Mitchell Tolman

Ducks Offense Continues to Fly Out of the Sun

Surprise, surprise – pitching headlines another preseason for Oregon baseball. Cole Irvin told reporters last week that he is “the healthiest [he’s] been [his] whole career.” Matt Krook is returning, attempting conjure some of the magic he showed as a freshman after...

Former Oregon Ducks Finding Success in Minor League Baseball

It’s been a good summer for Oregon Baseball Alumni who are playing Professional Baseball. From rookie ball to Triple-A alumnus from George Horton’s team, some are really making it count and becoming household names for their respective teams as Summer begins to wind down. The following is a rundown of former Oregon Ducks players and their […]

Former Oregon Ducks Finding Success in Minor League Baseball – Autzen Zoo – Autzen Zoo – An Oregon Ducks Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and more.

MLB Draft: Oregon Starter Cole Irvin Should To Stay in School

The Oregon Ducks 2015 season came to an end a few weeks ago against Iowa. Starting on Wednesday night, several members of the Oregon Ducks and other teams across the country may hear their names called during the 2015 Major League Baseball Draft. Although the season did not quite go as planned for Oregon with […]

MLB Draft: Oregon Starter Cole Irvin Should To Stay in School – Autzen Zoo – Autzen Zoo – An Oregon Ducks Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and more.

Oregon Ducks Name Tolman, Cleavinger MVP’s at Team Awards

The season came to an end for the Oregon Ducks last weekend and earlier this week the 2015 Team Awards were announced after a solid season on the Diamond. Mitchell Tolman took away the top award for team MVP, voted on by his teammates. Garrett Cleavinger picked up the honor as the best pitcher in […]

Oregon Ducks Name Tolman, Cleavinger MVP’s at Team Awards – Autzen Zoo – Autzen Zoo – An Oregon Ducks Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and more.

What’s Wrong With a Two-Out Rally?

The Ducks definitely have a flair for the dramatic. Everything about their season came down to the wire. With everything on the line, the Ducks took down No. 2 UCLA last weekend and earned themselves a spot in the College World Series playoffs....

Road to Omaha Begins in Springfield

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe proverbial bubble is not a fun place to be if you want to be invited to the NCAA tournament. It isn’t any fun in basketball and it isn’t any different in baseball.

Athletes like to control their destiny, but on the bubble, others are in charge of your fate.

Oregon found itself with that predicament Monday. With an RPI of 64 and a mid-season that frankly, wasn’t very good, the Ducks couldn’t be sure of anything come Monday morning. They did, however, end the season winning nine of their last 10 and defeated the No. 1 overall seed UCLA two-out-of three.

But with committees, anything can happen.

“It’s nice they can be rewarded for what they did,” Oregon coach George Horton said of his team’s late-season surge. “They came back from the dead basically and took the lid off the coffin. No doubt in my mind if we don’t win Sunday (against UCLA), we’re not in.”

The Ducks didn’t have to wait long into the announcement show when they saw “Oregon” in the bracket as the No. 3 seed in the Springfield, Mo. Regional. Oregon will face Iowa Friday at 11 am PST, televised online on ESPN3.

The Ducks will put lefty ace Cole Irvin on the mound to begin what they hope is a post-season run. Irvin has had his ups and downs throughout the season coming back from Tommy John surgery, but he did finish the regular season 2-4 with an earned run average of 4.01.

“We’re just excited to play. A regional is a regional,” Irvin said. “We’re going to be ready to fight and go to Missouri State and play in a Double-A caliber of a place.”

David Peterson will most likely go on Saturday against either the host team Bears or Canisius. Peterson finished the year 4-6 with an ERA of 4.36. His stats may be a bit misleading as Peterson had a strong finish. He pitched six innings and shut down UCLA on one run and in his start previous to that, Peterson pitched into the seventh inning at Utah.

