College Baseball

Tolman Hits the Century

Oregon 2nd baseman Mitchell Tolman earned his 100th RBI on Tuesday night, when he drove a moonshot to right  and brought both himself and fellow infielder Matt Eureste across the plate. The All-Pac-12 junior needed only three innings to put an end to...

Duck Dynamo Back on the Diamond

Oregon baseball has something to look forward to in 2015, as former true freshman phenom Cole Irvin (SP) is expected to return after missing the 2014 season with a torn UCL. Irvin exploded onto the scene in 2013 with an Oregon single-season...

Oregon Baseball Defeats South Dakota State 3-2 to Open Regional Play

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Players celebrate as  (Gary Breedlove/Eugene Daily News)
Aarron Payne (center) celebrates after scoring the winning run
(Gary Breedlove/Eugene Daily News)

Ryon Healy heroics and a bit of eighth-inning magic gave the Ducks an advantage in a scary spot at PK Park Friday for the Ducks. Despite trailing from the second inning on, and getting just one hit off of the South Dakota State ace Layne Somsen, a barrage of small ball in the second-to-last home frame gave the Ducks a 3-2 advantage that Jimmie Sherfy would shut the door on.

With more than 100 pitches thrown, Somsen — the Summit League pitcher of the year — had given up just one hit and two walks, throwing six strikeouts — beleaguering the arguably slumping Duck offense. And, with those more than 100 pitches, coach Dave Schrage elected to send him back out for the eighth.

“I was apprehensive; he was at 115 pitches, (SDSU closer) J.D. (Moore) for the most part has pitched one inning for us,” Schrage said; he wanted to see how much they could limit the stopper’s time on the mound.

However, Somsen gave up a leadoff walk to J.J. Altobelli, which forced the Jackrabbits’ hands. Moore came in and on his first pitch Brett Thomas sacrificed Altobelli to second. After hitting Aaron Payne with a pitch (an all-too-common phrase for this team) to put the tying run in scoring position, Healy put a ball to deep center left for an RBI double that gave the Ducks their first lead.

“I’m not going to say I’m disappointed, J.D.’s saved a lot of games for me this year too, so I can’t get down on him,” Somsen said. Moore indeed has saved some games, 13 to be correct, but Friday was his second loss.

Duck starter Jake Reed calmed down considerably after giving up a run and three hits in the second inning — moving on to allow just two hits and an unearned run in the next five.

“Like I said, I think I settled in,” Reed said. “I was able to get the ball in late in the game. I felt great, it was a good confidence builder for me to go out there and have a big outing.”

It was Garrett Cleavinger getting another “vulture win” as coach George Horton calls it. Cleavinger (9-0, 1.34) pitched a perfect inning and one strikeout in the road half before the Healy RBIs.

A toss to shortstop J.J. Altobelli (Gary Breedlove/Eugene Daily News)
A toss to shortstop J.J. Altobelli from Aaron Payne
(Gary Breedlove/Eugene Daily News)

“We’re elated that we were able to come through and find a way to win that one,” Horton said.

It was all-American Jimmie Sherfy’s first save opportunity in a while, getting his last one (the 20th of the season) in the Friday game 1 victory over the Beavers. His 21st came with the one-run lead and PK enthusiasm abounding. The 2,507-person crowd was lacking in size — due to the Prefontaine Classic happening across town — but present in volume. Sherfy was ready to get out there.

“My arm felt 100 percent,” he said. “I really wanted to get out tonight, my body felt a lot better than it usually does.”

Healy, the hero of the Ducks’ first regional game in 2013, returned most of the credit to his teammates who set the table.

“So with (Altobelli) getting that walk and then Aaron Payne getting the hit by pitch really gave our team an opportunity to win that game.”

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It was just enough to get the first win against a really good pitcher. The Ducks face off against Rice on Saturday at 6 p.m. The Owls lucked out in extras against San Francisco, when USF’s left fielder lost a ball in the late afternoon sun allowing a walkoff error.

“That’s the fear you have as a coach, you don’t want to have someone make that kind of a mistake,” USF coach Nino Giarratano said after the loss.

“Obviously, we’re grateful it was a sunny day,” Rice coach Wayne Graham said after the win Friday.

Oregon ace Tommy Thorpe will be on the mound against the Owls, and the Dons will face the Jackrabbits in an elimination game earlier that day.

