Oregon is coming off its poorest season since the 2009 campaign that marked the return of the program after being dormant for 27 years. The 2018 Ducks were 26-29 overall and finished 12-18 in Pac-12 play, tied with USC for eighth place in the conference standings.
The Ducks also missed the postseason for the third year in a row, and George Horton was reportedly on his way out after 10 seasons as head coach. In late May, Oregon confirmed that Horton would be back for the final year of his contract.
The new season begins Friday for the Ducks with the opening game of a four-game set against preseason No. 8-ranked Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas. Oregon follows the Texas Tech series with a four-game home series against Saint Mary’s beginning Feb. 22.
Among the Ducks’ 18 returning players are six position-player starters (counting designated hitter), as well as two starting pitchers from the weekend rotation: Kenyon Yovan, a junior right-hander who also regularly serves as DH, and Kolby Somers, a sophomore lefty.
Projected returning starters include junior Gabe Matthews at first base, junior Spencer Steer at shortstop/third base, sophomore Jonny DeLuca in center field, and redshirt senior Jakob Goldfarb in right field.
Goldfarb is also a catcher, joining redshirt junior Cameron Campbell on the list of probable starters behind the plate for the Ducks this weekend. Other catchers on the roster include Heath Pickhardt, a freshman out of Prineville’s Crook County High School.