The Pacific-10 Conference will be back at full strength in 2009. Oregon, which discontinued its baseball program after the 1981 season, announced it will again field baseball in the 2008-2009 academic year.
School officials confirmed to the Associated Press that a story in the Eugene (Ore.) Register-Guard reporting that the school was adding baseball and competitive women’s cheer and dropping wrestling was correct.
Oregon’s baseball program made two trips to NCAA regional play, in 1954 and ’64, and one trip to the College World Series, in ’54. Oregon’s club team has had success, including a trip to the club baseball national championship series this year (where it lost to North Carolina, whose varsity team finished as national runner-up to Oregon State). The old baseball park on campus, Howe Field, was converted to softball use in 1987, so the Ducks will need a new ballpark.
The Pac-10 made up for Oregon’s loss by adding schools from Eastern Washington and Gonzaga to Portland and Portland State as adjunct, baseball-only members; prior to 1999, the league was split into two divisions for baseball. The league became a one-division, nine-team league in 1999 after Portland State dropped baseball. It’s unknown at this point whether or not the return of Oregon would prompt another split of the league for baseball or if the league would continue as one division. The latter scenario seems much more likely, particularly with the new compacted, 13-week schedule set to begin in 2008. Pac-10 members would be able to complete nearly half of their 56-game slate in the nine weeks of conference play.
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