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Ducks look to stay hot at USC

Apr 15, 2021

Series History - USC

  • USC leads the all-time series 30-21, but the Ducks hold a 19-14 edge since baseball returned to Oregon.
  • The Ducks are just 7-21 all time in Los Angeles against USC, including a 7-11 record since 2009.
  • Oregon has won 16 of the last 23 games between the two teams including a series win in L.A. in 2017 when the Ducks won two of three games.
  • Oregon swept series in Eugene in 2012 and 2016.

All Zavala

  • SO RF Aaron Zavala has proven to be one of the elite hitters in the country.
  • The Keizer, Ore., native leads the country in OBP, while ranking 10th in batting average and 14th in base on balls.
  • Zavala leads the Pac-12 Conference in all three categories, as well as ranking sixth in hits.
  • He is Oregon's leader in runs, hits, base on balls, OBP and stolen bases and is second in home runs and slugging percentage.

Ducks in the polls

  • Oregon continues to climb in the polls following its fifth series win this season, a sweep of then No. 21 Oregon State.
  • The Ducks are ranked as high as No. 14 by Baseball America and in the USA Today coaches poll, while checking in at No. 15 with D1Baseball, the NCBWA and Perfect Game.
  • Collegiate Baseball has the Ducks ranked 17th. Oregon heads to USC ranked fourth in the RPI.

Oregon vs. ranked teams

  • For the fifth time in seven weeks, Oregon headed into a series against a team ranked in the national rankings of at least one of the polls when it played No. 21 Oregon State last weekend.
  • Three weeks ago, Arizona entered the series ranked in the top 25 of four of the six polls, with a polls-high No. 21 ranking by Baseball America.
  • Oregon is 68-82 against teams ranked in the Baseball America poll since 2009, including 10-3 this season.
  • Oregon's last game against a ranked team (Baseball America) was on April 11 when the Ducks rallied for a 5-4 11-inning walk-off win over No. 21 OSU.
  • Oregon is 11-3 in its last 14 games against teams in the Baseball America top 25.

Ducks pitching dominant in six games vs. rival Oregon State

  • Oregon's rotation of LHP Robert Ahlstrom, RHP Cullen Kafka and RHP Brett Walker put together an impressive pair of series at Oregon State earlier this season.
  • The three man rotation combined to allow just eight earned runs in 38 innings (1.89) ERA against the Beavers, who were ranked 17th in the first meeting at 21st in the second.
  • In the March non-league series, the Ducks' starters combined 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.
  • In the April Pac-12 series, the trio set the tone for Oregon's first sweep of the Beavers since 2011.
  • They combined to allow five earned runs in 20.1 innings, an ERA of 2.21, in the Pac-12 Conference series.

Double trouble and extra good

  • Oregon matched modern school records for doubles and extra-base hits in an 18-13 Pac-12 Conference win over Arizona on March 28.
  • The Ducks doubled eight times and hit a home run to total nine extra-base hits in the game.
  • SO LF Tanner Smith, second-year FR CF Anthony Hall and SR 1B Gabe Matthews all doubled twice, while true FR C Josiah Cromwick and SO 2B Gavin Grant each had one double.
  • SO RF Aaron Zavala hit Oregon's home run.
  • Oregon had eight doubles in a game once before, in a 12-2 win at Loyola Marymount on Feb. 21, 2014. Tyler Baumgartner had three in that game, while five other Ducks had one.
  • The Ducks have totaled nine extra-base hits in a game twice before.
  • UO had nine (4 doubles, 3 triples, 2 HRs) in an 18-1 win over Clemson in the first round of the 2014 NCAA Regional Tournament in Nashville on May 30, 2014.
  • Oregon's first nine extra-base hit game came in a 17-7 win over East Tennessee State on May 16, 2010, when the Ducks finished with seven doubles, a triple and a home run.
  • C Eddie Rodriguez hit for the cycle in that game.

Ducks pitchers throwing up zeros

  • Oregon's pitching staff put together a 24-inning scoreless streak, which started in the ninth inning of the March 7 win at UC Santa Barbara and ended when Oregon State scored three in the fifth inning on March 14.
  • 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).
  • Before the Arizona series, Oregon's pitching staff had held its opponents to no runs in 62 of the last 71 innings played.
  • Against New Mexico State, The Ducks staff allowed just one earned run in 36 innings, with that coming in the seventh inning of game four of the series.

Matthews needs one hit for Oregon career mark

  • SR 1B Gabe Matthews is one hit away from setting his second Oregon career record in the last two weeks.
  • The Ducks' first baseman enters the USC series with 211 career hits, which is tied for the most in school history with J.J. Altobelli (2010-13).
  • Matthews tied the record on Wednesday in Oregon's 18-1 win when he went 2-for-3 with a RBI, three runs scored and a double. 
  • in closing in on a number of school records and ranks in the top 10 in 11 career categories.
  • In addition to the one hit he needs to set a new school record, he needs 12 RBI, 23 walks, 28 runs and 67 at-bats to set new school records.
  • He is 30 starts shy of setting a new school record and needs six more multi-hit games to take the all-time lead in that category.

