For the first time in four seasons, Oregon is off to Hawaii.
The Ducks visited the Rainbow Warriors each year from 2010-15 before returning for a four-game series at Les Murakami Stadium beginning Thursday at 8:35 p.m. Oregon is 17-7 at Hawaii since 2010.
“Hawaii has been a challenge back when we used to go there all the time, it is always difficult to win there,” Oregon coach George Horton said. “On the island they draw good crowds and you hear stuff coming out of the stands.”
Oregon (7-3) had a six-game winning streak snapped with a 5-3 loss at Portland on Tuesday. The Ducks have blown at least a three-run lead in all three losses.
Oregon will give Robert Ahlstrom his first start on the mound in the opening game at Hawaii with Cullen Kafka, Ryne Nelson, and Cole Stringer to follow in the rotation.
Kenyon Yovan, Oregon’s No. 1 starter, could pitch for the first time since the Ducks opened the season at Texas Tech on Feb. 15. Yovan has been out for three weeks due to blood clots on his palm, but may return to the mound for a couple innings of relief against the Rainbow Warriors.
Oregon ranks third in the Pac-12 with a .303 batting average led by Aaron Zavala and Gabe Matthews at .417 and .406, respectively.
“We have a bunch of confidence in our lineup, we know that one through nine we have good hitters throughout the order,” said shortstop Spencer Steer, who is batting .343 with two homers and eight RBIs.
Hawaii (7-5) is opening the season with 20 straight home games. The Rainbow Warriors dropped three of four to Portland and split a four-game set against Iowa.
First baseman Alex Baeza leads the team with a .368 batting average to go with three homers and 15 RBIs. Shortstop Maaki Yamazaki and left fielder Scotty Scott are batting .333 and .326, respectively.