EUGENE, Ore. – Oregon is ranked No. 6 in the preseason poll released by Collegiate Baseball today. The Ducks received 483 points, just 12 less than No. 1 Cal State Fullerton.
Oregon returns six starting position players off the 2013 team, which finished 48-16 and advanced to the NCAA Regionals, as well as all three weekend starters on the mound. Overall, UO returns 12 position players, 11 of 15 pitchers, and two redshirts who could start while boasting one of the top recruiting classes in the country.
Friday starter Tommy Thorpe, Saturday starter Cole Irvin and Sunday starter Jake Reed return after combining for a 25-14 record in 2013 with a 2.69 ERA. Irvin, a sophomore, set an Oregon record in wins with 12 (12-4) while finishing his freshman campaign with a 2.48 ERA. Thorpe topped the starters with a 2.16 ERA while finishing with a 7-5 record. Reed made a team-high 17 starts finishing 6-6 with a 3.50 ERA.
The Ducks lost All-American closer Jimmie Sherfy and reliever Christian Jones to the Major League Baseball draft, but return sophomore Garrett Cleavinger (9-0, 2 saves, 37 appearances) and Darrell Hunter (2-0, 1 save, 28 appearances) to headline what should be a deep bullpen.
Sophomore Mitchell Tolman, junior Scott Heineman, senior Tyler Baumgartner and senior Aaron Payne will lead the Ducks’ offensive attack. Tolman finished third on the team in batting (.315) in 2013, while finishing with 37 RBI. Heineman, who was a Cape Cod League all-star during the summer, batted .278 with 38 RBI, 14 doubles and 12 stolen bases.
Oregon will play 21 games against teams ranked in the top 40 of the poll, including three games against top-ranked Cal State Fullerton (Feb. 28-March 2) at PK Park in Eugene. The Ducks also play five games against No. 4 Oregon State (April 25-27 @OSU; May 6 @PK; May 20 @PK), three games at No. 15 UCLA (May 16-18), three games at No. 22 Arizona State (May 9-11), three games vs. No. 24 Arizona (May 2-4), three games at No. 26 Stanford (March 28-30) and one game vs. No. 33 San Diego (April 14) in Eugene.
From Oregon Sports Media/GoDucks.com Top Photo by Gary Breedlove
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