Mitchell Tolman - Page 6

Oregon baseball: Oregon looks uncomfortable at plate in 8-4 loss to San Francisco

The No. 11 Oregon baseball team wasn’t much of a factor offensively against the San Francisco Dons on Tuesday. The Ducks looked sluggish, tired. But head coach George Horton wouldn’t allow his players to make excuses, giving most of the credit to the Dons. In the city by the bay, the Ducks had the expectations to dominate all aspects of the game. But the production didn’t come, and when it did, it was too little too late in an 8-4 loss.

“I’m not going to make any excuses,” head coach George Horton said. “They just out-toughed us.”

USF starting pitcher Sheldon Lee looked good but not great. He threw strikes with his fastball that ranged widely between 82-88 miles per hour. He didn’t throw many changeups nor did he rely heavily on his breaking pitches. After five innings of work Lee threw 87 pitches, 50 of which were strikes.

What made Lee’s outing look so superior was the lack of production from the Oregon offense. Not only did Oregon struggle to get hits, which they didn’t get until Nick Catalano’s two-out double in the fourth inning, the Ducks couldn’t quite take advantage of Lee’s limited repertoire .

“I thought we got some fat pitches and we struck out 15 times,” Horton said.

Of the 15 strikeouts, seven of them occurred in the final 2.2 innings. Eight of Oregon’s strikeouts came from Austin Grebeck, Tyler Baumgartner, Mitchell Tolman and Kyle Garlick — Oregon’s 2-5 hitters.

“We were crummy (offensively),” Horton said. “We were giving away a lot of at bats.”

It was clear that some of the Oregon players were overly eager to hit the ball. Whether it was because of frustration caused by the long bus ride on Monday from Eugene, the tiny dugout meant to hold a third of Oregon’s team, the slower pitching or another reason, Oregon’s hitters were often caught out on their front feet.

“I don’t think we respected the game very well and I don’t think we respected our opponent very well,” Horton said.

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Mitchell Tolman, Kevin Minjares Earn All-Star Summer League Bid

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Mitchell Tolman (Eric Evans/GoDucks)
Mitchell Tolman
(Eric Evans/GoDucks)

University of Oregon star’s Mitchell Tolman and Kevin Minjares have both been selected to participate in the 2013 California Collegiate League All-Star Game on July 17 in Compton, California.

Tolman, a Lake Forest, California, native, is hitting .316 with 13 RBI and six doubles for the Conejo Oaks this season. As a freshman with the Ducks, Tolman was third on the team with a .315 batting average and starting 47 games. He was also third on the team in RBI with 37.

Minjares is hitting .333 with five RBI. Last season, with the Ducks, the Port Hueneme, California native posted a .267 batting average with two RBI. He’ll be a senior with the Ducks in 2014.

The 2013 CCL All-Star Game will be held at the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton, California and is scheduled for a 7 PM first pitch. Fox Sports West will broadcast the game live nationally with Darren Sutton, John Jackson and Lindsay Soto announcing the game.

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Oregon baseball pitcher Tommy Thorpe shines in 3-0 win over Oregon State in the first game of the Civil War series

Oregon took the first game of its three game series with Oregon State 3-0 behind a career night for pitcher Tommy Thorpe and some blistering offense to start the game.

Oregon, notoriously slow starters at home, came ready to play Friday night. Brett Thomas hit a strong line drive up centerfield to lead off the bottom of the first inning. Aaron Payne then hit a textbook bunt up the third base line, safely arriving on first and advancing Thomas to second.

Ryon Healy hit a single to left field, scoring Thomas. Next Mitchell Tolman moved Payne and Healy into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Heineman followed with another sacrifice bunt, this time scoring Payne.

“Obviously you want to score first,” said Healy. “Definitely playing at home, you want to make the score feel like it’s more. I feel like with the atmosphere we had here tonight it definitely felt like it was more than 3-0.”

