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Oregon sets rotation for marquee series with No. 24 UC Santa Barbara

Jarrid Denneyby:Jarrid Denney02/28/24


Oregon is set to face its toughest test of the season thus far this weekend when it hosts No. 24 UC Santa Barbara for a three-game set at PK Park.

The Ducks have raced out to a 6-1 start to the 2024 campaign, and head coach Mark Wasikowski and pitching coach Blake Hawksworth have used the first several weeks of the season to determine which of their pitchers are best suited for a spot in the weekend rotation.

While speaking with reporters on Wednesday, Wasikowski will start junior righty RJ Gordon on Friday, sophomore lefty Grayson Grinsell on Saturday, and senior righty Kevin Seitter on Sunday.

“That was a tough decision, because (freshman lefty Toby Twist) is really showing a lot of promise,” Wasikowski said. “He’s right on these guys’ heels. So, it’s a lot of fun to have options. We’ll be able to use Toby in a lot of capacity this weekend. He’s going to be a big piece of our weekend, for sure.”

Gordon, who missed the entire 2023 season due to an elbow injury, got the nod in Oregon’s season-opening win over Oklahoma on Feb. 16 and started last Friday’s series-opening win over Lafayette. He owns a 2.61 ERA, has struck out seven, and has walked four in 10 1/3 innings this season.

Grinsell relieved Gordon in the season opener and tossed 3 strong, scoreless innings. He made his first start of the season last Saturday and struck out 10 batters in 4.0 innings during a win over Lafayette.

Seitter, a Quinnipiac transfer, has posted a 4.50 ERA, struck out 13 batters, and walked two in two starts this season.

“I don’t care what day a guy throws, a starter has gotta make big pitches,” Wasikowski said when asked if Seitter will be Oregon’s permanent Sunday starter moving forward. “He’s probably gotta make more big pitches than relievers because he’s just out there longer. Sunday starter, Friday starter — I hope they think that we’ve got three Friday starters. By the end of the year, that’s our goal to develop them to be those kinds of guys.”

UC Santa Barbara (3-4) is coming off a 10-9 loss at Pepperdine on Tuesday.

The Gauchos’ head coach, Andrew Checketts, served as Oregon’s pitching coach under George Horton from 2008-2011. UCSB right-handed pitcher Matt Ager (No. 52) and third baseman Zander Darby are both listed among’s top 100 prospects for the 2024 Major League Baseball draft.

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