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Oregon State’s Andrew Moore, Pac-12 and NCBWA Pitcher of the Week

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Oregon State’s Andrew Moore was named the Pac-12 Conference Pitcher of the Week on Monday. Additionally the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association has named Moore one of two national Pitchers of the Week, on Tuesday. This is Moore’s first time receiving both awards in his collegiate career.

Oregon State freshman Andrew More (Andy Cripe/Associated Press)
Oregon State freshman Andrew More
(Andy Cripe/Associated Press)

Moore’s most recent performance was a summary of just how good the freshman has been all year. On Saturday facing rival school Oregon in Eugene he pitched a 2-hit shutout to make a statement for the future for the Oregon Ducks.

A Eugene native, Moore was deciding between the two schools, Oregon and Oregon State, before eventually deciding on the Beavers. His second shutout of the season on Saturday was also his 11th win of the season, which ties an OSU Freshman record set back in 2009 by Sam Gaviglio.

As a freshman, Moore is one of 22 players for nomination for the College Baseball Hall of Fame’s Pitcher of the Year honor. At times Moore can be overshadowed by Pac-12 Picher of the Year favorite Matt Boyd, but Moore has been as dominate as anybody this year currently having a 1.58 ERA in Pac-12 play.

The Oregon State Beavers are currently ranked No. 4 by Baseball America due to the pitching staff. The Beavers have a team ERA of 2.08 that is second best in the nation only behind Arkansas (1.90 ERA). Moore has been as good as advertised this year and continues to lead this Beavers pitching staff.

For the season, Moore is 11-1 with a 1.34 ERA.

This award adds to the total weekly awards Oregon State has won this year. Moore’s dominance got OSU their 6th weekly award just this year. Boyd has been named Pitcher of the Week twice and star outfielder Michael Conforto has been named Player of the Week twice himself.

The Beavers were scheduled to host the Oregon Ducks today (Tuesday) at 5:35 pm at Goss Stadium in Corvallis as a non-conference game, but the game has been cancelled due to weather and will not be made up. Moore will likely only have one more start this year at home against Washington State.

The Oregon State Beavers are now 43-9 and atop the Pac-12 Conference and need only a win against Washington State or for Oregon to loose a game when they travel to Utah to clinch the Pac-12 Conference outright.

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Oregon Reliever Sherfy Named to 3rd Preseason All-America Team

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SherfyOregon Ducks relief pitcher Jimmie Sherfy has been named to his third preseason All-America team, according to a press release from the University of Oregon.

Sherfy, nicknamed “Wild Thing”, is expected to have a huge season for the Ducks in their goal of reaching the College World Series. The team fell just short of that goal last season.

Here is the press release from the school:

EUGENE, Ore. – Jimmie Sherfy has been named a Perfect Game USA preseason second-team All-American, marking the third preseason All-America honor for the pitcher.

Sherfy, a junior from Camarillo, Calif., also claimed first-team preseason All-America honors by both the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and Louisville Slugger last month.

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 will lead Oregon into the 2013 season ranked sixth in College Baseball’s top 40. The Ducks are coming off their most successful campaign since the program was reinstated in 2009, including Oregon’s appearance in the NCAA Super Regional hosted at PK Park in Eugene. UO placed third in the Pac-12 while establishing a school record for wins, going 46-19 overall.

The Oregon baseball team will open its season on Friday, February 15, when the Ducks visit the University of Hawaii. The Ducks’ first home game will take place at PK Park on Friday, February 22, when they will host Loyola Marymount.

Here is a video by KVAL about Oregon’s star pitcher:

It’s Finally Here

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Taylor Gelbrich, EDN Sports

Second baseman Aaron Payne plays deep in the infield against Arizona State earlier in the season.

After all the waiting, the moment is finally here.

The moment in which the No. 6 Oregon Ducks baseball team can finally take the Pac-12 crown after a long conference schedule.

At 41-14 (19-8), the Ducks swept visiting Seattle University this past weekend at PK Park like they should have even if their were some fireworks in the process. This Ducks team already is the winningest team in Ducks history with their 41 wins and counting.

Oregon will have the opportunity to finally take what they have fought all year for and that is the Pac-12 Conference title. If the Ducks win two out of the three games this weekend at Oregon State, the title is theirs. But if they don’t, things can get a little tricky.