Oregon picked up where they left off to start the second with Nick Catalano hitting a double to the left field corner and then moving to third on a sacrifice bunt courtesy of Josh Graham. JJ Altobelli then drove him in on a high pop single to shallow center.

Through three innings, the Ducks had six hits. On the season, they average 8.5 hits per game.

After the third inning, Oregon State starter Matt Boyd (10-3, 2.04 ERA) tightened things up, allowing just one more hit through the rest of the game.

“He was cross-count a lot,” said Healy of Boyd. “He got me on a 2-0 (count) and on a 3-1 change up, got me to swing and miss. He was doing a great job mixing speeds. He was pounding in fast balls and did a real good job not missing with those. Hats off to him, he’s threw one heck of a game.”

The lively bats in the first two innings separated Oregon from Oregon State, but the true MVP of the game was Thorpe. Thorpe threw eight innings and allowed just two hits and two walks while striking out seven.

Most impressive, though, was his efficiency. He flew through innings, working his slider and curve ball, he kept his pitches low, forcing batters to ground out. He finished eight innings on an incredible 92 pitch count.

“Tommy! That was unreal,” said closer Jimmie Sherfy of Thorpe’s impressive start. “Our pitching staff here is so great, to have him Friday night and then Cole (Irvin) Saturday, Jake (Reed)  Sunday … I think we have the best starting staff in the nation. Tommy was just dominant like he usually is. It was no surprise at all.”

Since Oregon head coach George Horton made the change in the starting rotation, putting Thorpe in the Friday spot and moving Jake Reed to the Sunday spot, the Ducks have swept every weekend series. Thorpe has been fantastic against other Friday guys, but this was his most impressive performance of the year.

“I felt awesome,” said Thorpe. “Going out and throwing a shut out was awesome. I couldn’t ask for anything more. I was on top of the ball. My slider and fast ball were low in the zone so I was able to get a lot of ground balls and pop ups.”

Perhaps the only hiccup of the night came in the ninth after Thorpe walked his first batter . Horton pulled Thorpe and sent Sherfy, a usual guaranteed save, in to close out the game. He struck out his first batter but plunked the second, sending him on base. He then struck out the next batter.

Ryan Barnes came to the plate and after a bit of a count battle, Sherfy lost command and hit Barnes square in the helmet, sending him to the ground.

Sherfy was notorious for hitting batters last season. The 13 he hit prompted the “Wild Thing” nickname that had become so popular. However, this season he found his control and hadn’t hit a single batter until Friday night.

He battled back though, getting the final out on a pop up from Oregon State’s Danny Hayes. The save was his 20th, eclipsing the school record of 19 he set last season.

“We had planned that if one guy got on we were going to go to Sherfy,” said Horton of his decision to pull Thorpe. “(Sherfy) wobbled a little bit but he gets that last out more times than he doesn’t.

The Civil War series will pick back up Saturday at 2 p.m. Cole Irvin will take the mound for the Ducks.

Mitchell Tolman Named Pac-12 Player of the Week

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Kevin Cline
Kevin Cline Photography

Oregon Ducks freshman Mitchell Tolman has been announced as the Pac-12 Player of the Week following his .474 (9-for-19) with a double, three walks and 14 RBI performance. It is Tolman’s first time receiving the honor and Oregon’s 11th all-time selection. First basemen Ryon Healy was last week’s recipient batting .400 (6-for-15) with a double, two home runs and seven RBI.

On Tuesday, Tolman went 3-of-4 (.750) with seven RBI in a 12-7 victory over Seattle. It was the most RBI in a game by any Duck since Jack Marder collected drove in eight on March 9, 2010.

Entering the week, Tolman had just 12 RBI. His added 14 put in him into the tops on the Oregon roster.

Tolman (.351, 39 hits, 26 RBI) is sixth in the conference in batting average with a minimum of 100 at-bats and is tops on the team. He’s also fourth on the team in RBI behind Healy (46), Scott Heineman (32) and Brett Thomas (27).

