baseball poll to eighth, two spots in the USA Today Coaches Poll to seventh and three spots in the NCBWA poll to eighth. The Ducks remained 11th in the Perfect Game poll.

Ducks schedule features a number of ranked teams, including No. 24 Arizona State this week: Oregon will play its third ranked team of the season this weekend when it visits No. 24 Arizona State for a three-game series. The Ducks already played six games in a 10-day stretch against teams ranked in the top 25 poll 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’s schedule doesn’t figure to get any easier with the Ducks facing three Pac-12 teams (including ASU) currently ranked in the Baseball America poll later this season. Sixth-ranked Oregon State (April 9 at OSU, May 17-19 at PK Park, May 21 at OSU), No. 10 UCLA (April 19-21) and No. 24 Arizona State are all ranked in the Baseball America Poll. 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 25th in the USA Today Coaches poll. Arizona, who the Ducks swept two weeks ago, is 29th in the NCBWA Poll.

Ducks use strong pitching to get off to quick start: Oregon has used solid pitching to get out to a 22-6 start heading into this week’s games against Arizona State. Oregon’s staff has combined for a 2.59 ERA while striking out 205 hitters in 250 innings with just 87 walks. UO has used seven different starters in the first 28 games, with those pitchers combining for a 2.91 ERA. Jeff Gold, who has started three games and appeared in relief four 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 35 strikeouts in 44.2 innings pitched. Saturday starter Tommy Thorpe has a 2.68 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 43.2 innings. Sunday starter, and true freshman, Cole Irvin has a 3.00 ERA with the Ducks winning six of his seven starts. The Ducks’ bullpen has been even better compiling a 2.13 ERA over 84.1 innings. All-American closer Jimmie Sherfy (1.47 ERA) has eight saves and a win, while striking out 26 in 18.1 innings pitched. True freshman Garrett Cleavinger has two saves and junior Christian Jones has one. Darrell Hunter is third on the team with 13.2 innings pitched out of the bullpen and has a 1.98 ERA.

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)

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.

The Matchup: The Ducks open an eight-game road swing this weekend when they visit No. 24 Arizona State in Tempe. Oregon swept ASU in a three-game series in Eugene during the 2012 season. The Ducks won game one 1-0 getting a four-hit shutout from starter Alex Keudell. Aaron Jones hit a solo home run to account for the only run in the game. The Ducks won game two 3-1 with Jake Reed getting the win after allowing no runs in 7.1 innings and Kyle Garlick hitting a pair of home runs. Oregon wrapped up the sweep with a 4-3 win in game three thanks to three RBI from Jones.

Oregon heads into the Arizona State series behind a pitching staff that has been strong over the first 28 games. The starters have combined for a 2.91 ERA, while the bullpen has a 2.13 ERA. Jake Reed, Cole Irvin, Tommy Thorpe and Jeff Gold have combined for 15 quality starts in the 28 games, with Reed accounting for five and Thorpe and Irvin (a true freshman) both having four. The Ducks’ bullpen has 11 saves with Jimmie Sherfy getting eight of those, Garrett Cleavinger two and Christian Jones one.  Offensively, the Ducks have increased their team batting average from .224 to .249 in the last 12 games. Healy leads the squad in batting average (.345), hits (38), doubles (11), home runs (5), RBI (26) and slugging percentage (.582).

Arizona State enters the series after playing a pair of games at Wichita State on Tuesday and Wednesday.  The Sun Devils will be playing their third ranked team in as many Pac-12 weekends. ASU picked up one win (4-0) in a three-game series at No. 3 Oregon State March 22-24, before taking two of three from No. 4 UCLA last weekend. The Sun Devils won games one (4-1) and two (7-4), before losing game three (12-10) in 10 innings. ASU also has a pair of wins over then No. 2 Arkansas on Feb. 28 and March 2.

Healy pushes consecutive start streak over 100:  Oregon first baseman Ryon Healy has run his consecutive start streak over the century mark. Healy started his 100th straight game in a March 23 win over Arizona before making it 105 straight starts last Saturday. The junior has started Oregon’s first 28 games this season after starting all 65 of the team’s games last year. 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.

Healy’s streak is 61 games longer than anyone else on the Ducks’ team.  Second baseman Aaron Payne had his 76-game streak snapped March 4 when he didn’t play against Cal State Northridge in the first game of the two-game series with the Matadors. Payne had started the first 11 games this season and all 65 games in 2012.  Shortstop J.J. Altobelli now has the second longest streak on the team starting Oregon’s last 44 games.

Consecutive Starts:

Name:                   2013            Total               

Ryon Healy              28               105

J.J. Altobelli            28                44

Mitchell Tolman        10                10

Tyler Baumgartner     7                  7

Connor Hofmann       3                  3

Aaron Payne             3                  3

Josh Graham            2                  2

Steven Packard        2                  2

Brett Thomas            1                  1

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.