Ducks open season at San Diego on Friday
Series History - San Diego
- Oregon holds a 7-2 series edge but San Diego has won the last two meetings.
- The Toreros handed Mark Wasikowski and the Ducks a 3-1 loss in his second game at the helm of the program in a 2020 tournament in Arizona.
- San Diego won the last meeting between the two teams in the final game of the 2017 Tony Gwynn Classic.
- The Ducks swept the only previous series between the two clubs with 6-3, 10-7 and 6-4 (10) wins during the 2011 season in San Diego.
- Oregon was the first seven games in the series stretching from 1972 to 2016.
- Oregon won 5-3 in San Diego on March 23, 1972 to open the series and the two teams didn't play again until May 11, 2010 when the Ducks won 13-4 in Eugene.
- Oregon also won games in Eugene (4-3 in 2014) and in Hillsboro (5-2 in 2016) during their seven-game winning streak vs. USD.
- Six Oregon position players and two pitchers saw action in the last meeting between the teams: 2B Gavin Grant 0-for-2, 2 BB; OF Anthony Hall 1-for-2, 2 RBI; SS Josh Kasevich 0-for-2; 3B Sam Novitske 1-for-4, 1 R; C Jack Scanlon 1-for-3, 2B; OF Tanner Smith 0-for-3, 2 BB; LHP Kolby Somers 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K; RHP Christian Ciuffetelli 1.0 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 0 K.
Oregon record in season openers
- Oregon is 25-18 on opening day since the 1963 seasons, including a 10-3 record since baseball returned to Eugene in 2009.
- The Ducks are back on the road to open the season for the 13th time in those 14 seasons, with 11 true road games (8-2) and two neutral site games (1-1).
- Oregon has opened the season once before, winning 8-2 at San Diego State on Feb. 19, 2016.
- Oregon also opened the 1965 and 1972 seasons in San Diego playing in tournaments. The Ducks lost to Washington 6-2 in 1965 and beat Utah 3-0 in 1972.
Veteran club with talented additions
- Oregon returns 20 of the 38 players that were on the 2021 roster.
- The Ducks return six position players who started at least 40 games, including two that started all 55 games: SS Josh Kasevich (55), OF Tanner Smith (55), 2B Gavin Grant (51), 3B Sam Novitske (47), C Jack Scanlon (46) and OF Anthony Hall (42).
- While Oregon lost all three pitchers from the rotation, the Ducks' staff returns nine arms that made an appearance in 2021, including five that made at least 15 appearances or three starts: RHP Isaac Ayon (22 app., 2 GS), RHP Rio Britton (15 app.), RHP RJ Gordon (14 app., 3 GS), RHP Andrew Mosiello (21 app., 1 GS) and LHP Kolby Somers (20 app.).
- and Smith both claimed All-America accolades in 2021 with Collegiate Baseball recognizing Smith and the NCBWA honoring Somers.
- Three returning Ducks earned All-Pac-12 honors with Somers being named first-team All-Pac-12 and both Kasevich and Smith claiming honorable mention recognition.
- Three of Oregon's returners were named to the Eugene All-Regional Team: Hall, Novitske and Smith.
- Oregon also added four position players (INF Drew Cowley - Cal Poly Pomona; INF Brennan Milone - South Carolina; C Logan Paustian - Arizona State; UTL William Riley - Montana State-Billings) and three pitchers (RHP Stone Corby - Sacramento State; RHP Adam Maier - University of British Columbia; RHP Dylan Sabia - Central Connecticut State) who transferred from other four-year institutions.
- The Ducks also added nine freshmen and two junior college players to the roster.
Ducks face another tough schedule
- Oregon opens the season with a 56-game schedule, including playing 23 games against teams ranked in one of the preseason polls and 11 more against teams that received votes in at least one poll.
- In week three of the season, the Ducks host UC Santa Barbara, which is ranked in all both the Collegiate Baseball (No. 17) and NCBWA (No. 33) polls.
- The next week, Oregon travels to Stanford to open Pac-12 play against a team ranked in the top 10 in all six polls. The Cardinal are ranked as high as No. 3 (Perfect Game) and no lower than No. 7 (Baseball America) coming off a trip to the College World series in 2021.
- After opening the home portion of their Pac-12 Conference slate against Utah the next week, the Ducks head to Gonzaga for a midweek game. The Zags enter the season ranked in the top 35 by both the NCBWA (No. 34) and Collegiate Baseball (No. 35).
- The Ducks open the month of April on the road against UCLA, which enters the season ranked in five of the six preseason rankings with a high of No. 17 (Perfect Game).
