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Diamond Ducks Weekend Preview

Oregon State, Stanford Loom on the Road

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

Oregon Softball @ Stanford

Friday, May 6 - 5:00 pm - Pac-12 Networks

Saturday, May 7 - 2:00 pm - Pac-12 Networks

Sunday, May 8 - Noon - Pac-12 Networks

Oregon Baseball @ Oregon State

Friday, May 6 - 7:00 pm - Pac-12 Networks

Saturday, May 7 - 6:00 pm - Pac-12 Networks

Sunday, May 8 - 2:00 pm - Pac-12 Networks

Baseball – Oregon comes into the “counting” part of their 5-game series with Oregon State. OSU won both of the non-Conference tilts on the previous 2 Tuesdays, 4 – 2 and then 2 – 0. Both games were close throughout and very tightly contested. The main difference has been Oregon’s inability in the two games to generate much offense, or key hits. As noted in the game report, the Ducks failed to score in this week’s game in one instance with the bases loaded and only one out. Against a team of the Beavers pitching and defensive quality, those opportunities must be seized as they will not come often.

Despite the two losses, Oregon has shown it can play with the #2 ranked Beavers. The Ducks come into the series at 28 – 16 overall and 13 – 8 in the Pac-12, good for a tie for 3rd with Arizona in the Conference. The Ducks are only 2 games back of Oregon State, so a series sweep would move them past the Beavers although first place would be up for grabs with UCLA and Arizona. Oregon has thrived when it can get its bats going – the team seems to feed on the energy of offensive rallies – and has shown tremendous ability to rally late in games. No lead against Oregon appears safe – Cal came into the bottom of the 9th in the final game of that series last weekend with a 9 – 5 lead and was lucky to win 9 – 8. The Duck hurlers have had good success against Oregon State batters in the two previous games and will need to continue playing at a high level to give Oregon’s bats a chance to win the games. After playing the two close games a slugfest in at least one of the weekend contests – or at least a game decided by a larger number of runs - could be in the cards.

Oregon State comes into the series at 35 – 9 and 15 – 6 in the Conference. They’ve won 3 in a row, 2 of which were against the Utes in Salt Lake City and then the Oregon game Tuesday and 4 of their last 5. The Beavers can certainly score runs – 9 against Gonzaga in a recent game, and 15 in 2 wins over the Huskies and they are averaging 8 runs per game over the season. Junior Wade Meckler leads regular players at .362 with 5 other players who see regular action hitting over .300. Several other players who appear less frequently are also hitting .300 or better. Overall, the Beavers don’t hit for power with Junior Jacob Melton leading the team with 10 home runs. Melton also leads Oregon State with 53 RBI while Sophomore Justin Boyd has added 42 and Freshman Travis Bazzana has 37. Boyd also has 6 homers, and together Boyd and Melton have almost half the Beavers dingers. Oregon State is active on the base paths, having stolen 63 bases on 75 attempts. Boyd has one-third of Oregon State’s steal attempts and joins Melton and Bazzana as the main threats to steal. The Beavers play excellent defense and have made only 18 errors in 43 games. Catcher Gavin Logan has yet to make an error in 241 chances, and OSU has a total of 22 players who have zero errors, although many of course also have had very few chances.

Sophomore left-hander Cooper Hjerpe leads Oregon State’s pitchers in starts with 11. He has compiled an 8 – 1 record and a 2.13 ERA and has struck out 109 batters while walking only 13 in 67.2 innings of work. Freshman Jacob Kmatz has started 10 games and has gone 8 – 0 with a 3.11 ERA, has struck out 49 and walked 12 in 55 innings. Junior Jake Pfennings has the lowest ERA on the roster at 0.66 but has started only 5 games and made no other appearances. He’s pitched only 13.2 innings. Sophomore Jaren Hunter has 8 starts, a 1 – 1 record and a 4.08 ERA in 35.1 innings. Oregon State features some very solid relief pitching – Junior Ben Ferrer has appeared in 14 games in relief with a 1.59 ERA and Senior Reid Sebby has pitched in 18 games of short relief (just 27.2 innings) and has a 1.95 ERA. The Beavers have shown their ability to keep Oregon’s bats quiet so far in the first two games of the series.

