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Ducks open Pac-12 play against ASU in battle of nationally ranked teams

Mar 17, 2021

Baseball - Week 5 Notes (Arizona State)

Series History - Arizona State

  • Oregon trails the all-time series against ASU 25-12, but the Ducks hold an 8-7 lead in games played in Eugene.
  • Close games have been the norm when UO and ASU meet at PK Park with 11 of the 15 games decided by either one or two run games.
  • Of those 11, nine were one-run games including three extra-inning contests.

Ducks in the polls

  • After back-to-back series wins over ranked UC Santa Barbara and Oregon State, Oregon has moved into all six of the college baseball polls.
  • The Ducks are ranked as high as #16 (Baseball America) and no lower than #21 (NCBWA).
  • For the Ducks, it is the first time they have appeared in all six polls in the same week since March 14, 2016.

Leather works

  • Oregon's defense has been exceptional through11 games.
  • Heading into the ASU series, Oregon ranks second in the country with a .995 fielding percentage.
  • The Ducks have committed just two errors and have two 40-plus inning errorless streaks.
  • They started the season with a 46-inning streak without committing an error and now have an active 44-inning streak.

Series history vs. Arizona State

  • Oregon trails the all-time series 25-12 with ASU, but leads 8-7 in games played at PK Park.
  • ASU holds a 23-11 edge in games played since baseball returned to Oregon in 2009.
  • The Ducks have won two of the five series between the teams in Eugene with a sweep in 2012 and a series win in 2017.
  • In the last meeting between the teams, Oregon snapped Arizona State's 20-game winning streak to start the season with a 5-4, 12-inning, win in game two of the series capped by an Evan Williams walk-off home run.
  • In the previous meeting between the two teams in Eugene, the three games were decided by a combined four runs.
  • Oregon won game one 2-0, behind 20 David Peterson strikeouts, and game three 3-2. ASU won game two 4-3.
  • Nine of the 15 games played in Eugene have been decided by one run with three of those ending in extra innings.
  • 11 of the 15 games in Eugene have been decided by one or two runs.
  • ASU has won all six series played in Arizona including three sweeps.

Ducks in Pac-12 opening series

  • In the 12 years since baseball returned to Oregon, the Ducks have won three Pac-12 Conference series openers.
  • Seven of the series have been played on the road, three in Eugene and one split between home and a neutral site (last two games vs. Oregon State were played in Portland in 2009).
  • Oregon did not play a conference series in 2020 with COVID-19 ending the season prior to what was going to be a conference-opening series at No. 4 UCLA.
  • The Ducks opened the Pac-12 season with wins at USC in 2013, vs. USC in 2014 and at California in 2017.
  • The Ducks have gone 2-1 three times, 1-2 five times and 0-3 two times.
  • Oregon has met ASU two times (2011, 2018) to open league play, getting swept both times on the road.

Oregon vs. ranked teams

  • Arizona State enters the series ranked in the top 25 of all four of the six polls, including as high as No. 11 in the Perfect Game poll.
  • Oregon is 64-80 against teams ranked in the Baseball America poll since 2009, including 6-1 this season.
  • Oregon's last game against a ranked team was on Sunday when the Ducks dropped a 3-1 decision to Oregon State.
  • Oregon had won its previous seven games against teams ranked in the Baseball America poll before the loss on Sunday, dating back to a win on May 12, 2019 over No. 12 Oregon State in the final game of a three-game series.

Ducks pitchers throwing up zeros

  • Oregon's pitching staff's put together a 24-inning scoreless streak, that started in the ninth inning of the March 7 win at UC Santa Barbara and ended when the Beavers scored in the fifth inning of Sunday's game
  • The streak was the fourth longest in Oregon modern era history.
  • The Ducks' had a 27-inning stretch in 2013 against Ohio State (23) and Gonzaga (4), a 25-inning streak in 2017 against Santa Clara (18) and California (7) and a 25-inning stretch in 2013 against Washington (23) and Arizona State (2).
  • Oregon's pitching staff has held its opponents to no runs in 33 of the last 35 innings played.

Ducks doing it on D

  • Oregon came out of the Oregon State series ranked second in the country in fielding percentage at .995 (Nebraska is first at .997).
  • Oregon has committed just two errors on 395 chances (297 putouts, 98 assists) this season.
  • The Ducks have not committed an error in the last 44 innings, a stretch dating back to the second batter of the game in game two of the UCSB doubleheader on March 6.
  • Oregon opened the season with a 46-inning errorless streak.
  • The Ducks have done more than make just routine plays while putting up the impressive numbers with a number of players making highlight reel catches in the outfield.

