Oregon Brings Back Baseball
(With the end of the year fast approaching, we’re counting down some of the top moments from the 2009 college baseball season (in no particular order). We’ll have one a day through New Year’s Eve.)
After 28 years without a baseball team, Oregon played its first college baseball game on February 20, 2009. With
former Cal State Fullerton national championship head coach, George Horton, at the helm, but Ducks beat St. Mary’s 5-3 in Morago, CA. (The Gaels would win the next two games of the series. A scheduled fourth game was canceled by weather.)
Senior Caleb Tommasni got Oregon’s first hit, while freshman left-hander Tyler Anderson pitched 5 2/3 innings in his first career start for the Duck’s first win since 1981.
The following week Oregon won its first home game at the new PK Park with a 1-0 win over defending National Champion Fresno State. The Ducks won the game in dramatic fashion with a walk-off single by Andrew Schmidt-a redhirt sixth year senior graduate student who had attended Tallahassee Community College and Pensacola Junior College prior to his arrival in Eugene. (Schmidt was granted a sixth year by the NCAA after suffering two previous season-ending injuries.) Oregon won the next day as well, but the Bulldogs salvaged a win in the series finale.
With a high-profile head coach and the backing of Nike (the baseball team’s uniform combinations are rivaled only by that of the Duck football team), Oregon baseball was going to make a run at Oregon State and the national stage, right?
Well…not exactly. The Ducks would win just 11 more games the rest of the season, including their last 13 of 2009, to finish at 14-42 overall and 4-23 in the Pac-10. (They were 1-5 vs. Oregon State.)
Still, at a time when college budgets are tight and programs are being cut (two were announced during 2009) the return of baseball to a Pac-10 school like Oregon helps breath new life into the sport…especially with a man like Horton at the helm.
Horton and his Ducks open their 2010 campaign on February 19 at Cal State Fullerton, where Horton led the Titans to six College World Series appearances and the 2004 National Title. Their 2010 home opener is on March 2 vs. Washington at the all new PK Park.