THE COMFORTS OF HOME: For Seattle University, home will finally become a familiar place, as nine of the team’s final 12 scheduled regular season games will take place within the Puget Sound region. The Redhawks host nationally-ranked Oregon in a two-game midweek series, the first taking place at Everett Memorial Stadium before the teams return to Bannerwood Park for the second game. Seattle U then welcomes Sacramento State for a key WAC series, as the Redhawks look to move into the top eight in the WAC standings in order to qualify for the conference tournament.
LAST WEEKEND: For the second consecutive year, Seattle University went to San Jose State and took two of three games from the Spartans over the weekend. In Friday’s series opener, Seattle U scored five runs in the second, starting with a solo home run from Sean Narby, three runs in the third, and five runs in the eighth for a 13-3 victory. Ted Hammond was effective enough for the win, and Kyle Doyle earned a three-inning save. Saturday, Cash McGuire hit a solo home run to tie the game at 1-1 in the third, but the Spartans would score six unanswered runs for a 7-1 victory. Sunday, Seattle U produced another big inning, scoring five times in the fifth inning. Landon Cray picked up the big hit with a bases-clearing triple. Cullen Hendrickson came off the bench and drove in Nick Latta in both the fifth and sixth inning. Andrew Olson had another solid start, and Eric Yardley picked up his ninth save of the season as Seattle U clinched the series with a 6-3 victory.
QUICK STAT: Nick Latta has reached base safely in 12 consecutive games for the Redhawks.
SCOUTING OREGON: The Ducks enter the midweek series with a 33-10 overall record after sweeping Stanford over the weekend in two one-run games and a two-run contest. Oregon is currently ranked sixth by Collegiate Baseball and 11th by Baseball America. The Ducks have won 11 of their last 13 games, with the two losses coming to UCLA in 1-0 contests. As a team, the Ducks have compiled a .264 batting average, a .980 fielding percentage, and a 2.76 earned run average. Offensively, Ryon Healy leads the team with a .347 batting average with 59 hits, including 14 doubles and nine home runs, plus he has scored 37 runs and driven in 42 runs. Jeff Gold is scheduled to start Tuesday’s game, and he brings a 3-0 record with a 1.64 earned run average, striking out 31 batters in 33 innings of work. Jimmie Sherfy is one of the top closers in the country, accumulating 14 saves to go along with a 2-0 record and a 0.90 earned run average. In 30 innings over 28 appearances, he has struck out 41 batters.
SERIES HISTORY: These two schools, both with reborn baseball programs, have met 18 times previously, with Oregon holding a 16-1-1 record over Seattle U. Oregon went 9-0 in the first incarnation of the two programs. Since Seattle U’s program was reinstated in 2010, one year after Oregon’s baseball team started varsity competition again, the Ducks hold a 7-1-1 record. The teams played a four-game series March 12-14, 2010, in Eugene, with Oregon winning the first three before Seattle U broke through with a 6-4 victory in the series finale. Oregon came north for a two-game series May 10-11, 2011, winning the first game at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma, 10-5, before the second game at Bannerwood Park was called after nine innings with the score tied, 7-7. Last season, Seattle U visited PK Park May 18-20, with Oregon sweeping the Redhawks. In the middle game of the series, Seattle U was ahead of Oregon in the eighth inning, 4-3, before the Ducks scored single runs in each of the last two innings.
WEATHER FORECAST: The Puget Sound area will be warming up as the week goes along. Tuesday evening, temperatures should be in the low 50s before warming into the low 60s for Wednesday’s game. Over the weekend, partly to mostly sunny skies are expected with temperatures in the 60s and 70s.
AROUND THE WAC: After everyone but Louisiana Tech and New Mexico State plays midweek games, conference play resumes over the weekend with UT Arlington hosting Dallas Baptist, CSU Bakersfield traveling to face Louisiana Tech, Texas State making the short trip to take on UTSA, and New Mexico State hosting San Jose State.
SCOUTING SACRAMENTO STATE: The Hornets enter the week with a 26-18 overall record, including a 10-8 mark within the WAC that puts them in fourth place. Sacramento State will travel to Reno to face Nevada before coming to Seattle. As a team, the Hornets have combined for a .276 batting average, a .981 fielding percentage, and a 3.52 earned run average. Chris Lewis leads the team with a .333 batting average, 55 hits, 11 doubles, and 33 RBI. Justin Higley has hit a team-high nine home runs. On the mound, Sutter McLoughlin has made 20 appearances out of the bullpen, compiling a 1-2 record with a 1.73 ERA and 12 saves, tops in the WAC. The Hornets are 6-1 against the Redhawks over the past two seasons.