The preseason top 25 rankings by D1Baseball were released early last week and sadly – no, not sadly, inexplicably – the Ducks were left out. Following an incredible 2023 season and retaining many of the star players, Oregon has proven its worth and has every right to a top-25 spot.
Finishing the regular season at 33-20 overall, the Ducks went into the Pac-12 Tournament feeling confident but not overzealous.
Upsetting No. 4 Stanford in the second round, Oregon went on to defeat Washington and then Arizona to claim the tournament title.
The Ducks were then onto the Nashville Regional where they surprised both Xavier and No. 3 Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt, who was predicted to go all the way to the College World Series, was knocked out of the tournament at home.
Going 3-0 in the regional and outsourcing their opponents 24-13, Oregon was marching onto the NCAA Super Regionals.
The hot bats seemed to cool as the Ducks faced Oral Roberts. Scoring just nine runs to ORU’s eight in the first game of the series, Oregon eeked out the win. Unfortunately, Oral Roberts was able to maintain the pressure, defeating the Ducks 7-8 and 6-11 in the following two games.
With an unexpected run in the postseason tournament, the Ducks walked away from last year feeling good and many of the players from the Pac-12 title team stuck around for this year:
- Right-handed pitcher Isaac Ayon is now in his junior year with Oregon
- Catcher Bennett Thompson, an Oregon native, is in his third year with the Ducks
- First baseman Jacob Walsh, who hit 16 home runs and had 37 RBIs last year, is still around for his junior year
- Right-handed pitcher RJ Gordon, with a career 68 strikeouts, is back for year number three
- Right-handed pitcher Logan Mercado stayed for his final year with the Ducks
- Outfielder Bryce Boettcher, also on the Ducks’ football roster, is entering his fourth season with Oregon
- Right-handed pitcher Austin Anderson will be playing in his senior year
These players are back for head coach Mark Wasikowski and all are hopeful to play even deeper in the 2024 postseason.
All of this being said, the Ducks are capable of great success this year but they do have some incredibly tough opponents ahead of them.
Facing No. 7 Oregon State, No. 22 UCLA, and No. 25 USC will be no easy feat during conference play. They will also have to play against No. 21 Texas Tech in a preseason tournament as well as No. 17 UC Santa Barbara in a non-conference series.
Despite the challenging schedule ahead, the Ducks have shown in the past that they are capable of a few upsets on the road and I believe that they can repeat that success in 2024.
Now, we just have to wait and see what Oregon can do this season.