Oregon (37-11, 19-5), has a three-game road series against Ohio State this weekend before returning to Eugene for two games against Gonzaga on Tuesday and Wednesday then a weekend series against Oregon State.

With his added productivity and movement up the lineup, Tolman could make a serious push for some freshman hardware. Pac-12 all-conference honorable mention is not out of the realm of possibility.

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Oregon baseball sneaks past Seattle despite three errors

Oregon broke past a pesky Seattle team in an 12-7 road victory Tuesday night with help from freshman Mitchell Tolman who had a career night.

Tolman hit 3-4, driving in seven runs. The seven RBI were the most in a single game by a Duck since the talented Jack Marder drove in eight in the 2010 season.

Tolman didn’t do it all though. Ryon Healy went 2-3 with three RBI, and Aaron Payne and Ryan Hambright both chipped in  a couple of hits as well.

Oregon did as they have all season in mid-week games with a pitch-by-committee approach. Jeff Gold got the start but only went two innings before Christian Jones was called in for relief. Jones pitched just one inning, giving up two runs on three hits, before Darrell Hunter came in to pitch the fourth and fifth. Derek Smith closed out the final three innings, shutting Seattle out and allowing just three hits.

Oregon inevitably came out with the win, but it wasn’t pretty. The Ducks gave up seven runs on 12 hits to a far inferior Seattle team and again struggled defensively. After leading the nation in fielding percentage for much of the season, Oregon has steadily dropped in the rankings over the past two weeks. Tuesday was no exception, with the Ducks committing three errors.

Turning Point. After being down 5-2, Seattle responded with a three run third inning to tie the game. Oregon battled back in the fourth with two outs, with Healy and Tolman combining to drive in three runs and give Oregon an 8-5 lead.

Oregon added four more insurance runs, two in the sixth and two in the eighth, to stave off Seattle and get the win.

On the Horizon. Oregon and Seattle will go head-to-head again Wednesday at 4p.m.

Aaron Payne’s Heroics Pave Way for Oregon Win

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Aaron Payne delivered a decisive, ninth inning blow against the sixth-ranked Oregon State Beavers to give the No. 16 Ducks a 6-3 victory in the first edition of Civil War baseball this year.

With one down and two on in the top of the ninth, Payne launched a triple into the corner in right field to score J.J. Altobelli and Brett Thomas and break open a game that was previously knotted up at three apiece. Ryon Healy added another insurance run right after Payne with a sacrifice fly that gave the Ducks a three-run advantage with just one at-bat left for the Beavers.

(Gary Breedlove)
(Gary Breedlove)

The three-run ninth inning by the Ducks broke open a game that had been tied at three since the fourth inning, when Oregon State tacked on two runs to even up the score.

Oregon used a total of six pitchers on the afternoon, with Spencer Jordan getting the start for the Ducks. Pitching 2 2/3 innings, Spencer would give up four hits, one run–earned–and two walks while recording two strikeouts.

The Beavers got the game started in their favor, scoring a run off the Oregon starter in the first inning to give them a quick 1-0 advantage. After Spencer found himself in a jam with the bases loaded in the first, he walked Jake Rodriguez of Oregon State to give the Beavers their lone run of the inning.

Oregon quickly bounced back, however, scoring two of their own in the top of the second to take the lead away from the home team. After Scott Heineman and Josh Graham found their way on-base by way of being hit by a pitch, they used key wild pitches by Oregon State starter Taylor Starr to move into scoring position. Heineman would be plated as Oregon’s first run of the game on an RBI fielder’s choice by Connor Hoffman. Advancing to third on the play, Graham came around to score on a wild pitch that gave the Ducks a one-run advantage early on.

The Ducks then saw their lead extend to two in the next inning, when Tyler Baumgartner singled home Mitchell Tolman from second. The inning would be the last for Starr on the hill after he gave up three hits, three runs–all earned–and three walks over the span of three innings. He also recorded four strikeouts and four wild pitches during his time on the mound.

