April 3, 1998
THIS WEEK: The No. 16-ranked Washington baseball team (17-7 overall; 4-0 in the Pac-10 Northern Division) continue the eight-game homestand this weekend, playing host to cross-state rival Washington State (12-11, 2-1) in a four-game Pac-10 North series. This weekend's series is the first of five straight weekends of Pac-10 North play. The next three weekends, the Dawgs will be on the road at Oregon State, WSU and Portland State. First-place UW will send sophomore righty Jeff Heaverlo (1-1, 3.97) to the mound today at 2:00 p.m. In Saturday's noon doubleheader, junior southpaw Matt Hampton (3-2, 3.44) will the game one start and freshman right-hander Jeff Carlsen (4-1, 4.68) taking the hill in the second game. Sunday, the Dawgs will hand the ball to sophomore righty Travis Anderson (4-2, 4.33) in the 1:00 p.m. series finale. All four WSU games can be heard live on KRPM AM-1090 with Eric Radovich and Angie Marzetta calling the action. Next Tuesday, the Huskies travel to face Portland in a non-conference tilt at 3:00 p.m.
SERIES HISTORY: Washington State leads the all-time series vs. UW, 210-143, with WSU being the team that Washington has played more than any other. But over the past six seasons, the UW has dominated the series, winning all eight last year, the last 11 in a row and going 30-10 over the past six seasons in league play. Ken Knutson holds a 26-10 overall record against the Cougars in his five seasons. Last year, the Dawgs swept the eight-game series, batting .410 vs. the Cougars and out-scoring them 116 to 43.
COACH "K": In five-plus seasons as the head coach of his alma mater, Ken Knutson has led the Dawgs to a Pac-10 championship, three Pac-10 Northern Division titles, two second-place finishes and two NCAA Regionals. His career overall record stands at 202-121 (.625). With those 202 wins, he is the third-winningest coach in Washington history, trailing only Tubby Graves (209 wins) and Bob MacDonald (422). Before becoming the Husky head man in 1993, Knutson served as the Husky pitching coach for eight seasons over two separate stints. In 1985, his UW pitching staff led the nation with a 2.80 earned run average. Knutson holds an 89-24 (.788) record in home games. He is 98-44 (.690) in Pac-10 Northern Division games and holds a winning record against every Nor-Pac team (including now-departed Portland and Gonzaga). A 1981 All-Pac-10 left-handed pitcher at the UW, he is joined by assistants Joe Ross, Kevin Johnston and Joe Weis.
PLAYER NOTES: Here's a look at the possible starters at each position, with 1998 stats and notes:
Pos. Player, Year Avg-HR-RBI Notes C -- Ryan Bundy, Jr. .343- 3- 13 Baseball America's No. 21 prospect/.469 BA at home Pete Orgill, Jr. (1B) .345- 2- 9 6-for-16 (.375) with 2 HR and 8 RBI at Husky Ballpark 1B -- Ed Erickson, So. .234- 3- 13 2 homers, 7 RBI in last five games/2 HR vs. WSU in '97 Dominic Woody, So. (C) .265- 2- 7 Backs up at C and 1B/both home runs at home this year 2B -- Chris Whitemarsh, Sr. .308- 1- 3 One of two seniors on UW roster/.313 vs. WSU in '97 Marc Rittenhouse, Fr. .231- 0- 2 Led Newport HS to state title/7-for-22 (.318) at home SS -- Kevin Miller, Jr. .301- 5- 22 2-time Pac-10 North Player of Year/23 career HR ties record 3B -- Ryan Lentz, Jr. .379- 6- 26 .372, 4 homers, 14 RBI at home/HR won game 2 vs. ASU OF -- Chris Magruder, Jr. .340- 3- 19 UW top 10 in career runs, RBI, doubles, triples, HR & SB OF -- Jim Na, Jr. .244- 1- 8 '98 co-captain with Magruder/top left-hand pinch hitter OF -- Nick Stefonick, Jr. .351- 2- 10 Platoons with Na in RF/.464 with 11 RBI vs. WSU in '97 OF -- Kyle Woods, So. .375- 9- 24 9 HR is 6th in UW history/6 HR, 12 RBI in 12 home games OF -- Dwight DeMar, So. .222- 0- 4 Made first career start at LF vs. Gonzaga/2 SB vs. PSU DH -- Bryan Williamson, Jr. (P) .380- 3- 14 17-for-30 (.567) 14 RBI vs. WSU in '97/7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER
LAST WEEK: Washington returned to Seattle to close out Spring Break last weekend, hosting Southern Division rival Arizona State in a three-game series. The Sun Devils were the first Six-Pac team to come to the UW since the 1981 Pac-10 Playoffs, when John Elway's Stanford team came to old Graves Field. In Friday's opener, Kevin Miller homered twice and starter Jeff Heaverlo fanned eight in five and two-thirds innings as the Dawgs beat the Sun Devils, 8-6. In game two, the Sun Devils took a 6-2 lead into the bottom of the eighth inning when Ryan Lentz and Ed Erickson led off the inning with back-to-back home runs. In the ninth, with two on and two out, Lentz hit a three-run homer to win the game, 7-6, handing reliever Matt Massingale a win. The Sunday game was another tight one. Miller homered again and Kyle Woods belted two homers, but the Husky comeback attempt fell short, 7-6. Freshman Jeff Carlsen (4-1) suffered his first loss. Wednesday, the Huskies played host to NAIA power Lewis-Clark State and Woods again hit two home runs. His first tied the game at 3-3 in the seventh and his second, a two-run blast in the eighth, put the Dawgs ahead. Cody Morrison fanned all three batters he faced in the ninth for the win.
