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Ducks and Beavers meet in nonconference series

Mar 9, 2021

Baseball - Week 4 Notes (Oregon State)

Rivalry weekend

  • Oregon and Oregon State will play the first three of six scheduled games between the two teams this season starting on Friday in Corvallis.
  • The meetings are nonconference games, while the three the teams will play in April (9-11) in Eugene will count toward the conference standings.
  • This will be the first meeting since May 12, 2019, in the rivalry.

Crushing balls reaps rewards

  • JR DH Kenyon Yovan had a monster four-game series at UCSB. He finished the weekend .467/.591/1.267 with four home runs, 11 RBI and six walks.
  • Collegiate Baseball, Perfect Game and the NCBWA all named him a national player of the week while he also earned Pac-12 Conference weekly honors.

Leather works

  • Oregon's defense has been exceptional through two weeks of play. Heading into the OSU series, Oregon ranks fourth in the country with a .993 fielding percentage.
  • The Ducks have committed just two errors in eight games while starting the season with a 46-inning streak without committing an error.

Series History - Oregon State

  • Oregon trails the all-time series between the two teams, 186-164.
  • Oregon has won two of the last four games after snapping a 10-game losing streak at the hands of the Beavers on April 9, 2019 in Corvallis.
  • The Beavers have won the last three Pac-12 and season series between the two teams, while Oregon won the previous two in 2015 and 2016.
  • The two teams have played 54 games since baseball returned to Oregon for the 2009 season.

Oregon vs. ranked teams

  • Oregon State enters the series ranked in the top 25 of all six polls, including as high as No. 16 in three of the polls.
  • Oregon is 62-79 against teams ranked in the Baseball America poll since 2009.
  • Oregon is 11-23 against Oregon State when the Beavers are ranked.
  • Oregon's last game against a ranked team was on Sunday when the Ducks finished a road sweep of UC Santa Barbara, a team that was ranked as high as No. 7 heading into the weekend.
  • Oregon's last win before the four-game sweep of UCSB came on May 12, 2019 when the Ducks beat No. 12 Oregon State in the final game of a three-game series.

Ducks dominate nationally ranked UC Santa Barbara on the road

  • Oregon put together one of the most impressive showings by a Duck team in a number of years with a four-game sweep of UC Santa Barbara, which was ranked as high as No. 7 in the national polls.
  • The effort was Oregon's first four-game road sweep of a nationally ranked team in the history of the program.
  • The Ducks outscored the Gauchos 38-16 in the series, which included late-inning comeback wins in games one and two and an extra-inning win in game four.
  • Oregon scored 21 runs after the sixth inning in the series while holding to UCSB to just six runs during the same span.
  • The Ducks batted .302 in the series with eight home runs, six doubles, 31 walks and eight HBP while finishing with a .440 OBP and .503 slugging percentage.
  • Oregon's pitching staff combined for a 3.89 ERA and held Gaucho hitters to a .245 batting average.

Many familiar faces

  • Oregon returns 23 of the 31 players that were on the 2020 roster.
  • All 12 position players who started a game in 2020 are back this season with the team returning 98.6 percent of its at-bats (511 of 518), 97.8 percent of its runs scored (89 of 91), 100 percent of its hits (all 143) and 98.9 percent of the team's RBI (86 of 87).
  • The five position players who left combined for just 10 at-bats, two runs scored, one RBI and no hits.
  • On the mound, Oregon pitchers combined to make 58 appearances last season with this year's team returning 86.2 percent (50) of them. The Ducks pitching staff also returns 94.6 percent of the innings pitched (128.1 of 135.2) and 93.3 percent of its strikeouts (98 of 105).
  • On the mound, the three Ducks that departed combined to throw just 7.1 of the team's 135.2 innings pitched in 2002.

