Ducks Can't Play Sloppy Versus Lions

EUGENE-The Oregon baseball team began the 2014 season the same way they began last year, with a sweep of Hawai'i in Honolulu. Oregon will look to make its PK Park debut with a perfect 7-0 record after this weekend's three-game set with Loyola Marymount.

EUGENE -The Oregon baseball team began the 2014 season the same way they began last year, with a sweep of Hawai'i in Honolulu. Oregon will look to make its PK Park debut with a perfect 7-0 record after this weekend's three-game set with Loyola Marymount.

In order to do so, they'll need to play cleaner defensive baseball. Despite the four-game sweep over the Rainbow Warriors, Oregon committed nine errors on the weekend, most of which were unforced, according to assistant coach Mark Wasikowski.

"It was us. We played poorly. We didn't catch the ball well," he said told media members Wednesday.

Still confidence is high after 4-0 start, in part because the Ducks left Honolulu playing their best ball.

"The best game that we played was the last game that we played," Wasilkwoski said of Monday's 10-2 win. "We put together a real quality effort all around."

The Ducks saw great bench play all weekend, highlighted by freshman reserve A.J. Balta's go-ahead single on Saturday. Over the weekend, bench players combined to hit 6-for-12 with six RBIs.

Wasikowski doesn't expect the opening weekend to impact the lineup, but does say it gives his group confidence.

"Probably the best thing we did all weekend was bench play," he said. "I thought they all played outstanding coming off the bench when they got their opportunities."

The Oregon pitching staff finished with a 2.19 ERA, allowing just nine Rainbow Warrior earned runs in 36 innings. Freshman Matt Krook showed why he was a top draft pick in the MLB draft and why he'll be a major factor in the middle of the rotation.

Krook struck out eight batters in seven innings without an earned run. Krook, who pitched on Saturday, will be moving to Friday against the Lions.

It wasn't without its struggles as well, as Krook threw seven wild pitches.

"Matt's got some pretty wicked stuff too. He'g going to bounce some balls and some pitches are going to get away from him. That just goes with him being as good as he is with his 1st round kind of stuff," Wasikowski said.

"It was just curveballs in the dirt," Krook said Wednesday. "Definitely it wasn't nerves. It was curveballs in the dirt."

Krook says its been a life long problem, but something that will get better as the season progresses.

The Ducks next opponent is a familiar one. Oregon and LMU met last year at PK, with the Ducks taking two of three, and head man Jason Gill was a member of George Horton's staff at Cal-State Fullerton and Oregon.

"Those guys know what they're doing, it's going to be a hard-fought battle," Wasikowski said. If we play sloppy, this club is going to take advantage of our error and miscues, without a doubt in my mind."

Back for the Lions is pitching ace Colin Welmon, who provided the Lions with their lone win over Oregon last year. Welmon tossed six shutout innings at PK last year, striking out nine in a win over current Duck closer Jake Reed.

"He's as good as they get on a Friday night. He beat us here at PK Park last year. He's a Pac-12, any league arm. He's going to be a high draft. He's as good as they get," Wasikowski said.

Oregon and LMU open the series at 6 p.m. Friday, before 1 p.m. first pitches both Saturday and Sunday.

The Ducks follow the road trip with 15-straight home games, starting with season home-opener with Portland on Feb. 25.


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