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Ducks Make Long-Awaited Return To The Field

Feb 10, 2021

Oregon Notes - GCU Tournament

Oregon returns to the field for the first time in 11 months when it opens the 2021 season with five games in three days in Phoenix. The Ducks will play a doubleheader against Weber State and Montana on Friday starting at 9 a.m., before playing the Wildcats again and host Grand Canyon on Saturday, closing the weekend with Montana on Sunday. Oregon is a combined 9-0 all-time against Montana and Weber State, while Saturday will be the first meeting between the Ducks and Antelopes.

Date/Time Opponent Live Stats Live Stream
Friday, Feb. 12 – 9 a.m. Weber State
Friday, Feb. 12 – 11:30 a.m. Montana
Sat., Feb. 13 – 12:30 p.m. Weber State
Sat., Feb. 13 – 5 p.m. Grand Canyon
Sun., Feb. 14 – 8 a.m. Montana

Senior outfielder Haley Cruse is the first player in program history to lead the team in batting average three consecutive years, having done it from 2018-20.
After getting off to one of the best starts in program history through 24 games at 22-2, Oregon's 2020 season was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic last March. Now, with nearly everyone from last year's team returning, the 2021 Ducks will look to finish what they started last year. The 24 players who will suit up for Oregon have combined for 830 career starts, while 12 position players and four pitchers who started a game last year are back.
Oregon was one of the most well-rounded teams in the country last year, finishing as the only team to rank in the top 15 nationally in batting average, ERA and fielding percentage. The Ducks ended the year eighth in batting average, 11th in ERA and second in fielding percentage while ranking in the top four of the Pac-12 in each of those categories.
Oregon made a habit of getting off to fast starts in 2020, outscoring opponents 73-3 over the first two innings of games. The Ducks outscored opponents 29-1 in the first inning and 44-2 in the second inning and led after two innings in 19 of the 24 games last season. Additionally, Oregon held a 16-0 scoring advantage in the sixth inning and a 40-6 advantage in the fourth inning.
Last season's team got off to one of the best starts in program history through 24 games before the pandemic halted the season, finishing 22-2 after winning 16 in a row to start the year. Oregon's 16-game winning streak to begin the season was the second-longest to start a season in program history behind only the 2017 team's NCAA record-tying 35-0 start. Additionally, the 22 wins were the second-most in school history through 24 games and matched the team's win total for the entirety of the 2019 season.
Oregon will head into the 2021 season five-deep in the circle, with all four players who got innings last year returning. The trio of Jordan Dail, Samaria Diaz and Brooke Yanez, who got the majority of the innings last year, are all back as is returning freshman Makenna Kliethermes. Additionally the Ducks will welcome incoming freshman Raegan Breedlove onto the staff, giving Oregon another power arm in the circle.
In 24 games last year, Oregon pitching gave up just 1.67 runs per game and 40 runs total, posting a miniscule 1.62 ERA in 155.1 innings pitched. The Ducks posted eight shutouts and led the conference allowing only 101 hits all season, while holding opponents to a .187 batting average. Oregon's eight shutouts through 24 games were already two more than it had all of 2019. Additionally, two Oregon pitchers ranked in the top 10 in the conference in ERA, with Samaria Diaz in third at 1.00 and Brooke Yanez in eighth with a 1.56 ERA.
Oregon featured a diverse offensive attack in 2020, getting contributions from up-and-down the lineup. The Ducks were the only team in the Pac-12 to have five players in the top 30 of the conference in batting average, with five regular starters hitting over .350 on the season. Additionally 10 different players hit home runs and eight reached double-figures in RBIs while four ended the year with an OPS over 1.000. Oregon was also the only team in the Pac-12 to have a player rank in the top five of the conference in batting average, hits, runs, home runs, doubles and stolen bases.