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Diamond Ducks Weekend Preview

Washington Schools Visit Eugene

COLLEGE BASEBALL: MAR 13 Oregon at Stanford Photo by Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Baseball vs. Washington State Cougars

Friday, 4/22 - 6:00 pm - Oregon Live Stream

Saturday, 4/23 - 3:00 pm - Oregon Live Stream

Sunday, 4/24 - Noon - Oregon Live Stream

Softball vs. Washington Huskies

Friday, 4/22 - 7:00 pm - Pac-12 Networks

Saturday, 4/23 - 5:00 pm - Pac-12 Networks

Sunday, 4/24 - 3:00 pm - Pac-12 Networks

Coming off mid-week non-Conference single-game wins, Oregon’s softball and baseball teams return to Conference play this weekend. Baseball has a 3-game home set against Washington State and softball welcomes Washington to Eugene.

Oregon softball – ranked #20 despite a rough April - comes in at 26 – 13 overall, but a disappointing 5 – 10 in the Pac-12 Conference. Oregon has not won a Conference series for almost a month, as its pitchers have struggled with consistency and the team has failed to deliver key hits when needed. Stevie Hansen has proven to be the most consistent in the circle and is likely to see heavy work in this weekend’s series against the #11-ranked Huskies. A series win – or better yet a home sweep of Washington – could set Oregon up for a mini-run leading up to announcement of NCAA Tournament Regional qualifiers next month. Following Washington, Oregon will face Oregon State at home and then Stanford on the road to close out the Conference season.

Washington comes into the series at 25 – 11 overall and 6 – 6 in the Conference, similar to Oregon. The Huskies, though, have won 5 of their last 6 Pac-12 games, including a 3-game sweep of Oregon State in Seattle last weekend. All three games were low-scoring, one-run affairs, however, and the final game went 8 innings. The Huskies also won 2 of 3 in Arizona the weekend before.

Washington has been inconsistent offensively, most often scoring 3-5 runs, but occasionally breaking out to higher numbers. The Huskies have 4 players hitting .300 or above, led by Senior Baylee Klingler at .457. Klingler also leads Washington in home runs with 18 and RBIs with 55 and her slugging percentage is huge at 1.043. The aptly named Madison Huskey, a Senior outfielder, has 31 RBIs and is hitting .293, while Senior outfielder Sami Reynolds hits for average (.385) and has a .604 slugging percentage with 9 doubles and 4 home runs accounting for 1/3 of her hits. Reynolds and Freshman Kinsey Fiedler account for half of the Huskies 39 stolen bases on the year. If the Ducks can keep Klingler, Huskey and Reynolds off the base paths, they stand a good chance of holding Washington to a low number of runs.

Most of Washington’s starts in the circle have come from two players. Fifth-year player Gabbie Plain has started 17 games and compiled an 11 – 4 record with a 2.31 ERA. Junior Kelley Lynch has earned 10 starts, has a 4 – 3 record and a 3.75 ERA. Junior Brooke Nelson has the lowest staff ERA at 1.99 and has started 3 games and appeared in relief 9 other times. She has a 4-0 record. Plain has worked 106 innings, striking out 125 while walking 38 while Lynch has pitched 50.1 innings, striking out 58 while walking 25. Nelson has struck out 28 batters while walking just 4 in 24.2 innings pitched.

The Huskies also play good defense, which, along with their pitching, accounts for their having won many low-scoring games. Washington has 8 players who have yet to record an error (although several have only a handful of chances) and one other who has made one error in 153 chances. The team average is .975, the same as Oregon’s.

The two teams seem remarkably evenly matched which should make for an exciting series.

BASEBALL – The Ducks come in with an overall record of 25 – 11 and 10 – 5 in the Pac-12, good enough for a tie atop the Conference with Oregon State. Oregon has won 6 games in a row including a 3-game sweep of Washington in Seattle last weekend. The last 5 games have been one or two run victories. Oregon has steadied after losing three 1-run games to UCLA in early April and has shown it can win close games when it does not get its bats rolling.

Washington State resides near the bottom of the Conference with a record of 5 - 13. Their overall record is 14 – 21. In recent action, the Cougars took one of three at home against Cal last weekend and beat Seattle on the road on Wednesday. The Cougars also won 2 of 3 against the #9 Arizona Wildcats in Tucson earlier this month.

The Cougars are led at the plate by Senior Jack Smith who is hitting .355 and leads the team in RBIs with 25. Smith doesn’t hit for power and has only doubles as extra-base hits this season. The rest of Washington State’s line-up averages less than .300 and the team is limited on offense to mostly stringing together singles. The Cougars have only 20 home runs and 5 triples on the season. Sophomore outfielder Nate Swarts leads the team with 4 homers but has started only 9 games. Jacob McKeon and Bryce Matthews are each hitting .289. Matthews has 3 home runs and 15 RBI. Washington State is not much of a threat to steal bases, having only 11 successful steals on 19 attempts. Opponents have had success against WSU in this area, however, stealing 39 bases on 51 attempts. If the Ducks return to their high-octane offensive performance, the Cougars will have trouble keeping pace.

Three pitchers have taken the majority of the starts for Washington State this season. Grant Taylor, Cole McMillan and McCabe Cottrell have each started 9 games. Neither Taylor nor McMillan have appeared at all in relief, and Cottrell has done so only once. Taylor, a Sophomore right-hander, has a 2 – 4 record and a 3.91 ERA. He has 49 strikeouts and has walked 21 in 46 innings. McMillan, a Redshirt Sophomore lefty, is 3 – 3 with a 6.60 ERA. He has struck out 40 and walked 23 in 45 innings. Redshirt Junior southpaw Cottrell has a 6.69 ERA and a 1 – 6 record. He has struck out 28 while walking 25 in 40.1 innings. Junior Cam Liss, another left-hander, has started 3 games and appeared primarily in short relief in 17 others. He has pitched 28 innings, and struck out 35 batters and walked 17. The Cougars pitching staff seems very vulnerable to Oregon’s bats. The Cougars are a decent fielding team with an overall average of .968 – their errors tend to come from Catcher and infielders. Oregon may be able to take advantage by being aggressive on the basepaths against the Cougars catcher.

Join ATQ in the daily game threads for these Diamond Ducks series!