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Tanner Smith: Weekend Diary from Stanford

Editors Note: This past weekend (March 11-13), we asked D1 Players Society member, and Oregon outfielder, Tanner Smith to keep a “diary” of their weekend trip to play (then) #5 Stanford.

Thursday Morning/Afternoon

We begin our travel days like any other day of the week with 7:00am breakfast as a team. From there, we all go over to the field to begin/finish packing for the trip. At 9:15am we loaded the bus and took off for the Eugene airport.  This trip called for a two-legged flight from Eugene to Seattle and then from Seattle to San Jose. (Stanford’s campus is about 30 minutes from San Jose International Airport)

Me and the guys
Goodbye for now Eugene

Our first flight departed around 11:00am and we arrived in Seattle at 1:00pm. Layovers are rarely enjoyable, but when you’re traveling with 27 of your best friends there’s always a way to make it fun. Around 2:30pm we took off for San Jose and later arrived at the hotel around 6:00pm.

I often get asked how we spend this travel time. My teammates and I play a lot of cards on the road. It’s a great way to pass the time, be competitive, and get a bunch of your teammates involved. Sometimes people forget that we are also students, so travel time can be great for completing homework due later in the week/weekend. And then sometimes, you just want to put on the headphones, have a little “me time”, and snack on some food.  

Thursday Evening

Once we arrive at the hotel, we drop our bags and head right to practice. The night before the game we will always practice at the opposing team’s field. These practices are designed to get the body moving after a long day of traveling and get used to the field we will be playing on for the upcoming weekend. More specifically, we’ll spend a majority of the time hitting and taking fungos on defense to see how the field plays and if there are any weird quirks that come with the stadium. 

Stanford’s Klein Field (a natural surface) turned out to be a lot faster than our turf field back in Eugene. Usually, it’s the opposite, but the ground-balls on hard dirt and thin grass made the field slightly more offensive. It’s something I’m glad we discovered the night before!

A couple of Thursday selfies
A couple of Thursday selfies

Friday Morning

Just as we would back home in Eugene for a night game, we begin the day with a team breakfast between 7-8am. Shortly after, we begin the film session where we develop a game plan and strategize for the weekend. Hitters, for example, will watch the other team’s pitchers and/or defensive plays to look for any advantage we can get.

From there we begin study hall where we can get ahead of homework for the upcoming week. After study hall, we have some time to let loose and eat a team lunch together as a team and spend some time with family from 12pm-1pm. Then game time!

We arrive at the field nearly three hours before the first pitch to stretch and take batting practice. Batting practice is one of my favorite times on every game day. My everyday batting practice groups consist of some elite hitters: Josh Kasevich, Jacob Walsh, and Anthony Hall. So, on pretty much a daily basis, I am able to learn and admire big-league hitters in the making.

Editor’s Note: On Friday night, Oregon upset then #5 Stanford 4-3. Tanner went 2-for-5 and hit the go-ahead solo HR in the top of the 9th to put the Duck’s ahead! On Saturday afternoon, Oregon again beat then #5 Stanford in a high-scoring 16-13 game. Tanner went 1-for-6 in the game and made some key defensive plays in the field.

Saturday Night

What a couple of games for the Ducks! With the type of team we have and the experienced coaching staff we have, we expect to win every game. You have to expect to win at this level. Friday and Saturday resulted in the outcome we were expecting going into the weekend.

They were two very hard-fought wins in both games. Everyone had to contribute in some way, both games were team wins. The wins also put us into a position to sweep Stanford on the road going into Sunday. Our team is heading into Sunday expecting to sweep.

Looking ahead to tomorrow, we know it’s going to be a must-win environment game for Stanford and we are expecting a really good team’s best shot at salvaging a series. But, they need to be ready for our best shot!

Sunday Night

Editor’s Note: On Sunday afternoon, Oregon loss 10-6 to Stanford. Tanner went 2-for-5 in the game, ending the weekend 5-for-16 (.313). While Stanford avoided the sweep, Oregon came out of the weekend with a series win again a Top 5, in-conference opponent.

Looking back at the weekend, this could be a major learning opportunity for our team. We’ve only shown glimpses of playing at our full potential. Throughout the weekend the game presented challenges for both our offense and defense that we weren’t able to fully capitalize on. As a group, we see failure as an opportunity to improve both individually and collectively. My biggest takeaways from the weekend are: first, that we have a batting lineup 1-9 that can produce runs in many different ways, and second we have a bullpen filled with arms that can pitch well in different situations. 

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