Erick Migueles (15) takes a cut as the Utes take on the BYU Cougars at Smith's Ballpark May 8, 2018. (Photo by: Justin Prather / Daily Utah Chronicle).

 

The University of Utah baseball team will host the Oregon Ducks this weekend in the Utes’ first home conference series. Last season, the Utes were swept in three games at PK Park in Eugene, Oregon. Oregon’s last loss against Utah came on April 2, 2017, where the Utes won 13-1.

 

Oregon’s College World Series History:

The Ducks’ last invite to the College World Series came in 2015. They beat Canisius College, but later lost two games to Iowa in the Missouri State Regional. The last time Oregon hosted a regional was in 2013. Their victories came against South Dakota State, San Francisco and Rice University. Rice eventually beat Oregon twice to move to the Super Regionals. The furthest the Ducks have gotten in the CWS is the Super Regionals, where they were host in 2012. The Ducks lost that series in three games to the Kent State Golden Flashes.

 

Oregon Players to Watch:

Gabe Matthews is a 6-foot-2-inch junior first baseman from Salem, Oregon. He was named Freshman All-American in 2017 by Collegiate Baseball. Last season, Matthews had the longest reached base streak for the Ducks which extended to 18 games. Matthews currently leads the Ducks in hits (25), walks (16), slugging percentage (.544) and doubles (6). He is also tied for first on the team in home runs (2) and RBI (12).

Spencer Steer is a 5-foot-11-inch junior infielder from Long Beach, California. He was named Freshman All-American in 2017 by Collegiate Baseball. Steer also earned All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention in 2018. Last season, Steer led the team in RBI (37) and recorded the teams longest hitting streak at nine games. This year, Steer is tied for first on the team in runs scored (13), triples (1) and home runs (2).

Ryne Nelson is a 6-foot-3-inch junior pitcher from Henderson, Nevada. He was named a Baseball America Preseason Second Team All-American. Nelson is also on the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Preseason Watchlist for 2019. In 31 innings so far this season, Nelson has a 4.83 ERA with 46 strikeouts.

 

Oregon’s Head Coach:

George Horton is a legend in the college baseball head coaching world. In 2004, he managed the Cal State Fullerton Titans to a National Championship. Horton finds himself in the Cal State Fullerton, California Community College Baseball Coaches Association and Downey High School Hall of Fame. He has won Conference Coach of the Year 10 times, while also chalking up seven national coach of the year awards. Horton is in his 11th season as Oregon’s head man and has coached 132 MLB draft picks throughout his career.

 

Oregon Fun Fact:

Oregon was the only Pac-10 school without a varsity baseball program until the team was created in 2008.

 

Utah 2019 Season Update

The Utes will come into the weekend with a 7-12 (1-5) record after being swept by No. 3 Stanford. Utah’s pitching and defense have struggled recently with 12 errors over the last four games. The Utes have also given up 32 runs in those four games.

 

Utah Players to Watch:

Erick Migueles is a 5-foot-11-inch outfielder from Tucson, Arizona. Migueles had a good weekend against the Cardinal, blasting his third home run of the year. He leads the Utes in sacrifice flies (4) and is tied for first in home runs (3). Migueles usually bats fourth in the lineup and is currently in second place on the team in RBI (19).

Oliver Dunn continued his offensive hot streak against Stanford with four hits, two RBI and two runs scored. He is leading the team in runs scored (23), RBI in a game (6), doubles (13), triples (1), total bases (45) and walks (15).

Rykker Tom is a 5-foot-10-inch sophomore from Cedar City, Utah. Tom is batting .373 on the season with 25 hits, eight RBI and two sacrifice flies.

 

Utah Fun Fact:

Four players were selected in the 2017 MLB draft — Jayson Rose (Brewers), Riley Ottesen (Dodgers), Andre Jackson (Dodgers) and Dallas Carroll (Brewers). With four selected, Utah baseball tied a school record for most players taken in the MLB draft in one season.

 

This Weekend’s Schedule:

Utah will play the Ducks on Friday, March 29 at 6 p.m., Saturday, March 30 at 4 p.m., and Sunday, March 31 at 1 p.m. The three games will be played at Smith’s Ballpark in Salt Lake City, Utah and you can follow live stats at utahutes.com.

b.ramsay@dailyutahchronicle.com

@brayden_ramsay

Brayden Ramsay is a Senior at the University of Utah writing for the sports desk. He previously worked for Snow College Athletics before leaving on a Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to London, England. After transferring to the University of Utah, Brayden decided to major in Sports Journalism and hopes to one day work for a major sports network. This is Brayden's first year at the Chronicle.

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