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Oregon Ducks set to make several changes to starting rotation for upcoming series

Jarrid Denneyby:Jarrid Denney02/21/24


The Oregon Ducks are shaking up their weekend rotation ahead of their first home series of the 2024 season.

The Ducks (2-1) captured wins over Oklahoma and Baylor and suffered a loss to No. 19 Texas Tech in Arlington, Texas last weekend to open the year. This week, they will host Lafayette (0-3) at PK Park in Eugene.

After rolling with a weekend rotation of junior right-hander RJ Gordon, senior right-hander Kevin Seitter, and sophomore righty Turner Spoljaric last week, head coach Mark Wasikowski and pitching coach Blake Hawksworth have opted to make an early-season alteration.

This weekend, Gordon will start on Friday, sophomore left-hander Grayson Grinsell and freshman lefty Toby Twist will start during Saturday’s doubleheader, and Seitter will start the Sunday finale.

“We got a poor start on Sunday and that needs to be addressed. When it comes to the rotation this week, that will address that,” Wasikowski said of the Ducks’ loss to Texas Tech. “We saw the bullpen throw very well overall. We saw a lot of young guys get in there; especially on Sunday, there were some bright moments for sure.”

Grinsell and Twist both produced strong relief outings during their respective season debuts.

Against Oklahoma on Friday, Grinsell tossed 3.0 scoreless innings and allowed just one runner to reach base.

On Sunday, Twist replaced Spoljaric after just 1 1/3 innings and tossed 3 2/3 frames. He allowed two runs on three hits and struck out six while utilizing an impressive four-pitch mix.

“He was brought into a heck of a tough spot,” Wasikowski said of Twist. “For your freshman first appearance to be with a bunch of traffic and a good hitter up. Once he settled in he was dominant. He was dominant in his outing. It was awesome to see.”

A 6-foot-1, 195-pound Bakersfield, Calif. product, Twist was the No. left-handed pitcher in the state of California for the 2024 signing class, according to Perfect Game.

“About three weeks ago, (Twist) was set back a little bit with — I don’t know what it was — some sort of hang nail or whatever on his toe,” Wasikowski said. “And so we were just holding him out. He got held out of one of our preseason scrimmages. The way he pitched, he deserved to be a starter in week one. We decided not to start him week one because he was dealing with a toe deal, or whatever.

“That got fixed. So, instead of starting him and running him out there, we brought him out of the ‘pen the first week. He did well enough for him to be clearly starting this coming weekend.”

Oregon’s rotation is still a bit of an unsolved puzzle at this point. Projected Friday starter Isaac Ayon will miss his second consecutive full season due to an elbow injury. Last year’s ace, Jace Stoffal, was selected in the eighth round of the 2023 Major League Baseball by the Minnesota Twins and signed a pro contract.

First pitch for Oregon’s home opener is scheduled for 4 p.m. PT on Friday.

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