Ducks wrap up homestand with three games against Utah: Oregon finishes its nearly month long homestand this weekend with three conference games against Utah. The Ducks will be looking for their third straight series win after winning two of three against both Ohio State and USC. Oregon also has a four-game series sweep against Hawaii and a three-game sweep at Loyola Marymount. The Utes, playing just their third series of the year, are looking for their first series win. Last week they opened Pac-12 play at home and were swept by No. 4 Oregon State. Last year, the Ducks won two of three games at Utah in a regular-season ending series beating the Utes 6-2 on both Friday and Saturday before losing 10-3 in the series finale. UO also beat UU two out of three the last time the teams played in Eugene, winning 3-1 and 5-3 in the first two games before dropping game three 4-3. Overall, Oregon and Utah have played nine times with the Ducks winning seven of those games. Oregon and Utah played three times (all in San Diego) between 1965 and 1972 with the Ducks winning all three games.
Ducks open Pac-12 play with series win over USC: Oregon bounced back from a series-opening loss to USC in last week’s Pac-12 opener to win the final two games against the Trojans and capture the series. UO got quality starts out of all three pitchers during the first weekend of league play, but USC’s Wyatt Strahan outdueled Tommy Thorpe on Friday night. Freshman Matt Krook and senior Jeff Gold benefitted from more Oregon offense in identical 7-2 wins on Saturday and Sunday. Krook allowed just two runs on two hits on Saturday, while Mitchell Tolman went 2-for-4 with four RBI to even the series. Gold allowed two runs on six hits while not walking any Trojans, and Tyler Baumgartner went 2-for-5 with three RBI to give the Ducks the series. UO batted .300 in the series against the Trojans with a .433 slugging percentage, while the Oregon pitching staff finished with a 2.00 ERA against the Trojans.
Ducks 7-5 on 15-game home stand: With three games left to play in its home-opening 15-game homestand, Oregon stands at 7-5 at PK Park. UO opened the home portion of its season Feb. 25 with an 8-2 win over Portland but then got swept by No. 5 Cal State Fullerton in a three-game series at PK Park. The Ducks bounced back with a doubleheader sweep of Seattle on March 4 to even their home record at 3-3. The Ducks then won two of three against Ohio State to get above .500 in the friendly confines. Oregon then won the final two of three games against USC to open Pac-12 play last weekend and move two games over .500 at PK Park.
Horton gets first milestone, eying two more: Oregon head coach George Horton started the 2014 season within reach of three career milestones. 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 194 wins in his five seasons at Oregon, moving within 16 wins of 700 Division I victories and within six 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 this week ranked in all five college baseball polls. The Ducks are ranked seventh in the USA Today Coaches Poll, eighth in both the Collegiate Baseball and Perfect Game polls, ninth in the National Collegiate Baseball Writer’ Association poll, and 12th in the Baseball America poll.
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.
Ducks 20-15 all-time against ranked teams at PK Park: Oregon is no stranger to hosting ranked teams at PK Park. During the program’s five-plus seasons playing in the park, the Ducks have played 35 games against teams ranked in the Baseball America top 25 and compiled a 20-15 record in those games.
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.
Thorpe gets the ball for the Ducks on Fridays: Oregon heads into the Utah series this weekend with the same rotation for the third straight week. JR LHP Tommy Thorpe continues to pitch well as the team’s Friday night starter. The junior lefty has four quality starts in five outings in 2014 and he has gone at least seven innings in three of those starts. Thorpe had his best outing of the season two weeks ago with a dominant start against Ohio State where he struck out a career-high 10 and allowed just two hits over seven innings. Thorpe served as the team’s Friday night starter for the last half of last season, including Oregon’s regular-season ending series at Utah. The Vancouver, Wash., native picked up the win in Oregon’s 6-2 win over the Utes, holding Utah hitless over seven innings before being relieved. Thorpe did run up his pitch count against Utah walking five batters which kept him from pitching the eighth and ninth innings in what could have been a no-hitter.
Krook off to strong start, picks up first career win vs. USC: It looks like Oregon might have an ace in waiting. FR LHP Matt Krook has been as good as advertised through his first five starts as a Duck. The freshman lefty ranks among the Pac-12 leaders in four categories heading into his start against Utah on Saturday. Krook, a first-round draft pick in the 2013 MLB Draft (No. 35 overall), leads the Pac-12 in strikeouts with 43, including a league-best 16 Ks looking. The San Mateo, Calif., native also ranks third in opposing batting average (.133) and 11th in innings pitched (31.0). The San Mateo, Calif., native picked up his first career win last Saturday in a win over USC. The freshman allowed just two runs on two hits in 6.1 innings pitched with six strikeouts.
Krook ranks in the top five in the country in strikeouts and strikeouts per nine innings: FR LHP Matt Krook is among the national leaders in two strikeout categories heading into this weekend’s games against Utah. The Ducks’ lefty ranks fourth in strikeouts with 43. He trails national leaders Brandon Finnegan (TCU) and Matt Imhof (Cal Poly) by 15 strikeouts and Aaron Nola (LSU) by eight Ks. Krook also ranks fifth in strikeouts per nine innings with 12.48. He trails Imhof (14.14 Ks/9), Finnegan (13.50 Ks/9), Nola (12.83 Ks/9) and Coastal Carolina’s Ben Smith (12.49 Ks/9).
