George Horton left Texas Tech with mixed emotions.
“Frustrated and encouraged,” the Oregon baseball coach said Thursday. “It is hard to say that because there are no moral victories or consolation prizes going 1-2 even though Tech looks like another playoff-worthy team to me. Probably one of the most important things I liked was our competitive personality. It is a small sample size, but they like competing and that is something they can control.”
Oregon opened the season with a 9-4 win over the eighth-ranked Red Raiders last Friday before losing leads in the final two games of the series. The Ducks blew an eight-run lead in a 12-11 loss Saturday and led 4-1 before losing 5-4 on Sunday.
Oregon batted .372 while scoring 24 runs, but allowed 22 runs during the weekend.
Freshman Aaron Zavala is batting .462 with first baseman Gabe Matthews at .455. Outfielder Jonny DeLuca is hitting .438 with junior Spencer Steer and freshman Tanner Smith both at .417.
“Our offense did show up in some very offensive conditions,” Horton said. “If we can continue to be productive, not at that level because we will face good pitching in the Pac-12 and the Northwest is tougher to score runs in sometimes, but I liked the way our youngsters functioned. Some speed showed up in a big way. … We started four or five freshmen and they did not look like freshmen.”
Starting pitcher Kenyon Yovan allowed one run in two innings before leaving with “minor hand discomfort,” according to the school.
Tests ruled out any serious injury, but Yovan is not listed in the starting rotation when Oregon hosts Saint Mary’s for four games this weekend. However, Horton said he could pitch in relief or start Sunday depending on how he is feeling.
The Ducks will open the series at 3 p.m. Friday by pitching left-hander Cole Stringer, who was slated to start Monday’s game at Texas Tech that was cancelled due to cold temperatures.
The two teams are slated to play a doubleheader Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. with Ryne Nelson taking the mound for Oregon in the first game and Cullen Kafka slated for the nightcap. The series is slated to conclude at noon Sunday, but there is rain in the forecast each day so the schedule could be altered.
Saint Mary’s opened the season with a four-gamse sweep of Washington State while outscoring the Cougars 37-13.