BSB Preview: Ducks Look to Get Back on Track Against Sun Devils in Tempe After Longest Losing Streak of Season

By Dylan Farrell

Oregon baseball has had its fair share of storylines this season, from its historic offense to its seemingly fruitless search for a consistent starting pitcher. The former has struggled immensely of late, being shut out for the first time ever under head coach Mark Wasikowski on May 3 against Oregon State, then two more times in the subsequent week — one coming against Oregon State again, but the second against a far lesser opponent in UC San Diego. While it’s a subject of debate whether or not to be concerned about Oregon’s repeated losses to OSU, there is no doubt that a shutout loss to UCSD this far into the season is cause for some level of inquiry, especially given that the Ducks have won just one out of their last seven games. The team’s upcoming three game stint against Arizona State gives it a chance to get back on track and build off that one win against UCSD, a 15-6 rout that occurred on Wednesday evening. The Ducks’ loss to UCSD may not be cause for significant long term concern given their bounce-back performance on Wednesday, but the offense going silent against a team outside the top 25 that has no pitchers with ERAs under 2.50 that have more than 4 appearances on the season is a little worrisome this late in the year. Nonetheless, Oregon’s offense has built a strong resume over the course of this season and will no doubt look to complete its Austin Powers story-arc and get its mojo back against an unranked, sub-.500 ASU team with a porous defense.

That said, this isn’t a game that the Ducks should take lightly. After its struggles against OSU, Washington State and USC, Oregon sits just one game ahead of the Sun Devils in Pac-12 standings. Making a statement against ASU is crucial for this team.

Projected Starting Pitchers: Oregon

Oregon has been happy to pass the starting job around throughout this season given its consistency issues on the mound, but Coach Wasikowski has showed some favorites over the course of the season. Four pitchers have logged multiple starts over Oregon’s last nine games: Dylan Sabia, Jace Stoffal, Isaac Ayon and RJ Gordon. Of those, Isaac Ayon has the most starts on the season, so he’ll likely be tapped to start at some point throughout the series, though his 7.71 ERA and 1.91 WHIP by no means lock down his position for the upcoming series. Another likely starter is RJ Gordon, who’s logged the second-most starts in conference play, behind only Ayon. Other options who could take the mound for the Ducks include Christian Ciuffetelli, who started once against UCSD; Jace Stoffal, who hasn’t been utilized much this season but has seen more playing time of late; and Dylan Sabia, whose recent outings against Oregon State and UCSD produced just one earned run.

 Projected Starting Pitchers: Arizona State

Arizona State doesn’t have an ace by any means, but a couple of popular choices have emerged. The most likely option to get one or two starts is Adam Tulloch, who leads his team in starts in and out of conference play. On the season, he posts a 7.39 ERA alongside a 1.74 WHIP. Those numbers balloon to 10.41 and 2.34 respectively in conference play, so it wouldn’t be too surprising to see ASU opt for a different starter for this series. The other most likely option for ASU is Kyle Luckham, who has started only two fewer games than Tulloch on the year and posts a 4.46 ERA and 1.38 WHIP. His numbers are more modest in conference play, too; Luckham has a 5.36 ERA and 1.64 WHIP through his 8 starts in conference play, making him the most likely option to start multiple games if ASU head coach Willie Bloomquist opts to go that route.   

Projected Lineup: Oregon

  1. LF Tanner Smith
  2. 3B Drew Cowley
  3. DH Brennan Milone
  4. RF Anthony Hall
  5. SS Josh Kasevich
  6. 1B Jacob Walsh
  7. CF Colby Shade
  8. C Jack Scanlon
  9. 2B Gavin Grant

Projected Lineup: Arizona State

  1. CF Joe Lampe
  2. SS Sean McLain
  3. C Ryan Campos
  4. 2B Nate Baez
  5. DH Conor Davis
  6. 1B Jacob Tobias
  7. RF Kai Murphy
  8. LF Will Rogers
  9. 3B Cam Magee

Keys to the Series

  • Keep the offense running; don’t repeat game 1 vs. UCSD
  • Try to keep the hot streak alive among starters
  • Take advantage of the weak defense

Final Thoughts

Oregon needs to at least win the series against ASU here to cement their place in Pac-12 standings as the season winds down towards tournament play.


Oregon should sweep the series against ASU comfortably, as it has a deeper bullpen, more prolific offense and better overall record, despite what the Pac-12 standings say.