After UCLA dropped a game against Cal on Sunday, they are all but out of the race unless all hell breaks loose. Realistically, it comes down to Arizona and Oregon.

The problem for Arizona is that they have to take on a much tougher opponent in Arizona State then Oregon, UCLA, and Stanford have to this upcoming weekend.

In the end, it is Oregon’s conference to lose and if they take care of business they will be crowned Pac-12 champs next weekend.

In reality, this past weekend was just three practice games. The games had no effect on Oregon’s conference position. The only thing the three games against Oregon could of done was hurt the Ducks RPI and spot in the rankings. There is nothing worse then losing to a sub-par team at home.

Absolute RPI Killer.

But the Ducks didn’t lose. They took care of business and continued to roll as they extended their win streak to eight games. They have now won 14 of their past 15 games.

Oregon rolled to an easy 6-0 win in the series opener behind none other than Mister Captain himself, Alex Kuedell. Kuedell threw 7.2 innings of marvelous shutout baseball as he gave up only five hits while striking out five.

The captain picked up an Oregon single-season record tenth win and he also picked up his 22nd career win, which ties him for first on the all-time list. He just needs to pick up one more win this upcoming Friday to break another record.

Kuedell (10-3) would be honored to be atop that list especially if it meant giving his Ducks’ a win over hated rival Oregon State this weekend. A weekend in which conference title hopes are on the line.

In his last nine starts Kuedell is now 9-0 with a 1.14 ERA allowing just nine runs in just a little over 71 innings. He lowered his season ERA to 1.80 after last Friday and in many experts’ opinions has the Pitcher of the Year honors wrapped up. Don’t say I didn’t tell you so a couple weeks ago in Just Hand It Over.

Saturday’s game proved to be a little bit of a task for the Ducks.

The Ducks fell behind 3-2 going into the seventh inning and tacked on a run to tie it up a three-a-piece. Seattle struck back and took the lead at 4-3 in the top half of the eighth. Oregon replied with a run of their own to tie the game once again.

(image: Oregon Sports Net)

In the bottom of the ninth, Aaron Payne was hit-by-pitch and gave the Ducks the baserunner it so desperately needed. Then up stepped Mister Clutch, Aaron Jones. Jones deliver like he has all year with a shot into the left center gap.

The hit proved to be the walk-off winner as Payne was able to come all the way around from first to score the game winner. It was the ninth time this season that Jones has been responsible for driving in the game-winning run.

The Ducks moved to 15-4 in one-run ball games this season. A complete 180-flip from the record the Ducks put up last year in one-run ball games. The ability to win in close games has proved to be one of the big differences for Oregon this season.

On Sunday, Oregon came back from a 1-0 deficit after Payne’s home run in the fifth broke open the Ducks offense as they cruised to a 6-1 victory for the sweep.

The home run was Payne’s first of his career. Payne’s offense has been overshadowed by the big three in Ryon Healy, Jones, and Kyle Garlick, but it has proved to be a catalyst all year for the Ducks.

Oregon has now totaled 94 two-out RBIs this season and is led by Garlick’s 17. Jones’ 37 RBIs tie for eighth in Ducks single season history, while his 73 career RBIs tie for ninth all-time. The big three now account for 104 of the Ducks 231 RBI this season.

Who is behind the big three for fourth best on the Ducks RBI list? None other than the lead-off man, second baseman, Payne. Yes the 5’11, 175 pound Payne.

The Ducks do have two games this week against Portland University in a home-home series on Tuesday and Wednesday that will mean all of nothing for the Ducks. So look for coach Horton to staff it both games and throw everybody two innings. So he can rest his guys and get some other guys some action to stay loose.

Brando Tessar is still not back from his injury, but after talking to him it seems as if Horton is going to keep him out until post-season to give him as much time as possible to be 100 percent. The Ducks will need him and his arm as they get deeper in the post-season because pitching depth, let alone good pitching depth, is one of Oregon’s weaker points.

So fear not. Tessar will be back this season.

But the Civil War is finally here and so is the Ducks weekend to take that PAC-12 crown.

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Just Hand It Over

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Taylor Gelbrich, EDN Sports

Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year?

Let’s just go ahead and lock it in. Alex Keudell is the most deserving pitcher of the honor.

Alex Keudell has given Ducks fans one of the most impressive pitching performances in recent memory (Photo credit: CollegeBaseball360)

Call me biased, but the kid has been lights out. He has been amazing to watch. And even if he doesn’t have his best stuff, he finds a way to grind it out and give his team the best chance to win.