Oregon’s offensive stats are not pretty to look at, but in its last 10 games, the offense as a whole has clicked and seems like an entirely new unit. The Ducks have shown the ability to rally late, as they did twice at Utah, including scoring six in the ninth in Game 2, at Oregon State and then two times versus the Bruins.

In most of those comebacks, Mitchell Tolman was usually a key factor in either driving in or scoring the tying or winning run. The junior finished with a .329 average, three homers and a team-leading 40 RBI.

“I felt like we’ve been on for a month or so and have really put it together in the last few games,” Tolman said. “We’ve been in the playoffs since the last game at Washington State.”

Iowa Hawkeyes
39-16 overall, 19-5 Big 10 Conference, 2nd place
Head Coach: Rick Heller, second season

The Hawkeyes might be extra thankful the post-season is finally here after closing the regular season with a bit of a thud. Iowa lost the season finale series at Rutgers 2-1 and then went 1-2 in the conference tournament.

Both Michigan and Indiana gave the Hawkeyes a thorough beating, so the black and yellow come into the regional against Oregon limping some.

But as they say, momentum is the next game’s pitcher and Iowa has the choice of three starters it is comfortable with going on the mound. John Olerud semi-finalist for the top two-way Player-of-the-Year Tyler Peyton will most likely go for Iowa against the Ducks. The junior comes into the regional with a 6-4 record with a 3.18 earned run average. In his most recent outing, the Hawkeyes’ lone win in the conference tourney, Peyton went 6 1/3 innings versus Ohio State, allowing one run on eight hits and striking out seven in the non-decision. But Iowa did get the 3-2 win.

The Hawkeyes other two starters, Blake Hickman and Calvin Mathews had outstanding seasons, but each of their last starts were something left to be desired. Hickman (9-2, 2.90 ERA) suffered just his second loss, an 8-5 setback to the Wolverines. The junior failed to get out of the thirdv inning, giving up three runs on four hits.

Mathews’ (5-3 2.67 ERA) last start went even worse. Also a junior, Mathews allowed seven runs, five earned, and seven hits in just 2 2/3 innings in the 10-2 loss to the Hoosiers.

Offensively, Peyton also leads Iowa with a .352 average, 30 runs batted in and 11 doubles. Eric Toole leads the team with 27 stolen bases while hitting .309.

The Hawkeyes is a similar team in the Ducks where they tend to play small ball. As a team, Iowa has just hit 14 homers, but have a team average of .273. Iowa doesn’t have a three-game losing streak the entire season, so something has to give when they meet Oregon Friday. The Ducks and the Hawkeyes have never met on the baseball diamond.

Missouri State Bears
45-10 overall, 18-3 Missouri Valley Conference, 1st place
Head Coach: Keith Guttin, 33rd season

Missouri State is hosting its first ever regional and are riding high on a 16-game win streak. Hammons Field, the 12-year old facility, is a perfect site for a regional and its quite surprising this is the first one for the Bears. MSU has made nine previous trips to the tourney, but it doesn’t have to travel this time from the 8,000-seat park that is also home of the Springfield Cardinals, the AA affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Even though the Bears had not played in front of more than 3,000 fans at a home date, the word around Springfield, MO has quickly gone around that the Bears are for real. They finally drew a crowd of nearly 6,500 for a game against Missouri April 28 and are sure to draw big crowds for the regional.

The Bears are led by a powerful pitching staff that compiled a team ERA of 2.75 and an offense, again, similar to the Ducks, not a lot of power, but high averages and on-base percentages.

Like Iowa, Missouri State has a trip of starting pitchers that they can choose from when they open with Canisius. Jon Harris (7-1, 1.91 ERA), Matt Hall (10-2, 2.17 ERA) and Jordan Knutson (5-1, 3.11 ERA) will all see starts this weekend. If they need a fourth starter, Sam Perez isn’t a bad option with his 9-1 record and 3.46 ERA.

In the bullpen, Bryan Young’s 14 saves is a single-season school record and his 1.16 ERA is Craig Kimbrel-like.

