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Ducks open Eugene Regional Friday at 2 p.m.

Jun 2, 2021

Eugene Regional
#1 Seed: Oregon
(37-14, 20-10 Pac-12/2nd)

  • 8th Postseason Appearance
  • Tournament Seed: 14
  • National Ranking: 13

 
Opening Game

  • Game 1 • Friday, June 4
  • vs. Central Connecticut State
  • 2 p.m. • PK Park

 
#2 Seed: Gonzaga
(33-17, 20-7 WCC/1st)

  • 11th Postseason Appearance
  • Tournament Seed: NA
  • National Ranking: NA

 
#3 Seed: LSU
(34-22, 13-17 SEC/4th - SEC West)

  • 33rd Postseason Appearance
  • Tournament Seed: NA
  • National Ranking: NA

 
#4 Seed: Central Connecticut State
(28-13, 21-9 Northeast/2nd)

  • 7th Postseason Appearance
  • Tournament Seed: NA
  • National Ranking: NA

 
Quick Facts:

  • Oregon finished second in the Pac-12 standings, and received an at-large bid to the NCAA Baseball Championship.
  • The Ducks have been ranked as high as No. 6 in 2021, and hold a 16-7 record against ranked opponents.
  • Oregon is making its sixth postseason appearance since the program was reinstated and its first since the 2015 season.
  • The Ducks hosted regionals in 2012 and 2013.

 
Oregon vs. the field

  • Oregon heads into the Eugene Regional with no history with two of the three other teams in the tournament.
  • The Ducks will meet Central Connecticut State for the first time on Friday, while a meeting against LSU would also be a first between the two programs.
  • Oregon does have history against Gonzaga, with the Ducks holding a 19-2 series advantage over the Bulldogs.
  • All but four of those meetings took place since 2010.

 
National player of the year candidate

  • SO OF Aaron Zavala is in the running for national player of the year honors after leading the Ducks to the postseason.
  • Zavala heads into regionals with the second-highest OBP in the country and sits just .001 behind the national leader.
  • He is second in the Pac-12 in batting average while leading the Ducks in average, runs, hits, slugging percentage, base on balls, on-base percentage and stolen bases.

 
Steady as she goes

  • Oregon will head into the Eugene Regionals with a pitching staff that boasts the second-best ERA in the Pac-12 Conference (3.52) which included a league-low 173 walks.
  • A big part of that success is due to a starting rotation that used the same three pitchers since the beginning of March.
  • Robert Ahlstrom, Cullen Kafka and Brett Walker have combined for a 19-8 record with a 2.91 ERA and 223 Ks in 232.1 innings pitched.

 
Ducks faced ranked teams seven times in regular season

  • Oregon played a series against a team ranked in the national rankings in at least one of the polls seven times during the 2021 regular season.
  • The Ducks played UC Santa Barbara, Oregon State (twice), Arizona State, Arizona, UCLA and Stanford while they were ranked in one or more of the polls.
  • Oregon is 70-84 against teams ranked in the Baseball America poll since 2009, including 12-5 this season.
  • Oregon is 13-5 in its last 18 games against teams in the Baseball America top 25.
  • Oregon enters Regionals as the No. 16 ranked team in the RPI.

 
Ducks match school home run record at USC, then again vs. Washington

  • Oregon hit four home runs in a 13-4 win at USC on April 17 to match a modern-era school record for home runs in a game.
  • FR C Jack Scanlon, SO 2B Gavin Grant, JR DH Kenyon Yovan and FR CF Anthony Hall homered in the Ducks win.
  • The Ducks matched the four home run effort in a 9-3 win over Washington on May 9 when 1B Gabe Matthews, DH Kenyon Yovan, RF Aaron Zavala and CF Anthony Hall all homered.
  • Before the USC game, the last time the Ducks hit four bombs was on April 13, 2013, when RF Scott Heineman went yard twice and 1B Ryon Healy and LF Brett Thomas hit solo shots in a 10-4 win at Cal.
  • The only other four-HR game came at Gonzaga on April 21, 2010, when SS KC Serna, 3B Dylan Gavin, SS Danny Pulfer and RF Steven Packard all homered.

