Oregon will play Minnesota for the first time, but Mark Wasikowski has a solid scouting report on his opening opponent.

Wasikowski will debut as UO’s baseball coach against the Gophers at 6:30 p.m. Friday during the Angels College Classic in Tempe, Ariz. Wasikowski spent the past three seasons coaching Purdue, which went 2-4 against Minnesota and longtime head coach John Anderson during that time.

“Coach Anderson’s program is traditionally the best in the Big Ten,” Wasikowski said. “John is such an awesome coach and his guys come ready to play so we will need to be ready.”

Minnesota will throw preseason all-American Max Meyer, a projected first-round draft pick, against the Ducks. The junior right-hander was 5-3 with a 2.11 ERA last season while striking out 87 in 76 2/3 innings.

“They don’t just have Max Meyer, Team USA’s No. 1 guy, but four or five returning guys that are as good as we will see all year long and it happens to be on opening day,” Wasikowski said. “Anderson’s clubs have always had an edge as far as mental approach at the plate, they are not afraid to wear pitchers down and they punish mistakes. I can’t wait to go up against him once again.”

Oregon will counter with junior right-hander Cullen Kafka, who went 5-5 with a 5.48 ERA last season.

“Ready to go,” said Kafka, who added his offseason was focused on “strength and conditioning, building up strength, endurance and flexibility to be prepared for a long season.”

Wasikowski has all juniors in his starting rotation for the four-game trip to Arizona. Peyton Fuller will face San Diego on Saturday and Robert Ahlstrom starts against Pepperdine on Sunday before Brett Walker pitches at Grand Canyon on Tuesday.

Those four combined for a 5.17 ERA last season.

“I think everyone has matured a whole lot better, we have more dogs on the mound,” Kafka said. “We are not going to give in like we may have before. Experience is going to help us out this year as a staff.”

Wasikowski expects to add two-time all-Pac-12 pitcher Kenyon Yovan to the rotation at some point in the season, but he will begin the season in the bullpen as he works back from offseason surgery.

“I don’t feel as though he’s built up his pitch counts to where it is an effective starting situation,” Wasikowski said. “His mentality is off the charts. The good news is that he’s healthy, but he’s not built up yet to where we can chuck him out there for six or seven innings. That would be irresponsible of us as a staff.”

Wasikowski could also lean toward a veteran lineup featuring returning starters Gabe Matthews at first base, Sam Novitske at second and Tanner Smith in the outfield. Sophomores A.J. Miller and Aaron Zavala or junior Evan Williams could start in the outfield with Yovan beginning the season as the designated hitter.

Junior-college transfers Sam Olsson and Gavin Grant will start at catcher and shortstop, respectively, with freshman Josh Kasevich at third base. Freshman Anthony Hall will also see time in the outfield.

“I’d say we have more of an offensive group than last year,” said Smith, who batted .284 with four homers and 35 RBIs as a freshman. “The bats have developed and the coaches put an emphasis on hitting development that has really paid off.”