Yovan stays hot after raking in awards following big UCSB series

  • After winning four national awards and one conference honor after the UCSB series, JR DH Kenyon Yovan continued to swing a hot bat against Oregon State.
  • The Ducks' DH batted .500 (6-for-12) with a home run, a .538 OBP and a .833 slugging percentage in Oregon's series win at OSU.
  • That came days after D1Baseball, 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.
  • In the series opener at OSU, Yovan became the first Duck in the modern era to ever homer in four straight games when he hit a blast over the right-field wall.
  • Against UCSB, 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 11 games, Zavala is hitting a blistering .375 with two home runs and five RBI.
  • He already has four multi-hit games and one multiple-RBI game heading into the Arizona 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.

Ahlstrom named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week

  • The Pac-12 Conference named JR LHP Robert Ahlstrom its Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week after an impressive outing in a win over No. 17 Oregon State last Friday.
  • , who dominated from the first pitch against the Beavers, struck out a career-high 10 batters while allowing just three base runners in seven innings with none of them advancing past first base.
  • The Ducks' lefty gave up singles in both the first and second innings with one out, but retired the next two hitters in both innings. After the second hit, Ahlstrom retired the next eight batters (five on strikeouts) before giving up a leadoff single in the top bottom of the fifth. He fanned the next two Beavers before getting a ground out to end the inning.
  • At one point, Ahlstrom retired 17 of 18 Beavers including 10 on strikeouts. He fanned multiple hitters in four different innings and had four 1-2-3 innings.
  • is the first Oregon pitcher to claim the conference weekly honors since Kenyon Yovan earned the honor on April 30, 2018, and the 16th Oregon pitcher named Pac-12 Conference Pitcher of the Week since 2009.

Big game Rob

  • JR LHP Robert Ahlstrom has been at his best in games vs. ranked teams during his three seasons in Eugene.
  • The Ducks' lefty has made five starts during his career against teams ranked in the top 25 and has been dominant.
  • In those five games, Ahlstrom has combined for a 1.78 ERA allowing just six earned runs on 25 hits in 30.1 innings with 37 strikeouts and just five walks.
  • In three of the five games, Ahlstrom has not allowed a run.
  • Against ranked opponents, he has set new career highs in strikeouts with eight against No. 10 Arizona State in 2019, nine against No. 1 UCLA in 2019 and 10 against Oregon State last Friday.

Ducks weekend starting rotation comes up big at Oregon State

  • Heading into the seasons, Oregon had a number of possibilities to fill the weekend rotation.
  • Three weeks into the season, the trio of LHP Robert Ahlstrom, RHP Cullen Kafka and RHP Brett Walker appear to have locked down those spots.
  • The three-man rotation combined against No. 17 Oregon State for a 1.45 ERA in a series win allowing just three runs on eight hits in 18.2 innings with 21 strikeouts and five walks.
  • , Kafka and Walker held OSU to a .127 batting average (Ahlstrom - .125; Kafka - .133; Walker - .208), while on the mound in the series with each of them facing at least 21 batters.
  • The three Ducks held the Beavers scoreless in 18 of the 19 innings they combined to start on the mound.
  • opened the series Friday and held OSU scoreless through seven innings with a career-high 10 Ks, allowing just three runners to reach base and none past first.
  • threw five scoreless innings allowing just two hits with a career-high 8 Ks.
  • retired the first 12 Beavers he faced before giving up three runs in the fifth inning. He ended up pitching into the seventh inning.
  • The previous week in a four-game sweep of No. 15 UC Santa Barbara, Ahlstrom, Kafka and Walker combined for 1.29 ERA holding the Gauchos to two runs on 12 hits in 14.0 innings with 14 strikeouts and three walks. The Gauchos batted just .218 against the trio.
  • During the season-opening series against Seattle, Ahlstrom did not pitch and Kafka (4.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K) and Walker (3.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 2 K) where limited by pitch counts after the Ducks' originally scheduled opening series was canceled because of COVID protocols.

Saving the day

  • Oregon has plenty of options out of the bullpen to serve as closers, but JR LHP Kolby Somers and second-year FR RHP Andrew Mosiello have risen to the top of the competition for the job.
  • , who was part of the weekend rotation in 2018 making 11 starts, picked up pair of saves at No. 15 UCSB pitching scoreless ninth innings on Friday and Saturday of the series.
  • , who has made four appearances this season, shut down Oregon State for four innings (0 R, 2 H, 3 K) to pick up his second career save on March 13.