EUGENE, Ore.- Despite their 9-3 start to Pac-12 play, which puts them tied with Oregon State atop the standing, sometimes Oregon baseball coach George Horton believes he trusts his team more than they do each other.
Since baseball is a game founded on trusting one's teammates, a lack of such might be cause for concern, but according to left fielder Brett Thomas, that is developing.
"We're all about picking each other up," he said. "I think we're really learning that and it's going to be fun to watch."
Still, Horton is searching for more, hoping to use a two-week stretch away from PK Park as the platform to build it.
"I'd like them to appreciate what I've seen for a year and a half. I'd like them to believe that and trust their work a little bit more," he said. "We've accused our guys of tip-toeing into hostile environments… with a challenging team. "
Oregon added two losses to the column during a trip to Tempe last weekend, losses he believed stemmed from a lack of confidence from the outset that they could win.
"I'm not sure they're 100 percent convinced of that [that they can win] to start the game," he said. "Seventh, eighth, and ninth have been good innings for us for a long time I'd like to see us start a little faster. We're kind of like sparring with our opponents for a while. I'd like to see have more initiative to start."
The Ducks received a minor ego boost Tuesday, when they defeated Oregon State 6-3 in Corvallis in a mid-week non-conference game. Horton hopes for a full-blown boost when the Ducks travel to Berkeley for the second of two consecutive road series, this weekend.
The Golden Bears are just 5-7 in conference play thus far, including a sweep at Arizona last weekend. Horton acknowledged Wednesday that he did not know much about Cal, except that they've struggled to settle on a pitching rotation. He said he and the assistants would watch tape on the Bears later in the week.
"We're not going to assume anything is going to be easy down there. Any Pac-12 opponent first and foremost is difficult and playing them on the road it's going to be challenging for us," he said.
While Horton was disappointed in his starting pitching in Tempe, he did say he was pleased with the staff's response on Tuesday at Goss.
The Ducks and Bears begin their three-game series Friday at 6 p.m. Saturday's game will be played at 6 p.m. as well, while the first pitch Sunday will be 1 p.m.