There is an old saying in baseball that there is a difference between being a thrower and being a pitcher, and Keudell is a pitcher.

He might not have the most electric stuff, but he knows how to mix up his pitches and locate.

Yeah it’s true that if you throw 100 MPH that it makes life a litter easier, but you can’t throw 100 MPH forever. Throwers have to learn how to pitch, at some point, or they won’t be in baseball for long.

Keudell sits in the high 80s and low 90s with his fastball. As a right-hander pitcher with an average fastball you have to be able to locate and throw your secondary pitches for strikes. He throws his change-up, slider and cutter all for strikes in all counts.

Watching Keudell throw last Friday was an absolute pleasure.

When the Ducks needed him the most, he came and stepped up to the occasion like he has done time and time again this season. 

image - collegebaseball360.com

After a week where the Ducks looked flat, in defeats to Washington State and Oregon State, it seemed as if all the injuries had finally been too much for the Ducks to overcome. This weekend, Keudell put the team in his back with a complete game performance where he only gave up a run on five hits.

The performance propelled No. 10 Oregon to a comeback weekend that it so desperately needed. The Ducks went onto sweep the Cal Bears and put themselves into first-place in the Pac-12 standings. The sweep only made the upcoming weekend series against Arizona that much bigger.

Both Arizona and Oregon sit atop the conference, and the winner of the series will put themselves in a position to be alone at the top. It is a huge series, but there will still be two weeks left after it and a three-team race between UCLA, Oregon, and Arizona.

While this past weekend was a sweep, Cal wasn’t a walk over by any means, they also aren’t among the conference’s elite so it will be interesting to see how the injuries will play into the Arizona series.

One thing is definite, and that is that Keudell will be ready to go come Friday night.

That fact has been evident all season by his sheer numbers alone.

Keudell has been on an absolute tear as of late and his wins and losses would be even better, but he got the short end of the stick a couple nights.

On the season, Keudell has posted a 7-3 record with a 1.87 ERA. Yes, that you read correctly, a 1.87 ERA.  He’s thrown two complete games and over 80 innings on the season. He also has a 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio.

But the truth is that the Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year is only judged on his conference stats, so I will have to go through his conference stats as well. My apologies.

Keudell in Pac-12 play has posted a 6-1 record with a meager 1.48 ERA. Yeah, sorry if you thought the 1.87 ERA was just a tad too high. By the way, both of his complete games have come in conference play along with his only shutout on the year.

In seven conference starts, Keudell has only given up nine earned runs. Keudell, at one point, had a 28 inning scoreless streak, which was finally snapped when he gave up an earned run against Stanford. He also has posted a 4:1 strikeout to walk ratio.

Keudell and the Ducks look to continue their winning ways against Gonzaga in a two-game series starting on Tuesday before heading down to Tucson to take on Arizona for the weekend series.

If the Ducks continue to clinch series then look for the Ducks to be hosting their first regional in program history.

One thing is for sure and that is that Keudell has all but clinched Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year, barring a complete collapse in his final three starts.

So just hand it over.

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Hurts More Ways Than One

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Taylor Gelbrich, EDN Sports

The No. 8 Ducks fell to Washington State, losing just their second series of the year. It just so happens to be against another Washington school.

Photo credit: Taylor Gelbrich

One thing was evident all weekend – the injuries to a large part of the Ducks’ starting squad has and will hurt the Ducks.

The lack of depth, both pitching and offensively, for the Ducks has become a glaring problem.

With J.J Altobeli out for some extended period of time, Scott Heineman and Aaron Jones out as well, it will prove to be a tough next few weeks.

But the injury that will hurt the Ducks the most, both in the short and long term, is the injury to Brando Tessar.

You could make an argument for both Jones and Altobeli and what they bring to the table offensively and defensively, but let’s be frank, the Ducks are not an offensive power house. For the Ducks to be successful, they rely on pitching and defense.

Doing the little things well is what has won this team games.

The Ducks are short on pitching already to speak of and now without a shutdown starter for Sundays, the Ducks could have trouble winning series now.

Tessar might have taken a back seat to Alex Keudell and Jake Reed early in the season, because of the numbers they had put up, but Tessar is no slouch by any means.