Gold settles into Sunday spot in rotation, ranks second in nation in wins: It looks like Oregon has found its Sunday starter. SR RHP Jeff Gold has been impressive in back-to-back Sunday starts after serving as a mid-week starter during the season’s first three weeks. In his two Sunday starts, Gold has allowed just five runs on 13 hits in 14.2 innings while striking out 14 and walking none in wins against Ohio State and USC. Gold has wins in all five of his starts this season, which gives him the most wins in the Pac-12 Conference and the second most in the nation. The senior also has a 9.67 strikeout-to-walk ratio which ranks 25th in the nation and is tops in the Pac-12. In addition, Gold ranks among the Pac-12 leaders in batters struck out looking (2nd; 15), strikeouts (4th; 29), opposing batting average (8th; .200) and innings pitched (8th; 31.2). Gold’s win over USC was the 18th of his career, the fourth most in Oregon history.
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 has been successful over the first 19 games of the season out of the bullpen picking up a save and a win at Hawaii, two saves at Loyola Marymount and a win over Seattle. Reed heads into this weekend with a 2-0 record with a 1.69 ERA and three saves. He has allowed six hits in 10.2 innings while fanning 11. Reed is sixth in the Pac-12 in saves.
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 is once again handling the set-up 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 10 appearances of the season while striking out 15 hitters (fourth on the team) in 8.0 innings pitched. SR RHP Darrell Hunter also returned to his role as the Ducks’ sixth and seventh inning go-to guy and he has two wins after a month of the season. The graduate student has struck out seven hitters in 8.1 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 will 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, Garlick, Heineman and Tolman among career leaders on offense; while a handful of pitchers 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 (50), while needing just two more stolen bases (2nd; 38) to move into a tie for the all-time lead. He also ranks among the all-time leaders in games started (5th; 147), triples (6th; 8) walks (5th; 63), at bats (5th; 521), runs (5th; 101), hits (8th; 138) and multiple-hit games (7th; 32). JR DH Kyle Garlick is among the all-time leaders in games started (8th; 110) triples (3rd; 9), RBI (8th; 79) multiple-RBI games (2nd; 20) and multiple-hit games (9th; 26). He needs just five more walks to crack the school’s top 10. JR INF Scott Heineman ranks among the top 10 in hit by pitches (8th; 14), stolen bases (9th; 22) and outfield assists (6th; 3). He needs one more multiple-RBI game (10) to crack the top 10. SO INF Mitchell Tolman already ranks among the career leaders in multiple-RBI games (6th; 13) and hit by pitches (10th; 12), while SR OF Connor Hofmann is in the top 10 in stolen bases (9th; 22) and outfield assists (5th; 4). JR OF/1B Steven Packard is second all-time in outfield assists with seven.
On the mound, SR RHP Jeff Gold, SO LHP Cole Irvin, JR RHP Jake Reed, JR LHP Tommy Thorpe and SO LHP Garrett Cleavinger rank among the all-time leaders. Reed is ranked in four categories including pickoffs (3rd; 8), starts (3rd; 34), innings pitched (4th, 225.0), wins (7th; 16) and saves (7th, 3). Thorpe is among the leaders in runners picked off (4th, 6), starts (6th, 22), strikeouts (8th/163) and appearances (7th; 56). Irvin is ranked in two categories, runners picked off (5th; 5) and starts (7th; 16), while Gold is in the top five in career starts (5th; 24) and wins (4th; 18). Cleavinger ranks in the top 10 in games finished (7th; 12), saves (8th; 2) and appearances (8th; 47). Clayton Porter (7th, 2) also ranks in the career saves top 10.
Payne, Baumgartner, Tolman and Garlick rank among Pac-12 leaders in a number of categories: Oregon is getting production from the four players who hit in the top five of the lineup. SR OF Tyler Baumgartner (Oregon’s No. 3 hitter) ranks among the Pac-12 leaders in nine of the 15 key offensive categories. The Ducks right fielder ranks second in batting average (.400), third in runs scored (19) and doubles (8), fifth in hits (30), total bases (40) and on-base percentage (.471), sixth in slugging percentage (.533) and RBI (16), and seventh in stolen bases (5). SO INF Mitchell Tolman (No. 4 hitter) ranks in six categories. He is fourth in RBI (21), fifth in doubles (7) and triples (2), sixth in hit by pitches (6), ninth in slugging percentage (.500), 10th in total bases (35) and 11th in stolen bases (4). JR DH/OF Kyle Garlick (the No. 5 hitter) and SR 2B Aaron Payne (batted leadoff and second) both rank in four categories. Payne leads the league in hit by pitches (8), while ranking fifth in sacrifice bunts (5) and stolen bases (6), and 10th in runs scored (16). Garlick is 11th in slugging percentage (.477), RBI (13), home runs (1) and stolen bases (4). FR SS Mark Karaviotis leads the league in sacrifice flies (3) while FR OF/INF A.J. Balta ranks fourth in home runs (2), FR OF Austin Grebeck is fifth in sacrifice bunts (5), and JR 3B Scott Heineman ranks fourth in sacrifice flies (2).
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.
Oregon puts 20 runs on the board in game vs. Ohio State, most runs since bringing baseball back: The Ducks stormed back from a disappointing loss to Ohio State on March 8 with one of their most impressive offensive showings since the program was restarted. UO scored 20 runs marking the most runs scored by a Ducks’ team since they beat Sacramento State 21-1 on March 19, 1979. The 20 runs bested the modern-era high of 19 runs scored in a 19-10 win at Gonzaga on April 21, 2010. Before the 20 runs scored on Sunday, Oregon’s best game at PK Park came in a 17-7 win over East Tennessee State on May 16, 2010.