Oregon's Isaac Ayon announces he will return for senior season

Jarrid Denneyby:Jarrid Denney07/20/23


The Oregon Ducks have officially found their ace for the 2024 season.

On Thursday, Ducks’ right-hander Isaac Ayon announced that he plans to return to UO for his senior season. During the 2023 Major League Baseball Draft, he was selected in the 20th round with the 585th overall pick.

Ayon was expected to feature in Oregon’s weekend rotation prior to the start of the 2023 season but missed the entire year due to an undisclosed injury. Throughout the spring, Ducks’ coach Mark Wasikowski expressed optimism that Ayon would make a healthy return at some point during the season.

“Usually, these guys with these arm injuries, they have a setback somewhere in there. So far — knock on wood — we haven’t had a setback,” Wasikowski said of Ayon on May 17. “He’s not going through just, like, a headache; take a couple of aspirin and he’ll be okay. Nevertheless, he’s passed the tests that he needs to pass. Hopefully, he can be available, at least for the Pac-12 tournament. And then potentially. … through the postseason run. So that’s what our intentions are, and we’ll learn more by the day, obviously.”

However, Ayon remained unavailable during Oregon’s run to the NCAA Super Regionals.

In 2022, Ayon went 4-4 with a 5.67 ERA and 80 strikeouts over 81 1/3 innings. He began the year as Oregon’s Saturday starter and took over the Friday role after ace Adam Maier was ruled out for the season due to injury.

Ayon got progressively better as the year went on and delivered his best outing during the final start of the regular season when he tossed a complete game to lead the Ducks to a 4-3 win over No. 25 Arizona.

Before committing to Oregon, he was widely considered a top-300 prospect in the nation for his class.

Ayon’s decision to return to Eugene for the 2024 campaign could pay major dividends for the Ducks. Their 2023 ace, Jace Stoffal, was selected in the eighth round by the Minnesota Twins and is expected to sign with the organization.

Oregon will lean on rising sophomores Grayson Grinsell and Turner Spoljaric, among others to potentially lock down weekend rotation spots next season.

Ayon and Stoffal were among the six Oregon players who were selected during the 2023 MLB Draft. Additionally six of the Ducks’ signees were selected — including right-handed pitcher Noble Meyer, who went 10th overall to the Miami Marlins.

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