Welcome in to our weekly look at how Oregon Athletics are doing on the Diamond in both Baseball and Softball. Both Oregon teams continue to push toward the postseason and are both in winning streaks entering games this week. Let’s start with Oregon Baseball….
The latest Baseball America poll which came out yesterday shed some light on the current stance of the program. I found it interesting that the first home series sweep was, of course, Cal State Fullerton coming to PK Park and taking three games from Oregon, since then it has been a somewhat up and down season for George Horton’s team. After finishing their lastest road trip at 5-5, the Ducks have won four in a row heading into this weeks series with Pac-12 foe Washington State. Baseball America has Oregon moving up a few spots from 25 to 23, but the more noticable team is the one that dropped out of the rankings this week. Cal State Fullerton. It just goes to show for some teams it can be a long season and for others adjustments can be made which still bring success.
It was also announced on Monday that Oregon Second Baseman Mitchell Tolman was named Pac-12 Player of the Week for helping lead the Oregon Ducks over the weekend going 9-5 with six RBI’s and five runs. He has had a hit in all five games over the last week.
Taking a snapshot of the games over the weekend several things stood out. Oregon Pitching will survive without Freshman Starter Matt Krook in the lineup(there is still no determination on his ‘arm stiffness’ diagnosis or how long he will be out) and the Oregon Ducks offense is on a roll, this past weekend led by Kyle Garlick, Mitchell Tolman and Tyler Baumgartner at the plate. They combined for 17 hits in the three games weekend series against UCF hitting in the three, four and five spots respectively.
On Monday Oregon took on San Diego and a solid team with a 25-10 record from the West Coast Conference. The first four innings was a hit parade, but not the way you think. San Diego pitchers hit seven Oregon Ducks batters leading to four runs for George Horton’s team and an ejection(arguing a call) for San Diego manager Rich Hill.
Oregon Pitching also found their way back to winning with some home cooking. After giving up 15 walks last weekend at Washington the Oregon Ducks clamped down and issued just four walks in the weekend series with UC Irvine. Starters Tommy Thorpe(5-3) and Jeff Gold(8-0) picked up victories and Darrell Hunter picked up a win out of the bullpen. On the hill for Oregon, Brando Tessar was solid throwing seven innings scattering seven hits an no runs.
This week Oregon Ducks Baseball gets back to Pac-12 play to face Washington State on Thursday(6pm), Friday(6pm), and Saturday(12pm). All three games will be available on the Pac-12 Live Stream.
On the other side of campus the Oregon Softball team is making some noise of their own after last week taking two of three games from Pac-12 and Top Ranked foe UCLA the Oregon Ducks found themselves ranked #1 for the first time in school history. They took their shiny new ranking to Corvallis to test it out against Oregon State.
In the first two games of the series Oregon took command with pitching from Cheridan Hawkins(21-3) and Karissa Hovinga. Hawkins entered the circle and pitched a complete game on Saturday allowing five runs on six hits. She also struck out eight Beavers. Kovinga got the nod on Sunday and threw six innings of four hit ball for the Oregon Ducks. She also gave up two runs. Oregon took Oregon State to the woodshed on Monday and started the game with an 11 run first inning that the Beavers would not recover from. The top team in the nation made a statement.
The 18 runs scored was the most of any against a Pac-12 rival. When it comes to runs the most Oregon State had given up before Monday’s game was 13 back in 1991 also against the Oregon Ducks. Senior Kailee Cuico added to her all-time home run total in hitting two in the finale against the Beavers. The Ducks chased OSU Pitcher Amanda Nadjeck after just one out. She gave up eight hits which led to nine Oregon runs, six of them earned.
Offensively Oregon has been led by the Seniors this season and Courtney Ceo continues to have herself quite the year. In her last ten games Ceo is 11 for 19 with nine runs and six RBI’s. Her slugging percentage is .737.
Oregon Softball welcomes California to Eugene in a three game series this weekend.