In the newest college baseball poll, released earlier this morning, the Ducks garnered one of their highest rankings ever. Although most experts consider Oregon State to be the better of the two Oregon teams, the Ducks have a strong chance at turning some heads this season in the Pac-12 after last year’s 44-20 performance.
Led by senior catcher Shaun Chase and junior pitcher Cole Irvin, both named to the Collegiate Baseball preseason All-America second-team, the Ducks have high expectations for what they can achieve this season. Last year Chase led the Pac-12 in home runs with 14, a number that solidified him as seventh-best in the entire nation. Irvin, who is coming off Tommy John surgery, is expected to be one of the finest pitchers in the Pac-12 based on his remarkable freshman season. Irvin finished 2012 with a 12-3 record to go along with a 2.48 ERA which were enough to grant him freshman All-America honors.
Last year the Ducks were ousted in the first round after finishing group play with a 2-2 record, with their only two losses coming to the eventual national champion Vanderbilt. Oregon lost to Vanderbilt 3-2 in the final game of group play, and had they come away with a win who knows where they could’ve finished last year.
For a school only in its seventh year since the resurrection of its program, Oregon baseball seems to be doing quite well. Led by Chase and Irvin, the Ducks should certainly make the NCAA tournament again this year. A lot of the Ducks’ success will hinge on the health of Irvin, though, because if he can keep his arm in good shape he will not only be one of the best pitchers in the Pac-12, but also the country.
Top Photo by Steve Francis