The guy has a 4-1 record and a 3.58 ERA. He has given up just three more runs than Keudell, and four more than Reed. The motto so far this season has been “as Keudell goes”, so do the Ducks.

But without Tessar in this pivotal part of the season could be disastrous.

The Tessar injury is so pivotal to the Ducks success because it moves Jeff Gold out of his weekday start and into the Sunday role. That means that somebody is going to have to step up and take the weekday starter role and more than likely it will be a inexperienced freshman.

The Ducks have pieced together weekday starts all season and have been successful so far, but is this the blow that brings it all down?

The Ducks are currently 27-12 (11-7) and one game out of first place.

As we have talked about for the last week or so, the Arizona series is going to cause all sorts of chaos in the standing for the Pac-12. The winner of that series will more then likely put themselves into a two team race with UCLA.

The Arizona series is also the series that Tessar is hopeful to be back by from his injury. Oregon is currently tied in second place, but if they can’t hold it together until players get back from injury they could slip down to sixth in the conference standings.

Don’t get me wrong, the Ducks are a great team, but with the number of injuries they have had to deal with so far this season it remains unseen as to how things are going to shape up.

Oregon looked poised to take another series after Keudell and Kyle Garlick willed the Ducks to a 6-2 win on Friday, but a tough eighth inning where the Ducks surrendered six runs was the deciding factor in their 8-3 loss on Saturday.

The Ducks weren’t blown out by any means this weekend, but there were just innings where the Ducks had everything go wrong. Washington State was able to do the little things throughout the last two games of the series to get the W’s.

Though many fans will be looking forward to the Arizona series down in Tucson, the next two weeks leading up to that series will speak more volumes about this team then anything else.

In the mean time, the Ducks will look to focus against Oregon State and California this week.

If Oregon wants to win the series against Cal then they are going to have to have excellent starts from both Reed and Keudell with the offense banged up.

It remains to be seen how the Ducks handle the adversity, but these injuries do in fact hurt in more way than one.

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Baseball Fans Tip Their Cap

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Taylor Gelbrich, EDN Sports

Oregon's Spencer joins an elite fraternity of college pitchers who have thrown a no-hit game (Photo credit:Kobbi Blair/Statesman Journal)

Salem, Ore — Shaving cream on his face, Freshman Jordan Spencer smiles and laughs as he tries to wipe his face clean.

Clean, like his stat line for the night. Spencer threw a complete game shutout with five strikeouts and no hits allowed.

Spencer had just thrown the first no-hitter in program history as the Ducks went on to a 3-0 victory over the Portland Pilots at Volcanoes Stadium in a non-conference game. With the win, Spencer moved to 2-1 on the season.

Spencer had faced just two batters over the minimum while hitting a batter in the fifth and an error in the seventh. It was the fifth complete game shutout for an Oregon pitcher this season.

After Aaron Payne secured the line drive final out from Portland’s Jeff Melby, No. 8 Oregon moved to 26-10 on the season.

Oregon took the lead early in the third, after Kevin Shepherd was hit by a pitch and moved to third on an error and finally ended up scoring on a wild pitch. The Ducks would take the 2-0 lead after three straight singles and an RBI single by Ryon Healy to bring in Connor Hofmann.

The Ducks would increase their lead to 3-0 in the fifth when Payne scored on a wild pitch when the Ducks had runners on the corners.

Kody Watts (2-1) took the loss for the Pilots after he gave up two runs on four hits over 3.2 innings of work. He also walked one and struck out two.

Oregon was lead by Payne’s three-for-four performance and he also picked up his 12 stolen base of the season. Ryon Healy and Brett Thomas also picked up two hits each for the Ducks.

The Ducks finished up their weekday games with a perfect record of 2-0 after beating Arkansas Pine Bluff earlier in the week. Now, Oregon will look forward to take on the Washington State Cougars this weekend here at PK Park.

The Ducks look for another series win to continue their dissent up the national rankings.

Oregon currently sits in the top-10 for the first time in program history, being ranked No. 8.

Spencer threw a masterpiece last night, no one can doubt that, but the Ducks are just happy that they were able to pile on another win during a tough weekday game.

Sure the no-hitter is spectacular for Spencer and the program, but the fact that the Ducks were able to over come their most glaring weakness’, pitching depth, and win again during the week speaks volume on how these Ducks keep rising to the occasion.

The Beaverton, Ore., native is the most recent of unheralded Ducks to come through in the clutch this past week.