- The Ducks play in-state Rival Oregon State five times between April 26 and May 8, with non-league games in Eugene on April 26 and May 3 while traveling to Corvallis for a Pac-12 Conference series May 6-8. The Beavers enter the season ranked in five of the six polls reaching as high as No. 11 (Baseball America).
- The Ducks last two series of the season at Arizona State and vs. Arizona sandwich a nonconference matchup with Gonzaga. ASU is ranked in the Collegiate Baseball poll, while Arizona is listed in all six polls coming off its trip to the CWS last season. The Wildcats check in as high as No. 10 (NCBWA) and no lower than No. 22 (Collegiate Baseball).
- Oregon also has games against California and Ball State at home with both clubs receiving votes in at least one of the polls, while opening the season at San Diego which also collected votes in at least one poll.
Smith named preseason All-America
- Coming off a season where he claimed Collegiate Baseball third-team All-America honors, JR OF Tanner Smith has been named preseason third-team All-America by both Collegiate Baseball and the NCBWA.
- A junior from Newport Beach, Calif., Smith finished last season batting .324 with five home runs and 36 RBI while batting leadoff for the Ducks.
- He had a Pac-12 best 24 doubles, which set a new Oregon single-season record for two-baggers, while reaching base at a .417 clip and slugging .533.
- The Ducks' left fielder ranked third among all Pac-12 players with 33 extra-base hits.
- His 24 doubles ranked fifth nationally and his 0.44 doubles per game were the best in the Pac-12 and 12th overall in the country.
- He also tripled four times, which was good for second in the Pac-12 and 28th nationally.
Smith second among returning Pac-12 players in extra-base hits
- With 33 extra-base hits last season, JR OF Tanner Smith packed a lot of punch batting in the leadoff spot for the Ducks.
- The 33 extra-base hits ranked third among all Pac-12 players last season, and is the second most among Pac-12 Conference players returning this season.
- He led the Pac-12 Conference, ranked fifth nationally and set a new Oregon single-season record with 24 doubles.
- His four triples ranked second in the conference and 28th nationally.
- The two players who ranked ahead of Smith in extra-bag hits last season played four and two more games, respectively.
Veterans Smith and Hall back to patrol the outfield
- Despite the loss of All-American Aaron Zavala, Oregon returns a pair of veterans to man the corner outfield spots with Tanner Smith playing left field and Anthony Hall most likely moving from center to right field.
- With a team-high 122 career starts, including 90 in left field, Smith heads into the season 30 starts shy of cracking the all-time top 10 at Oregon.
- The Ducks' left fielder also has 102 consecutive starts, the fifth most in the modern era, and needs 36 more to set a new record.
- A third-year sophomore, Hall has 54 career starts including 42 last season. He has 49 starts in center field, four in left field and one at DH.
Kasevich highlights experienced infield
- Coming off an honorable mention All-Pac-12 season, SO SS Josh Kasevich highlights an experienced infield that boasts 248 career starts at Oregon.
- As a second-year freshman (COVID), Kasevich started all 55 games last season at short finishing the year batting .324 with four home runs and 50 RBI (4th all-time in single season at Oregon).
- In 2021, Kasevich finished second on the team in batting average, RBI and multiple-RBI games (18), while ranking third in multi-hit games (22), hits (70) and stolen bases (7).
- His 64 career starts, including nine at third base as a true freshman, ranks third among Oregon infielders behind JR Sam Novitske (118) and JR Gavin Grant (66).
- Oregon's infield also boasts starts from a number of four-year college transfers to supplement the UO experience of Grant, Kasevich and Novitske.
- Division-I transfer Brennan Milone made 40 starts at South Carolina, with 38 at third base and two at designated hitter.
- A pair of Division-II transfers, Drew Cowley and William Riley, combined to start 169 games at Cal Poly Pomona and Montana State-Billings, respectively.
- At CPP, Cowley started 117 games in three season, including 51 in 2018 and 45 in 2019.
- At MSU Billings, Riley played two seasons starting all 40 games at shortstop in 2021 and 12 of 16 games during the COVID-19 shortened 2020 campaign.
Walsh tabbed Pac-12 preseason freshman of the year by Baseball America
- The one position with no starts will be manned by true FR Jacob Walsh, who was named the preseason Pac-12 Conference Freshman of the Year by Baseball America.
- A Las Vegas native, Walsh was a consensus top-300 player in the country by Perfect Game (No. 132) and Prep Baseball Report (No. 297).
- He also ranked as a top-five first baseman nationally by both PG (No. 3) and PBR (No. 5).
- He ranked as the No. 4 player from Nevada by both Prep Baseball Report and Perfect Game.
