Trio From Oregon Schools to Stay in PNW With Pippins

Western Oregon standout to play third season for Krustangel in WCL

YAKIMA, Wash. – Western Oregon standout pitcher Connor McCord will join University of Oregon middle infielder Tristan Hanoian and pitcher Hayden Rasica as the latest additions to the Pippins roster.

McCord rejoins the West Coast League for his third season after playing for Pippins coach Kyle Krustangel’s Wenatchee AppleSox in 2017 and 2018. He played for the Peninsula Oilers of the Alaska Baseball League last summer, and was slated to see action in the Cape Cod Baseball League as well as the Northwoods League this summer before public safety measures led to the cancellation of the CCBL’s season.

“I’m extremely excited to have Connor McCord,” Krustangel said. “He’s kind of a fan favorite in terms of his personality. He’s a super fun clubhouse type of guy, likes to keep things loose and interact with the crowd, but he’s also extremely talented.”

McCord, a left-handed senior sidewinder from Gilbert, Arizona, also joins college teammate Seth Kuykendall, who was announced in February. McCord has a career 4.23 ERA in 112.2 innings at Western Oregon, conceding just 30 walks while striking out 103. He had his most elite season last year, when he struck out 50 batters in 38.2 innings. He compiled a 2.33 ERA and kept opponents to a .182 batting average.

Known as much for his bat as his arm, McCord is a career .306 hitter for the Wolves. Known to display some pop in his bat, he has 19 collegiate home runs and a .519 career slugging percentage.

“Some of his numbers he’s got at Western Oregon are video game numbers I like to call them just because of how dominant he’s been,” Krustangel said, adding that McCord was likely to appear in this year’s MLB First-Year Player Draft before the decision was made to limit the number of rounds. “He’s just the ultimate competitor. The kid wants to compete and win at everything he does. He’s a presence in the box and a presence on the mound.”

Rasica, from Klamath Falls, Oregon, saw just one inning of action in his debut season with the Ducks before the season was cut short. He made the most of it, though, striking out two and keeping Hawaii scoreless in the effort.

Last year at Henley High School, he struck out 90 batters over 54-plus innings, compiled a 1.23 ERA and was named the Baseball Athlete of the Year by Klamath Falls daily newspaper Herald and News.

“He was one of the guys from a big school that was slated to throw a lot of innings [in the summer] just because they knew his innings were going to be a bit lower over in Oregon, so anytime you have a Power 5 arm that’s not coming in with any limits is obviously great news for a coach and great news for a summer team,” Krustangel said. “I’m sure he’s hungry and eager to get on the bump and to showcase his stuff.”

Hanoian saw his first season with the Ducks cut short after transferring from Orange Coast College, where he played for John Altobelli and was part of their state junior college championship team in 2019. Originally from Orange, California, Hanoian only saw action in three games to start his junior season with Oregon before the 2020 NCAA season was cancelled.

He’s a multiple spot infielder who can play all four positions and is primarily a middle guy,” Krustangel said. “I feel like we have one of the best infield groups that I’ve ever coached at this level, so he’s just another guy that adds to that mix.”

“I’m really excited to bring in two Ducks,” Krustangel continued. “I’ve coached a couple Ducks over at Wenatchee with their old staff, and I’m excited to expand that relationship [with their new coaching staff] and excited for the two guys we have coming in.”

By Chris Rosato Jr.

May 1, 2020