Ducks’ Keudell earns pitcher of the year

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WALNUT CREEK, Calif. – Oregon senior right-hander Alex Keudell was named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year following a vote by the Conference coaches, it was announced by Commissioner Larry Scott on Wednesday.

Keudell, who was named one of 30 semifinalists for the Golden Spikes Award on Tuesday, has served as the Friday-night starter for the 10th-ranked Ducks all season. Oregon enters postseason play as the No. 5 national seed for the 66th annual NCAA Division I Baseball Championship, and will host the Eugene Regional at PK Park which begins on Friday.

Along with Keudell, teammate Jimmie Sherfy was named to the Pac-12 All-Conference team, while sophomores Aaron Jones and Ryon Healy earned honorable mention accolades.

Keudell is the first Oregon pitcher to receive the Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year Award, and since the UO baseball team was reinstated (2009) the Ducks have received five all-conference honors with an additional 13 players earning honorable mention recognition.

With a 10-4 record in 2012, Keudell set the new Oregon single-season win record. His 22 career wins tie for first all-time at Oregon while his 110 and 1/3 innings pitched in 2012 is a new UO single-season record.

Keudell’s 2.12 ERA ranks third in the Pac-12 amongst starters, and his 10 wins tie for third. In conference games only, the Portland, Ore., native leads all pitchers with an 8-2 record and his 2.14 ERA ranks fourth.

Against top-25 competition this season, Keudell is 5-1 with an ERA of 1.75 after allowing nine earned runs in 46 and 1/3 innings on the mound. Against ranked opponents, he has tossed two complete games including one shutout.

Between March 23 and May 18, Keudell won nine consecutive starts. During that stretch he posted a 9-0 record with a 1.14 ERA allowing just nine runs in 71 and 1/3 innings.

Earlier this season, Keudell was named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week in back-to-back weekends after he tossed seven shutout innings at then No. 5 UCLA, scattering eight hits while striking out two in a 6-2 win on April 5. The following weekend, he allowed just one run on five hits while walking no one and striking out a season-best seven in a 4-2 win at then No. 6 Stanford on April 13.

He also pitched the first complete-game shutout of his career, as Oregon defeated then 14th-ranked Arizona State 1-0 on March 31. The Ducks shut out ASU for the first time in series history as he allowed just four hits and issued two walks, while helping his cause by picking off two runners.

Sherfy, who has been chosen to compete on the 2012 Collegiate National Team, leads the Pac-12 with 17 saves this year, a new Oregon single-season record.

The sophomore right-hander has made 31 appearances, and in 55 innings pitched has struck out 84 batters – an average of 13.7 strikeouts per nine innings pitched.

A native of Camarillo, Calif., Sherfy sports a 2.29 ERA and a 4-2 record, while holding opposing batters to a .176 clip. He was named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Watch List earlier this season. He helped Oregon to a sweep of Arizona State, earning two saves in three games. He was also named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week after striking out 13 in relief on Feb. 18, tossing five and 2/3 shutout innings at Hawai’i as the Ducks prevailed 3-2. During a nine-game win streak from May 6-23, Sherfy tossed 11 and 2/3 shutout innings in seven appearances, earning five saves and one victory while fanning 21 batters.

This season, he has inherited 26 runners, allowing six to score.

For the second year in a row, Jones leads the Ducks driving in 38 runs, a total that ties for sixth in Oregon single season history. The sophomore outfielder enters the postseason batting .294 with 57 hits, 32 runs scored, 12 doubles, two triples and six home runs.

Jones is tied for the team lead with nine multiple-RBI games, and has also driven in the game-winning run on nine occasions this season. In addition, the native of San Clemente, Calif., has totaled 17 multiple-hit games and during a nine-game hitting streak (May 12-26), led Oregon to a 7-2 record, batting .412, and driving in five runs with a double and home run.

Healy, Oregon’s starting first baseman, leads the Ducks with 70 hits, a total that ranks fifth in Oregon single-season history. The native of West Hills, Calif., is batting .303 on the season and has driven in 36 runs with 13 doubles, one triple and four home runs.

Healy also leads the club with 20 multiple-hit games, and his 10-game hitting streak from April 9-22 was the longest of any UO player this year. During that stretch he batted .333 and drove in a team-leading eight runs as the Ducks finished with a 7-3 record and a series win on the road at Stanford.

Arizona junior shortstop Alex Mejia was named the 2012 Pac-12 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, while Oregon State freshman outfielder Michael Conforto was voted Freshman of the Year, and Arizona’s Andy Lopez was named Coach of the Year.