Oregon State’s pitching and defense are tough. The Beavers make very few mistakes and are not going to give anybody a game. Oregon will have to be at their best to win the series. While there is yet a lot of baseball to play – including the inaugural Pac-12 Tournament – winning this series would do a lot to position Oregon for post-season play.

COLLEGE SOFTBALL: APR 17 Oregon at Washington Photo by Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

SOFTBALL – The Ducks travel to play Stanford this weekend. In a contrast to the baseball season, this is the final Conference series for Oregon, and after a week off, they will (hopefully) move directly into an NCAA Regional. In some future year, we are likely to also see a Pac-12 softball tournament. Oregon comes into this series on a little more optimistic note. The team is now 29 - 16 overall and just 8 – 13 in the Pac-12 and in 5th place in the Conference. Oregon swept Oregon State at home last weekend, winning their first Pac-12 series since late March. Oregon’s pitchers had a good weekend, melding well together to hold the Beavers to a total of 5 runs over the three games and the Ducks batters delivered the key hits needed to win games both elements that have been missing recently.

Stanford’s season, at least as far as records go, has been similar to Oregon’s. The Cardinal are 33 – 16 overall and 8 – 10 in the Conference. A series win here will move Oregon into 4th place in the Pac-12. Stanford, though, has been tough at home, going 18 – 4 overall. The Cardinal are coming off being swept by Washington in Seattle last weekend and beat St. Mary’s on the road 10 – 1 last night. Stanford showed its quality by winning their series against UCLA in early April, scoring two nail-biting 1 – 0 victories after losing the first game 3 – 1 in 8 innings.

Stanford has 4 players hitting over .300, with Senior Taylor Gindlesperger leading the team at .389. Three others are hitting between .310 and .315 – Junior Kaitlyn Lim, Senior Emily Young and Junior Sydnee Huff. The Cardinal are not a long-ball team – in fact Stanford has hit a total of only 21 home runs and 28 triples in their 1266 at bats. They are averaging just over 4 runs per game so a slugfest against Oregon seems pretty unlikely. Lim leads the team with 6 home runs, and Utility player Chloe Doyle, who has appeared in about ¾ of Stanford’s games, has 5. Lim and Young lead Stanford with 35 RBI’s each and Gindlesperger has 22. Stanford has about one successful steal per game on average with Gindlesperger the team leader by far. Most of the Cardinal’s regular line-up players have yet to be caught stealing on relatively small numbers of attempts, but it’s clear that Stanford will try to manufacture runs with timely base thefts.

The Cardinal have relied primarily on two pitchers as starters. Junior Alana Vawter has 28 starts. She has a 20 – 9 record and a 1.68 ERA in 174.2 innings pitched. Vawter has struck out 136 and walked 30. Sophomore Regan Krause has started 15 games and has come on in relief in 7 other games. She has a 10 – 4 record overall and a 1.94 ERA over 90.1 innings with 66 strikeouts and 30 walks. Junior Tatum Boyd has 4 starts but is 0 – 2 and has a 3.50 ERA, while Molly Millar has come on in relief 15 times and compiled a 1.66 ERA, best on the team, in 33.2 innings. Stanford’s pitching and defense are very good – the Staff ERA is just 1.84 and the team fields at a .975 clip. Oregon’s bats will need to be “on” for the team to have success in this series.

The Cardinal finish their regular season with a series at Arizona beginning May 12, while Oregon has that weekend off. The NCAA Regionals will then begin the following weekend – May 19. The Ducks play in one of the toughest softball conferences in the country and their current top-25 ranking should lead to a Regional bid – but a series win this weekend would cement it. Stay with ATQ for continuing coverage of the Diamond Ducks.