The Ducks have been hit hard lately with a rash of injuries. The list includes J.J Altobeli, Aaron Jones, Brett Hambright, Scott Heineman, and Brando Tessar.

This victory not only is huge for the Ducks in the win column, but it also helps the rest of the team get ready for the weekend series. With Spencer able to go the full game in complete control, it allowed the Ducks thin bullpen to take the night off and rest up for the Washington State series this weekend.

It also help take the pressure off of the secondary squad filling in for the hurt starters. It was a night for the ages in Salem on Wednesday, the young freshman and many baseball fans will remember the night they got to witness a no-hitter live forever. It slowly adds some texture and history to the young Oregon program.

The season is slowly taking shape to be something magical, but in the mean time you just tip your cap and say goodnight.

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Ducks Sweep Visiting Dons, Prepare For Weekend Series Against Cardinal

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Alex Shoemaker, EDN Sports Editor

Jeff Gold (4-2) pitched five shut out innings, without surrendering a hit or walk, for the No. 16 Oregon Ducks baseball team as they cruise to an easy 4-1 victory on Tuesday over the 14-22 (1-5) San Francisco Dons.

Oregon 22-9 (8-4) bounced back from its series ending loss to UCLA on Saturday to win both contest against USF.

Oregon's Alex Keudell pitches a game against the Arizona Wildcats last season (Photo credit: Thomas Patterson/Statesman Journal)

The last two-game series against a non-conference opponent for the Ducks was Texas State on March 27-28 when they lost back-to-back games. Following that series, the Ducks have won seven of their last eight games with a series sweep over Arizona State, a 2-1 series win over top-ranked UCLA and then the two wins over USF.

Oregon won game one on Monday 4-2, scoring three runs in the fifth inning and never looking back. The Ducks pitching staff gave up both runs in the third inning.

Jordan Spencer (1-1) received the win for the Ducks, replacing starter Scott Heineman in the third inning. USF’s Jordan Remer (1-3) received the loss, pitching 4.2 innings in which he allowed four runs to score, three that were earned.

Jimmie Sherfy recorded his seventh save of the season, recording the last two outs.

Oregon won game two 4-1, not allowing a hit until the seventh inning with five perfect innings from Gold and reliever Brando Tessar pitching the sixth inning. Joey Housey, a seasoned reliever, gave the Dons their first hit of the game, one of just two total for the game.

Christian Cecilio (1-4) received the loss for the Dons after pitching 4.1 innings allowing five Oregon hits and three runs to score. USF scored their only run of the game in the ninth inning on an RBI sacrifice by first baseman Nik Balog driving in second baseman Jason Mahood.

Both Brett Thomas and J.J Altobelli led the Ducks offensively hitting 3-of-8 over the series.

Oregon pitcher Alex Keudell throws pitches in warmup.

At 20-7 (4-5), the Cardinal have not had the start to the season they were hoping for, tied for seventh in the Pac-12 of 11 total teams. Oregon is tied with UCLA for second, behind Arizona at 9-3 in the conference.

The Ducks and Cardinal have not met yet in 2012, so how do these teams shape-up? Where do both teams need to play well in order to come out victorious?

Oregon Ducks:

A trend over the season for Oregon has been to win the first two games of a conference series, only to miss out on the sweep in the third game.

The Ducks won both Friday and Saturday games against Utah, before suffering the lone series loss on Sunday. Last week, the Ducks won the first two games against UCLA before loosing Saturday’s game.

“Winning” series in the gauntlet that is Pac-12 baseball is good, but not sweeping, and enough to make it into the College World Series. The Ducks need to continue their strong outages in the opening games, and avoid letdowns in the final game.

Stanford Cardinal:

At just 4-5 in conference play, the Cardinal will have a lot to prove against the Ducks.

The same case can be made for the Cardinal.

With the Ducks playing so well in the first two games of series, Stanford needs to steal a win on Friday or Saturday, forcing the series decider on Sunday.

Stanford’s Brett Mooneyham (5-2) has been one of the most dominant pitchers in the Pac-12 with a 2.68 ERA in 47.0 innings pitched. John Hochstatter (3-3) will also take the mound for the Cardinal, a 2.45 ERA pitcher who will need another solid performance against the Ducks.

First pitch is Friday night in Palo Alto, CA at 5:30 pm. Look for a recap Monday morning here at Eugene Daily News.

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