 
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 put 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.
  • Oregon's staff has tossed six shutouts this season, tied for the fourth most since 2009 by a Ducks' team.
  • Matthews owns career hits, RBI, double, multiple-hit games and at bat records
  • SR 1B Gabe Matthews added the career at-bats record to his impressive list of school records against Stanford.
  • drove in his 129th and 130th career runs on a double allowing him to pass Spencer Steer (2017-19) for the career RBI record against Gonzaga on May 19.
  • Earlier this year, 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).
  • In the USC series opener on April 16, he added the hits record when he delivered his 212th career knock to break the old record held by J.J. Altobelli (2010-13).
  • On April 28 against San Jose State, Matthews went 2-for-3 for his 59th career multiple-hit game to break Danny Pulfer's (2009-11) career record.
  • Matthews has run his career totals to 242 hits, 57 doubles and 66 career extra-base hits.
  • Matthews needs five runs and 12 walks to set new school records.
  • He is six starts shy of setting a new school record as well.

 
Slew of single-season Oregon records fall

  • SO LF Tanner Smith and SO RF Aaron Zavala both set single-season school records in the Ducks' series against Stanford.
  • recorded his 21st double of the season in game three and passed Mitchell Tolman (2015) and Ryon Healy (2013) for the school record.
  • became the single-season runs scored record holder at Oregon when he scored three times against Stanford in game two to pass Austin Grebeck (2016) for the all-time lead.
  • added the single-season walks record at Cal to break Tolman's (2015) record.
  • JR DH Kenyon Yovan and FR SS Josh Kasevich also tied school records at Cal with Kasevich and Yovan both tying Spencer Steer (2019) and Healy (2013) with 16 multi-RBI games.
  • also tied Shaun Chase (2014), Steve Crum (1981) and Jim Willis (1974) for the single-season HR record with his 14th at Cal.
  • needs six RBI and to break Steer's (2019) record, while Kasevich needs 10 RBI to break the same record.
  • also has a 14-game hitting streak entering regionals and needs a hit in four more games to tie Steer's school record.

 
Leadoff hitter Smith, Matthews among Pac-12's Top Extra-Base Hitters

  • SO LF Tanner Smith packs a lot of punch batting in the leadoff spot for the Ducks, while SR 1B Gabe Matthews continues to accumulate extra-base hits.
  • Heading into regionals, Smith is fourth in the nation, and first in the Pac-12, in doubles while Matthews is 21st in the country and third in the Pac-12 in two-baggers.
  • is third in the conference in extra-base hits with 32, while Matthews is sixth with 27.
  • Through 51 games, Smith has 23 doubles, four triples and five home runs.
  • He is second the league in and 27th in the nation in triples.
  • Two Arizona players rank ahead of Smith with one playing four more games and the other two more games.

 
Zavala among nation's elite hitters

  • SO RF Aaron Zavala finished the regular season second in the nation in on-base percentage (.538/.001 behind the national leader), while ranking 17th in batting average (.398), seventh in base on balls (49) and ninth in base on balls per game (0.96).
  • Zavala leads the Pac-12 conference in on-base percentage, base on balls and base on balls per game, while ranking second in batting average, sixth in hits per game (1.41) and seventh in slugging percentage (.613) and hits (72).
  • Zavala leads the Ducks in batting average, runs scored (58), hits, base on balls, OBP, slugging percentage and stolen bases (11).
  • 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 eight starts during his career against teams ranked in the top 25 of the Baseball America poll and has been dominant.
  • In those eight games, Ahlstrom has combined for a 1.95 ERA allowing just 11 earned runs on 39 hits in 50.2 innings with 59 strikeouts and just 10 walks.
  • In three of the eight games, Ahlstrom did not allow 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 No. 17 Oregon State on March 12.

 
Ahlstrom three-time Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week

  • The Pac-12 Conference named JR LHP Robert Ahlstrom the Pac-12 Conference Pitcher of the Week for the third time this year after a dominating performance vs. Washington.
  • threw 7.0 scoreless innings against UW while fanning a career-high 11 batters.
  • previous two honors came after win over rival Oregon State on March 12, and April 9.
  • The Ducks' lefty, who dominated from the first pitch against the Beavers in the first meeting, struck out a then 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, he 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 seven-plus innings.

 
Kafka earns Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week honors after ASU series

  • 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.

 
Somers on watch list

  • The NCBWA named JR LHP Kolby Somers to the midseason Stopper of the Year watch list at the end of April.
  • is 2-1 with a 2.42 ERA and 10 saves in 17 appearances this season with 30 strikeouts in 22.1 innings pitched. Opposing hitters are batting just .139 vs. Somers.
  • The lefty has not allowed a run in 14 of his 16 outings in 2021.
  • Two former Ducks have been finalists for the Stopper of the Year Award.
  • Jimmie Sherfy was a finalist in both 2012 and 2013, while Kenyon Yovan was a finalist in 2017.
  • Five other Ducks have been on the watch list since 2009.