Somers named preseason All-America
- Coming off a season where he claimed NCBWA third-team All-America honors, SR LHP Kolby Somers has been named preseason third-team All-America by both Collegiate Baseball and D1Baseball.
- A senior from Hillsboro, Ore., Somers claimed first-team All-Pac-12 Conference honors in addition to NCBWA All-America honors last season.
- He was dominant closing out games for the Ducks in 2021.
- The lefty finished the season with a 2-2 record and a 3.08 ERA with 11 saves.
- He fanned 37 in 26.1 innings pitched while holding opposing hitters to a .149 batting average.
- He ranked third in the Pac-12 in saves, as well as ranking sixth all-time in single-season saves at Oregon.
- His seven saves in conference games were the second most in the league, one behind the leader.
Ducks boast experienced arms
- Oregon will open the 2022 season with 12 pitchers on the 17-member staff who have experience at the four-year college level, including nine with double digit outings, six with more than 20 appearances, three with 30-plus appearances and two with more than 50 outings.
- The staff has five different pitchers who have career saves led by LHP Kolby Somers (12), and transfers RHP Stone Churby (5) and RHP Dylan Sabia (4).
- Oregon's closer last year, Somers leads the staff with 61 career appearances, followed closely by Churby's 58 appearances at Sacramento State from 2018-21.
- Other experienced arms include RHP Caleb Sloan (32 appearances), RHP Christian Ciuffetelli (28), RHP Andrew Mosiello (25), RHP Isaac Ayon (22), Churby (20), LHP Rio Britton (15), RHP RJ Gordon (14) RHP Scott Ellis (8), NAIA transfer RHP Adam Maier (5) and RHP Logan Mercado (3).
- The Ducks added a pair of junior college transfers in RHP Matt Dallas from Lane Community College in Eugene and RHP Jace Stoffal from Umpqua CC in Roseburg, Ore.
- Both earned All-Northwest Athletic Conference honors during their time at the JCs.
- Oregon also added three freshman -- RHP Tommy Brandenburg, RHP Jacob Hughes and RHP Cho Tofte -- to the staff.
New look rotation
- While Oregon has experience on the pitching staff, the same can't be said about the starting rotation.
- Oregon lost all three members of its weekend rotation -- LHP Robert Ahlstrom, RHP Cullen Kafka and RHP Brett Walker -- that combined to start 44 of the teams' 55 games during the 2021 season.
- Returning members of the staff have a combined 24 career starts, with 16 of those coming from closer Kolby Somers when he was a part of Oregon's rotation as a true freshman during the 2018 season and five more coming from him in 2019.
- In 2021, members of the current Oregon staff made seven starts in a Ducks' uniform with RJ Gordon leading the way with three, Isaac Ayon making a pair of starts and Andrew Mosiello and Logan Mercado each starting once.
- Heading into the season, a number of pitchers are vying to be a part of the four-man rotation the Ducks will use the first three weeks of the season and ultimately the three-man rotation once the Pac-12 Conference season starts.
- Contenders for the starting rotation are plenty with a transfer and some returning bullpen arms battling for those spots.
- A transfer from the University of British Columbia, RHP Adam Maier came in highly touted after a strong showing in the Cape Cod League during the summer of 2021 after UBC did not have a season in the spring because of COVID-19.
- After starting the 2020 season in the pen, Maier worked his way into the UBC rotation making two starts before the season was halted because of the pandemic.
- He made five appearances on the mound in his first season with UBC going 5-0 in those games.
- After two season in the pen, RHP Andrew Mosiello is in the mix to be a weekend starter in 2022.
- A key part of the back-end of the bullpen in 2021, Mosiello made his first start in the Eugene Regionals against LSU in the championship game.
- He finished the season 3-1 with a 4.12 ERA while picking up two saves in 21 appearances, while boasting a 52-to-8 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
- The team leader in appearances as a true freshman last season, RHP Isaac Ayon made a pair of starts in his 22 outings.
- He fanned 44 batters in 38.0 innings while walking just 14 and finished 2-1 with a 5.21 ERA.
- After missing the fall with an injury, true FR RHP Tommy Brandenburg has opened some eyes with his performance on the mound since the team returned in January.
- Rated as one of the top-500 incoming freshman in 2022, Brandenburg earned Central 2B WA Most Valuable Player honors as a senior in high school.
- After making three midweek starts in 2021 as a true freshman, RHP RJ Gordon finished tied for fourth on the team with three wins.
- Sidelined by injuries for much of 2021 after not pitching in 2019 and 2020, JR RHP Caleb Sloan will be a valuable member of the staff as either a starter or a reliever.
- He looked to be a member of the rotation last season heading into the year, but was derailed by an injury that allowed him to pitch just once before the beginning of April.