Talented, Inexperienced Ducks take Diamond

Led by Mitchell Tolman and Shaun Chase, the Ducks will look to release the Beavers' firm grasp on the Pac-12

After the last two seasons of coming up short of Omaha, the Ducks head back out to the diamond with their first trip to the College Baseball World Series as their goal once again. Several new faces will take the place of longstanding Ducks as they replace much of their starting pitching rotation and will have to make up for the absence of players like JJ Altobelli and Aaron Payne.

“We finally get to be with our guys for more than two hours a week. The starting gates open and away we go. For this particular club, we are looking forward to seeing how the pieces come together. We have an inexperienced club with a lot of ability, so we will see what happens,” said Coach George Horton.

Oregon opens the season once again with a four game set in Hawaii. Hawaii has proven to be a good measuring stick for the Ducks as they get into the flow of the season. They have to face a hostile crowd and environment while enjoying more conducive weather elements than Eugene in February.

“What I have said overall about this team is we have excellent depth. It’s very similar to our top 12 in years past but the difference is 12 through 20 are viable guys who could play every day in a lot of college programs,” said Horton.

Bench depth was certainly an issue a year ago as the Ducks were tested by injuries. It really hurt them down the stretch as players just were not up to speed with the game in the last month of the season and possibly led to their shortcomings in post season play.

“Maybe the biggest question mark of this year will be the roles in the pitching staff, with the rotation being brand new. Not that we like to start slow but we are going to learn a lot more in late March than we are in February.” Said Horton.

Horton says that Garrett Cleavinger will be taking over the closer role after being the setup man for Jimmie Sherfy and Jake Reed the last few years. He will have some big shoes to fill as the Ducks have produced some real shutdown men in the past several seasons.

eDuck Top Stories