Matthews new Doubles King of Oregon

  • SR 1B Gabe Matthews set a new school record for career doubles when he ripped his 48th two-bagger against Portland on April 6 to break the old record set by Mitchell Tolman (2013-15).
  • added to the career total with one against Oregon State and one at Portland on Wednesday for 50 career two-baggers.

Zavala among nation's elite hitters

  • SO RF Aaron Zavala heads into the USC series as the national leader in on-base percentage (.563), while ranking 10th in batting average (.435), 14th in base on balls (22)and 22nd in base on balls per game (0.96).
  • Zavala leads the Pac-12 conference in all four categories as well, while ranking third in runs (3) and runs per game (1.11), and sixth in both hits (40) and hits per game (1.48).
  • Zavala leads the Ducks in batting average, runs scored, hits, base on balls, OBP and stolen bases (8).
  • also ranks first in the nation on D1Baseball's Top 100 Draft-Eligible Hitters list based on analytics with an overall score of 96.92 (1.3 points ahead of Notre Dame's Niko Kavadas)

Yovan named to Golden Spikes watch list

  • For the second time in his career, JR Kenyon Yovan has been named to the Golden Spikes midseason watch list.
  • Yovan earned a spot as a hitter this season, after claiming a spot as a pitcher in 2019.
  • After winning four national awards and one conference honor after the UCSB series, Yovan has continued to swing a hot bat.
  • The Ducks' DH has batted .306 (22-for-72) with four home runs, four doubles, 15 RBI and 17 runs scored in the 19 games since the UCSB series.
  • 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.
  • That resulted in D1Baseball, Collegiate Baseball and Perfect Game naming Yovan a national player of the week following the series, while the NCBWA honored him as the hitter of the week and the Pac-12 Conference awarded him player of the week honors.

Batting leadoff, Smith among Pac-12 leaders in extra-base hits

  • SO LF Tanner Smith packs a lot of punch batting in the leadoff spot for the Ducks.
  • Smith is second in the Pac-12 Conference in extra-base hits.
  • Through 27 games, he has 18 extra-base hits with 11 doubles, four triples and three home runs.
  • He leads the league in triples, while ranking third in the country.
  • is also tied for third in the Pac-12 in doubles, while ranking tied for 29th in HRs.
  • SR 1B Gabe Matthews ranks fourth in extra-base hits and is second in doubles.

Ahlstrom two-time 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 then No. 17 Oregon State (3/12/21), and then awarded him the honor a second time after another dominant performance against the No. 21 Beavers (4/9/21).
  • , who dominated from the first pitch against the Beavers in the first meeting, struck out a career-high 10 batters while allowing just three base runners in seven innings with none of them advancing past first base.
  • 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.
  • In the second outing against OSU, tossed seven scoreless innings before allowing a leadoff triple in the eighth to end his day.
  • He finished allowing one run on five hits with one walk and nine strikeouts in 7-plus innings.

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 seven starts during his career against teams ranked in the top 25 and has been dominant.
  • In those seven games, Ahlstrom has combined for a 2.08 ERA allowing just 10 earned runs on 36 hits in 43.1 innings with 49 strikeouts and just eight walks.
  • In three of the seven games, Ahlstrom did not allowed a run.
  • Against ranked opponents, he has set new career high in strikeouts with eight against No. 10 Arizona State in 2019, nine against No. 1 UCLA in 2019 and 10 against Oregon State on March 12.

Kafka gives Oregon back-to-back Pitcher of the Week honors

  • After the ASU series, JR RHP Cullen Kafka became the second Duck in as many weeks to earn Pac-12 Conference Pitcher of the Week honors.
  • The Ducks Saturday starter, who was looking to even the series after Oregon lost game one, struck out a career-high 11 batters while allowing no runs.
  • He matched a career-high with seven innings pitched, with the ASU effort marking his first seven-inning stint in Pac-12 play.
  • After retiring the side in the first inning, Kafka pitched out of trouble in the second inning fanning two batters and enticing a weak groundout after ASU put runners on second and third with no outs.
  • It was clear sailing from there as only one runner advanced past first base with Kafka retiring the final 11 batters he faced.

Walker earns Collegiate Baseball national honor

  • JR RHP Brett Walker claimed one of Collegiate Baseball's Player of the Week honors after he struck out a career-high 13 batters in a win over New Mexico State on April 3.
  • Walker entered the game with just 15 strikeouts in his first five starts, including a then career-high five in a win over Arizona the week before.
  • struck out at least one batter in all six innings, with three Ks in the first and sixth innings and two punch-outs in the second, third and fourth innings.
  • He left the game with a 6-0 lead.
  • After an impressive shortened 2020 season, Walker caught the eye of the National Collegiate Baseball Writers who named him third-team preseason All-America.
  • 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.