Oregon Baseball 2011: Great Expectations

Oregon Baseball 2011: Great Expectations »Play Video

From 14-42 in year one, to 40-24 and an NCAA regional berth in 2010, many expect bigger things from the diamond Ducks in 2011. Oregon is picked to finish 4th by the coaches in the Pac-10 preseason poll.

Four preseason rankings have the Ducks as a top 15 team in the country.

Head Coach George Horton said, "This is what you work your rear-end off to get to and now the pressure of fulfilling those expectations is a different animal."

Horton added, "There will be no more satisfaction from us winning 40-games or going to a regional. Now it's a matter of winning more than 40-games, winning a Pac-10 Championship, and winning a National Championship. Anything less than that for this program here on in is going to be a disappointment."

Oregon has 12 returning players including six starters and seven on the pitching staff that had the third best ERA in the country in 2010.

Left-hander Tyler Anderson is a preseason All-American and the junior from Las Vegas is being asked again to anchor the staff as the Friday night starter.

The Ducks will be looking to fill the cleats and numbers left behind the plate by Eddie Rodriguez.

As Oregon's starting catcher, Rodriguez was second on the team in average and led them in home runs and RBI. He was drafted by the Florida Marlins in the 32nd round of the 2010 MLB Draft.

Sophomore Jack Marder is making the jump from the infield to behind the plate.

Oregon starts the season on Feb. 18-21 in Honolulu against Hawaii. The Ducks' home opener is set for Feb. 25 against St. Mary's for a three-game series.

For a team built around pitching and defense, the new regulations by the NCAA on the bats that are used should play right into the way Oregon takes the field. The aluminum bats now lack that extra "pop" and play more like a wood bat.

Anderson said, "I would invest stock in them, they are a pitchers best friend."

Danny Pulfer added, "SEC teams that just play 'jungle ball' and try to hit the ball over the fence to beat you, that's not going to happen this year so they are going to have to actually play baseball."

Click on the video tab above or below to view the 2011 preseason expectations story by KVAL's Nick Krupke.