Ducks’ Baseball Stock Plummets in Starkville! Ouch.

Third base tag FP Dave Peaks

It’s Saturday, March 12, 2016. We are sitting here with a pain in the back of our neck after watching our Ducks drop their 2nd game to the Mississippi State University Bulldogs. The Duck hitting seemed anemic and their stellar starting pitching, much praised with cause, appeared to lose presence.

A text from a friend, he aware of my strong interest in the program and not being a Duck alum – his school is in the Seattle area – asking of the Ducks baseball outcome. We replied lightly, that they had dropped a couple, quickly changing the subject to the Pac-12 basketball tournament and the Ducks’ victory over his Huskies.

It seems he had heard on a radio sports news broadcast that the Ducks had lost 10-4 on Friday and 9-3 on Saturday and his purpose in sending his message was to rub salt in what he knew would be an open wound to my soul. His reply to my lightly presented message was to be expected. “What happened to that great pitching you’re always crowing about?” “Did they finally meet some real hitters?” I replied, “That we were surprised he had such a large vocabulary,” and “Thank God for a spell-check program that could help him with the spelling.”

His message, as it always does, put our mind in gear. What did happen in Starkville?

For Saturday’s game, if we eliminate the anomaly of Krook’s first inning pitching performance, we have a 4-3 ballgame with the first of the Bulldog’s four runs being the result of a throwing error by the Duck’s freshman shortstop – his second charged error in the series.

Dave Susnara

Dave Peaks

Dave Susnara

Also on Saturday, the Duck’s had nine hits versus the Bulldogs 11. Timely hitting, however, was the issue. Our Duck bats did not come through with men on base or in scoring position. However, they exceeded the team batting average of .206 in Saturday’s game, hitting at a .250 clip. Most Duck hits took place in the late innings – too little, too late. The Duck hitters struck-out 15 times on Saturday.

It seems the Ducks had some academic finals scheduled early in the week of March 14th. They are student athletes, thus an early flight out of Starkville was necessary for Sunday’s trip back to Eugene.

For the third game of the series, a Sunday morning breakfast affair – 8:30 AM PT, the story was much the same. There were five Ducks hitting safely only six times (two hits for Susnara) for a team game average of .188 compared to 9 hits for the Bulldogs and a .300 team game average. For the Ducks, hitting has become a problem both in average and timeliness.

What happened in Starkville? The Ducks were swept 10-4, 9-3 and 5-2.

How should we feel about the 2016 “Duck Boys of Summer”? In the eyes of this old timer, we should remember that the Ducks are a very young ball club, which generally has at least 6 sophomores and freshman in their starting lineup. We fans have to temper our expectations and allow the team to grow. The MSU Bulldogs are one of the best teams in the SEC-West and it is true the Ducks were not playing at their level. Let’s give them time.

Top Photo by Dave Peaks

Until we see you at the Ballpark,

Take Two and Hit to Right!

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Gar Pearson

Gar Pearson

Gar is a businessman, writer, father of 4 very successful children and an enthusiastic life long Duck follower. He remembers being a fair country boy athlete and spent a summer playing baseball in the Dodger organization. Playing is using the term loosely as he remembers primarily being asked to carry the equipment to the bus. He has spent 20 years assisting FEMA in providing Housing for disaster victims.

  • MAITAIDUCK

    Like your stuff GAR but here’s my take on Oregon baseball. I really believe Horton was the wrong hire. He hasn’t got this team to Omaha since he was hired as Coach to do this very thing. Who is their batting coach because they have never really been a good batting team and this requires someone who knows how to train these guy’s on the hitting techniques required to succeed at this level. When Horton wanted more money and Oregon gave it to him he should of been getting more out of this team. The pitching should on paper be the best they’ve ever had. I seriously don’t understand him or his recruiting Coach’s not going after some heavy hitters every year. The Ducks are in a hole and maybe they dig themselves out but I think they need to go after a better Coach period. This guy really hasn’t shown here what he did down south when they hired him. I also remember him giving excuses a few times in the past that should of been thrown on him after all he is the coach. Anyways just one fans opinion and I love my Ducks, but the Baseball program being brought back after all those years not having one needs better results from this guy than he’s getting.