After Jeff Gold came in for Spencer in the bottom of the third and finished off Oregon State in the inning, he surrendered two runs–one earned-in the bottom of the fourth to see the Beavers even up the score at three. Kavin Keyes got things going for Oregon State by finding his way into scoring position after recording his lone hit on the afternoon. Jared Casper then drove him and eventually found his way to second by way of an error by Hofmann. Casper would see himself score on a sacrifice bunt by Ryan Barnes after he had found a way to reach third.

Sherfy picking up his ninth save of the season. (Gary Breedlove)
Sherfy picking up his ninth save of the season. (Gary Breedlove)

Gold finished the inning but came out of the game after throwing 1 1/3 innings of two-hit, two run–one earned–and one strikeout baseball. Darrell Hunter, Christian Jones, Garrett Cleavinger, and Jimmie Sherfy would come in to finish the game for the Ducks, with each pitcher, except for Hunter, throwing one inning of perfect baseball. Hunter logged two innings on the afternoon for the Ducks, giving up just two hits while recording one strikeout.

Getting the loss on the afternoon for the Beavers was Brandon Jackson, who relieved Tony Bryant in the seventh inning and was credited with the game-winning run. He pitched 2 1/3 innings, giving up one hit, one run–earned–while striking out one.

Max Engelbrekt relieved Jackson and gave up one hit, two runs–both earned–and one walk while recording no outs in the ninth. Cole Brocker recorded the final two outs for Oregon State in the top of the ninth before Sherfy came in for the Ducks and recorded his ninth save of the season.

The victory vaulted Oregon’s record to 24-8 on the season while the Beavers well to 25-6. The game did have no effect on conference records as it was the first of two non-conference contest between the Beavers this year.

Oregon will resume Pac-12 play on Friday when the travel to California for a three-game series that is slated for a 6 pm first pitch. Oregon State will return to Pac-12 play against the Utah Utes on Friday. First pitch for their game is scheduled for 5:35 pm.

All photos are property Gary Breedlove

 

Déjà-Vu for Diamond Ducks as They Drop Series to ASU

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For the second consecutive night the No. 11 Oregon Ducks (22-8, 8-3) lost to the No. 24 Arizona State Sun Devils (19-8-1, 6-5) due to the Sun Devils getting out to a big early led.  ASU would go on to win by a final score of 14-9 in the series clincher.

The first two games of the series had a similar feel with the Sun Devils getting out to a moderate lead, followed by the Ducks responding with a big 8th inning in both games.  The Ducks got the lead down to one run after a huge 5-run top of the 8th.  However, the Sun Devils responded with 4 runs of their own in the bottom half.

(GoDucks)
(GoDucks)

Both Arizona State and Oregon had 14 hits apiece but the difference in the game was the Sun Devils nine extra bases.  The game concluded with Ducks recording four doubles while the Sun Devils had seven doubles and two triples.

JJ Atobelli sparked the Ducks by hitting 3-of-4 along with three RBIs.  Mitchell Tolman and Ryon Healy contributed as well going 3-of-5 including a run scored and 2-for-5 along with a RBI and two runs scored respectively.

Team effort for the Sun Devils got them the win with Michael Benjamin and Max Rossiter both getting three hits a piece. Benjamin and Rossiter also had three RBIs between the pair of the veteran upperclassmen.

The Ducks now look to salvage the series with a win Sunday while ASU looks for their first Pac-12 sweep of the year.  Meanwhile, the Ducks drop their first Pac-12 series of the year.  The Ducks still lead the Pac-12 standings, but only by a half game over the rival Oregon State Beavers (24-5, 6-2).

Looking ahead, the Ducks and Beavers will meet on Tuesday in a non-conference game.  Both teams appear to be the premier teams in the young Pac-12 season.

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