Portland's Chad Stevens (Portland Athletics)


Under The Radar: Surprising Portland Soars To Red-Hot Start

Under The Radar

Geoff Loomis was optimistic that veteran starting pitching would keep his Portland Pilots competitive in 2020. The starting lineup, featuring four freshmen, was more of a question mark, especially after the Pilots ranked just 258th in the nation in batting and 155th in scoring a year ago.

But so far, Portland has performed at a high level in every facet while racing out to an 11-1 start, punctuated by a midweek win over Washington on Tuesday, during which UP pitchers held UW to just two hits. It’s safe to say Portland is one of college baseball’s brightest early surprises. Picked to finish eighth in the 10-team WCC in the preseason coaches poll, Portland hasn’t posted a winning overall record since 2012. They won just 11 games in 2014 and 12 games in 2015, the final two seasons under former head coach Chris Sperry. And in just three weeks, they’ve already eclipsed their entire win total in coach Geoff Loomis’ second season at the helm: 2017, when they went 10-41-1.

Loomis knew it would take some time to build Portland into a WCC contender when he took the job, but he also recognized that he had some appealing things to sell to recruits. …

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