Ducks face another tough schedule

  • Oregon is scheduled to play 50 games at this point with the chances of adding up to six more based on the maximum number of allowable games.
  • Of the 50 games, Oregon is scheduled to play 22 against teams currently ranked in the top 25 including a stretch of 13 of 14 against ranked teams starting with last weekend's series against UCSB.
  • Oregon visits Oregon State this weekend with the Beavers ranked in the top 25 of all six-college baseball polls, including a No. 16 ranking by both D1Baseball and the NCBWA.
  • Arizona State, next week's opponent is ranked in three of the six polls and checks in at No. 15 in the Perfect Game poll.
  • The following week, Oregon visits Arizona with the Wildcats ranked in all six polls with a highest ranking of No. 13 in the Collegiate Baseball and Perfect Game polls.
  • Late in the season, Oregon hosts UCLA (April 23-24) which is ranked in the top 10 of five and of the six polls. The Bruins check in as high as sixth in three of the polls, while also ranking eighth, 10th and 11th.
  • Stanford, Oregon's opponent during their last home series of the regular season (May 21-23) is ranked 30th in the NCBWA poll.

Yovan rakes in awards following big UCSB series

  • JR DH Kenyon Yovan won three national and one conference award after a sizzling performance in a four-game series sweep of nationally ranked UC Santa Barbara last weekend.
  • Collegiate Baseball and Perfect Game both named Yovan a national player of the week following the UCSB series, while the NCBWA honored him as the hitter of the week and the Pac-12 Conference awarded him Player of the Week honors.
  • Yovan batted .467 (7-for-15) with four home runs and 11 RBI, while finishing the weekend with a blistering 1.267 slugging percentage and .591 on-base percentage.
  • After walking twice in five plate appearances in Friday's 7-6 win, Yovan led Oregon to a doubleheader sweep of the Gauchos on Saturday and extra-innings win on Sunday.
  • In the doubleheader, Yovan hit three home runs and drove in nine runs in the two wins while going 5-for-9 at the plate with three runs scored and a walk.
  • In game one on Saturday, Yovan drove in four of Oregon's five runs with a home run and a single in a 5-4 win.
  • With the Ducks trailing 4-0 in the top of the eighth, The Ducks' DH crushed a three-run homer to cut the Gauchos lead to one with Oregon eventually tying the game later in the inning. Then in the ninth, Yovan drove in the go-ahead run with a single to right field.
  • In the second game of the doubleheader, Yovan hit a pair of home runs and finished 3-for-4 with five RBI and three runs scored with a walk in Oregon's 17-2 win.
  • He hit a two-run home run in the second inning, added a sacrifice fly in the fifth and hit another two-run bomb in the eighth.
  • He finished the day with a single and a run scored in the eighth inning.
  • Sunday, Yovan gave the Ducks an early lead hitting his fourth home run of the series in the first inning, a solo shot over the left-field fence.
  • He added a RBI single off the top of the left-field wall in the seventh to give Oregon a 3-1 lead.
  • UCSB had enough of Yovan after that, intentionally walking him in his final two bats, both times with two outs and nobody on base.
  • The final walk resulted in a run scored in Oregon's decisive five-run 10th inning.

Death, taxes and Aaron Zavala off to a fast start

  • It was not a surprise to see SO RF Aaron Zavala off to another fast start.
  • Through the first eight games, Zavala is hitting a blistering .48 with two home runs and five RBI.
  • He already has four multi-hit games and one multiple-RBI game heading into the Oregon State series.
  • Zavala also got out of the gate fast in each of his first two seasons at Oregon.
  • exploded onto the collegiate scene as a freshman in 2019 with back-to-back three-hit games at Texas Tech to start his career.
  • In 2019, he became the first Oregon player in modern era program history to have four 3-hit games in a six-game stretch (Feb. 15-23).
  • hit .542 (13-for-24) in the month of February in 2019 with two doubles and four RBI.
  • The Ducks DH was batting .349 on March 16 that season and over .300 on March 22 before injuries plagued him eventually forcing the Salem, Ore. native to miss a number of games.
  • He started fast again last season batting .418 with a Pac-12 leading 22 RBI with nine multi-RBI games and eight multi-hit games (four 3-hit ) in the 15-game season.
  • He had multiple hits in seven of the last 10 games, with three 3-hit games during that stretch.

Novitske and Smith show up big against UCSB

  • It was not a two-man show in the series sweep at UCSB as a number of Ducks had a big weekend.
  • SO LF Tanner Smith started the weekend with a 2-home run, 5-RBI performance in a game one win and finished the series batting .353 with 2 HR, 4 doubles and 7 RBI
  • SO 3B Sam Novitske batted .571 with four hits, four walks and two HBP.

