After a bit of searching, Mark Wasikowski has found the next pitching coach for the Oregon baseball program. This comes after the Ducks’ last pitching coach, Jake Angier, left the Oregon team to serve as head coach for New Mexico state. Thankfully the search for a replacement didn’t take too long, and the new candidate seems like a promising fit for the new season.
Reported by Kendall Rodgers of D1Baseball on Wednesday, it appears that the baseball program will be hiring Blake Hawksworth, 40, to work with their pitching staff.
Hawksworth himself has quite a bit of experience under his belt, given he’s just recently served as director of baseball operations for UC Irvine in their last season. He’s a native of Sammamish, Washington, who starred at East Lake High School. In 2021, he signed with the Cardinals as a 28th-round pick. He’s played professionally for a good 11 seasons and 3 big-league seasons, but his best season had to be back in 2009, when he posted a 2.03 ERA in 30 relief outings.
Hawksworth ended up retiring from pro baseball back in 2014, and from then until 2016, he worked as an MLB Certified Player Agent. He then served as a pitching coach at Cal State Fullerton in 2017, where his staff posted an overall ERA of 3.61. He had helped lead the Titans to the College World Series.
Hawksworth served as pitching coach for Grand Canyon University afterwards in 2020, where his pitching staff posted an overall ERA of 3.64. For the two seasons after that, he was the varsity pitching coach for JSerra High School, helping to lead the team to the CIF Division I championship and CIF Regional title.
All in all, Hawksworth has a good record under his belt, but he will definitely have his work cut out for him, with quite a high expectation set for his time there. After all, he will be joining a program that previously won the Pac-12 Tournament title and got to the Eugene Super Regional before falling short of a single game of the College World Series.
The pitching staff finished the year with a 5.28 ERA as well, so Hawksworth will be dealing with some good players as he enters the team. Only time will tell how he handles the job, but we suspect good things are in the works.