With the bat, the Bears don’t mess around. MSU averages nearly 6.5 runs per game and hold the opponents to a .225 batting average. Jake Burger leads the team with a cool .333 average, three homers, 40 runs batted in to go with 20 doubles and three triples. You know the offense is good when the worst hitter in the lineup is Justin Paulsen and his average of .263. But Paulsen does lead the team with 42 RBI.

Spencer Jordan leads the team with five homers and his 41 RBI is good for second on the team. Dylan Becker (.316), Tate Matheny (.294) and Joey Hawkins (.272) all have 27 RBI or more. For opposing pitchers, there’s not a weak spot in the order that they can get to, which makes defeating Missouri State so tough to beat. That offense is bound to eventually break through.

And if you’re hoping the Bear defense might help you out, forget it. Missouri State posted a school-best .976 fielding percentage, which is 22nd in the nation.

Canisius Golden Griffins
34-28 overall, 16-8 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, 2nd place
Head Coach: Mike McRae, 11th season

The Griffs earned the MAAC’s automatic invite, the conference’s only tournament entry, with a 5-1 showing in the conference tournament. Canisius opened with a 6-1 loss to Quinnipiac, forcing the Griffs to win five games, including four games in just two days. They had to defeat Rider 8-7 and Quinnipiac 10-2 last Saturday and then went on to beat Siena in what turned out to be a doubleheader sweep on Sunday by the scores of 10-5 and 11-2. Having to win three games in four or five day in the regional might seem to be child’s play in comparison.

Canisius tends to try and outscore its opponent with a powerful offense. It has to because the Griffs’ pitching isn’t anything to write home about. With a team ERA of 4.60, the Griffs hurlers do their best to just keep their offense in the game.

Devon Stewart leads the Canisius starters with a 7-6 mark and a 3.65 ERA. J.P. Stevenson follows with a 7-3 record and a 4.20 ERA and their third starter, Alex Godzak, is 5-5 with an 4.34 ERA. Middle relievers Eric Stolzenburg and Tyler Smith managed an ERA of under 3.00, but closer Iannic Remillard has had some troubles, a 1-4 record and a 4.32 to go with his 10 saves.

Canisius doesn’t worry too much about the pitching and defense when it boasts an offense that has a team batting average of .290. The Griffs are led by slugging outfielder and third-team All-American Brett Siddall. The junior ended the regular season with a .353 batting average, 12 homers and 63 RBI. But Siddall’s RBI total didn’t even lead the Griffs. That honor went to Connor Panaa with his 67 RBI. He also hit .379 and 10 homers to go with 17 doubles and seven triples.

Not to be outdone, Jake Lumley was on base all season long with his .328 average and a .416 on-base percentage. Ryan Stekl (.294), Anthony Massicci (.286) and Jesse Puscheck (.284) round out the yop six of the Griffs order. Jack Massa started 40 games and should be in the lineup come Friday. The other two spots are an unknown as the Griffs mix-and-match.

None of the teams have ever faced one another and it could be a regional where anyone could win it and each team brings something different. Missouri State has to be the favorite since it is the host school, has had an incredible season and has a 16-game winning streak. Iowa must bounce back from a disappointing ending to its regular season, but has the talent to do so. Oregon comes in playing its best ball of the season and with the Canisius offense, the Griffs can never be counted out.

Pick: Missouri State beats Oregon in a winner-take-all Game 7 on Monday and will advance to a Super Regional next week.

   ~ Don Smalley

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NCAA Tournament: Iowa Faces Oregon After Twenty-Five Year Post Season Drought

In looking back at the 2015 season Oregon and Iowa had their struggles, but the Hawkeyes endured a long season in 2014 and hoped a strong finish would land them in the post season. It did not. 2015 had a different outcome at the end of the regular season, it also ended a twenty-five year […]

NCAA Tournament: Iowa Faces Oregon After Twenty-Five Year Post Season Drought – Autzen Zoo – Autzen Zoo – An Oregon Ducks Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and more.

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