Pitching staff optimistic after first two series

  • Oregon head coach Mark Wasikowski came out of the first two weekends of the season encouraged by what he saw on the mound.
  • In eight games, five Ducks' starting pitchers have combined to for a 2.55 ERA allowing just 10 runs on 34 hits in 35.1 combined innings.
  • While managing their early season workload with a pitch count, Oregon starters have limited to opponents to either one or no runs in five of the games while pitching at least five innings in four of them.
  • In the Seattle series, two of the Ducks starters combined to throw a scoreless 11 innings, while the other two starters kept the Ducks' in the game while they were on the bump.
  • Against UC Santa Barbara, the last three starters combined to allow just two runs in 14 innings (1.29 ERA) while the game one starter struggled but kept the team in the game.
  • The bullpen has excelled as well, especially late in games with Oregon opponents being held scoreless from the seventh to the ninth innings three teams and scoring just one run during those innings on three more occasions.
  • Oregon's bullpen has three wins and two saves through the eight games.

Ducks boast experienced staff

  • Oregon opened the 2021 season with a staff that has 13 pitchers who have Division I experience on the mound.
  • Of those 13, 11 have experience pitching in an Oregon uniform while two more -- SO RHP Caleb Sloan (TCU), FR RHP Brayden Spears (Boise State) -- pitched at other schools.
  • The group also has experience in a starters' role with eight of the 13 boasting at least one start.
  • Five have double-digit starts with one -- JR RHP Cullen Kafka -- starting more than 20 games.
  • Ten of the 13 have at least 20 appearances with seven pitching in at least 30 games, three making 40-plus appearances and one -- SR LHP Nick Tellache -- pitching in 66 games.
  • The pitchers with at least 20 appearances have all pitched at least 31 innings during their careers.
  • Seven have more than 50 innings pitched, with six surpassing the 70-inning pitched plateau, four tossing over 90 innings, four breaking the century mark with a staff-best 135.2 inning coming from Kafka.
  • As a staff, the 13-experienced Ducks' hurlers have combined for 398 appearances, 93 starts and 832.2 innings pitched.
  • Those 13 are joined on the staff by a junior college transfer and five freshmen, with three of the freshman -- LHP Rio Britton, RHP Mark Ayon and RHP RJ Gordon -- combining for six appearances and eight innings pitched in the first two series.

Walker named to NCBWA preseason All-America team

  • After an impressive shortened 2020 seasons, JR RHP Brett Walker caught the eye of the National Collegiate Baseball Writers who named him third-team preseason All-America.
  • Walker finished the shortened season 3-0 with a 0.84 ERA while allowing just two runs on 13 hits with 10 strikeouts and one walk in 21.1 inning pitched.
  • He held opponents to a .176 batting average.
  • The Ducks' right-hander finished second in the Pac-12 Conference in strikeout-to-walk ratio (10-to-1), WHIP (0.66) and walks per nine innings (0.42) while ranking third in wins.
  • Nationally, Walker ranked 10th in walks per nine innings, 19th in WHIP and 31st in strikeout-to-walk ratio.
  • Walker will open the season with a 16-inning scoreless streak, with the last run he surrendered coming on a two-run HR in the fourth inning of his start at Grand Canyon last season.
  • , who had tossed 21.1 innings last season, held opponents scoreless in 21 of the 22 innings he had appeared.
  • In the 22 innings Walker faced a batter, he had allowed no hits in 13 of them and just one hit in six of them.
  • A spot starter during his career, Walker earned a spot in the rotation after back-to-back quality starts against Milwaukee and Hawaii during the final two weeks of the 2020 season.
  • He got the win against Milwaukee throwing six scoreless innings while allowing just three hits and striking out four.
  • He bested that effort allowing no runs on just two hits in a career-high eight innings with no walks and three Ks in a win over Hawaii.

Ducks have a number of options to choose from for starting pitching

  • Oregon has a slew of options when considering what to do with its weekend pitching rotation.
  • The Ducks have nine pitchers who have started at least one game during their careers at Oregon, while adding a Division I transfer who started a game at his previous start.
  • Seven of those hurlers have multiple starts during their careers with five of them boasting double-digit starts.