Oregon baseball falls in opener against Arizona
After a few innings of Ducks baseball at Thursday’s opener versus Arizona, it was very clear that despite the pregame hopes, the Oregon seniors would not be starting off their send-away weekend on the high note they desired.
“Yes, setting a tone for next year is a big thing,” sophomore pitcher Kenny Yovan said in a pre-game report from goducks.com. “But honestly, sending the seniors out in a good way — they’ve been here for so long, they deserve the best this weekend.”
The Arizona Wildcats did not allow for the outcome Yovan had prescribed and defeated the Ducks 10-2, bringing them to 25-28 on the season.
“There’s no consolation prize. I thought our at bats early were good, and then not so good as the game went along.” said Ducks head coach George Horton post-game. “We were frustrated a little bit with some of the pitches that were called strikes. I don’t think we did a good job mentally on getting to the next pitch.”
Pitching struggles plagued the Ducks on Thursday as Cullen Kafka, Kolby Somers and Zack Knoll allowed for 14 hits total.
“We got whooped. They’ve got some good low ball hitters. Those lefties are tough.” said Horton. “They scored in a lot of innings, their power showed up. We swung the bats pretty good I thought, had a couple good shots at them, but once again we didn’t have that finishing blow within an inning.”
It’s difficult in times like these, with stands verging on empty, frustrations riding high and solutions seeming few and far between, to continue bringing positives of today to apply them to the hopes of a future. But for Horton, it’s all he can look towards
“Defensively we had a couple good plays early on.” said Horton. “It could have been worse. But we’ll just have to see if we can ‘tee’ it up a little better with Kenyon tomorrow.”
As adjustments have been made, a few promising young players have stepped up to the plate to take on roles that have instilled confidence in the team’s flexibility and depth.
Freshman outfield Jonny DeLuca is one of the team leaders in home runs this season and is amongst the nations best in sacrifice flies for freshman. Sophomores Yovan and Ryne Nelson have both been placed on the watch list for the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year and Yovan has also been placed amongst the top 80 pitchers in the country for National Pitcher of the Year.
However ominous the future might seem after such a tough season, the offseason will require many moving parts to be built around the developing roles of players like Yovan, DeLuca and Nelson to get back to a winning record.
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