Now that Oregon Football season is behind us, for the moment, Spring Sports are set to begin at the University of Oregon. Both the Oregon Ducks Baseball and Softball teams will begin the 2015 campaign next month and preparations are already underway. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has driven past PK Park in the evening headed home from work who noticed the lights on.
Oregon Baseball made it to the NCAA Tournament last season only to be knocked out by Vanderbilt. This season the team will have a full load of Starting Pitchers including a three-headed monster from the start in now Sophomore Matt Krook, Junior Cole Irvin, who is coming off Tommy John surgery suffered before last year began. In the field the Ducks have a lot of talent returning.
Infielder Mitchell Tolman, Catcher Shaun Chase, and Outfielder Austin Grebek wil all likely return to Starting positions in 2015 and will anchor a young team that does have a bench that can go deep with solid reserves in J.B. Bryant and Jack Kruger. The Ducks did lost a lot to the MLB Draft last season including Pitchers Tommy Thorpe, who could have returned this season. Jeff Gold and Jake Reed also departed.
The season will begin, as it has in years past, on the road. Oregon will face Hawaii to begin the 2015 campaign on Friday, February 13th to begin a four game road trip before opening a home stand at PK Park against New Mexico State and Portland on February 19th. UC Santa Barbara, St John’s and San Francisco will close out the non-conference slate before Pac-12 play begins.
Across campus, the Oregon Softball team is preparing for their final season at Howe Field, well Howe Field as they know it. Following the season the oldest field in the Pac-12 will get a much needed facelift. It has been a busy offseason for the Oregon Softball team.
Head Coach Mike White signed five new members to join Oregon in the 2015 Recruiting Class including Right Handed Pitcher Megan Kleist, who White compares to Jessica Moore. The Outfield received some spped in Marisa Given and Cherish Burks will look to push for playing time right away in the outfield. Oregon has some key return players in 2015.
We will start at the top with Pitcher Cheridan Hawkins who has been a workhorse for Oregon. She returns for her Junior season and will again be surrounded with some familiar faces. Alyssa Gillespie, Koral Costa, and Janie Takeda also return to help lead the Oregon Ducks. As it has been in past season the first part of the season is loaded with road trips away from Howe Field and several tournaments that Oregon knows well.
The Kajikawa Classic is up first for the Oregon Ducks in 2015 starting on February 6th. They will open the season against Cal Poly, and will play two Big Ten teams in the opening tournament in Northwestern and Wisconson. Texas, North Carolina, and Nevada will also face Oregon in the opening three day tournament. Oregon will face two teams each day.
The Ducks then move on to Texas for two series in nine days and will face Houston and Baylor twice. The road trip continues to San Diego where Oregon will play in the San Diego Classic and faceoff with a team that gave them issues the first time they met last season in Florida on Friday, February 27th. The Ducks will get another look at the Gators just over a week later at the Judy Garman Classic on March 6th.
Pac-12 play and the first home stand of the season begins on March 13th in a Civil War against Oregon State.
It should be another fun season to watch for both Oregon teams as they again push toward the NCAA Tournament. Eugene Daily News will have recaps throughout the season as Hawkins leads the Softball team and Irvin, Krook and Tolman lead Oregon Baseball.
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