DOMINATING THE NORTHWEST: If there was any question about the Huskies' recent dominance of college baseball in the Pacific Northwest, it was quelled last season when the Huskies won their fourth Pac-10 North title in the 1990s, won the Pac-10 overall championship and came within one win of the College World Series. In the 1990s, Washington has made three NCAA Regional appearances, more than any team from the Northwest. During the current decade, the Huskies have posted a 298-184 (.618) overall record and a 140-66 (.699) mark in Pac-10 North play. Under coach Ken Knutson (1993-97), Washington is 144-58 (.713) against all teams from the Northwest (Washington, Oregon and Idaho) and 111-53 (.677) against Division I teams from the Northwest. Knutson has a winning record against every Northwest team (12) he has faced.
LAST YEAR vs. WSU: Last year, the Pac-10 champion Huskies swept all eight games from Washington State, running the Dawgs' winning streak over WSU to 11 games. For the eight games, the Huskies batted .401 (122-for-304) and scored 116 runs to WSU's 43 (an average game score of 14.5 to 5.4). Several Huskies posted impressive individual numbers for the series. Kyle Woods went 7-for-12 (.583) while Bryan Williamson batted .567 (17-for-30) with 12 runs , 14 RBI and two home runs. Williamson also worked 4.1 innings, giving up no runs while fanning six for a win and a save. Nick Stefonick (.464), Ryan Bundy (.458) and Dominic Woody (.417) all batted better than .400 against the Cougs. The Dawgs set school record for runs (30), hits (30) and winning margin (24) in a 30-6 win at WSU on April 13.
HUSKY BALLPARK: This season marks the beginning of a new era for Husky baseball as Washington moves to a new home -- Husky Ballpark. Graves Field, where the Huskies played since the early 1960s, is gone as Washington played its first game at the new site Feb. 27 vs. Gonzaga. This season, the new facility will feature a new field, with the stadium to come in the future. The new field includes an AstroTurf infield and a beautiful view of Lake Washington, the Cascades and Mount Rainier. Already, the new field, which includes a state-of-the-art outfield drainage system, has paid dividends as the Huskies have been able to practice on a real baseball field every day since opening spring practice on January 6. In past years, the Huskies have often been able to practice only on the football turf prior to playing the first game of the year. The new home has been friendly to the Dawgs thusfar, as the UW is 10-2 in home games. In those 12 games, the Huskies have batted .324 with 28 home runs and 106 runs while posting a team ERA of 3.99 and fielding a slick .976 (11 errors). In the meantime, opponents have batted only .211 with a 9.03 earned runs average and a .958 fielding mark. Kyle Woods has six homers and 12 RBI at home while Kevin Miller has batted .410-4-14 and Ryan Lentz is .372-4-14. Matt Massingale is 3-0 at home while Travis Anderson is 2-0.
THE SCOOTER: Junior center fielder Chris Magruder (Yakima, Wash./ West Valley HS) is off to another outstanding season in his third year as a Husky starter. In 24 games this season, Magruder is batting .340 with 25 runs, eight doubles, three homers and 19 RBI. He's also stolen 14 bases in 15 attempts, including a steal of home (on a pickoff throw to first) against UCSB. With 75 career steals, he's moved into second place on the UW career chart, trailing only Joe Trippy (85). The speedy leadoff man was named a first-team preseason All-American by Collegiate Baseball and a second-teamer by the Sporting News. Last year, he broke UW records for hits (104), runs (96) and steals (43) while batting .400. He completed the 1997 season on a tear, batting .619 at the NCAA Mideast Regional and closing out the year with a 16-game hitting streak. He went on to start in right field for the USA Baseball National Team, batting .336 over the summer. With his on-base percentage of .461, Magruder continues to excel as a leadoff man in 1998.
MILLER TIME: Junior shortstop Kevin Miller returns to defend his back-to-back titles as the Pac-10 North Player fo the Year as he was the first man ever to win the award twice (and, in 1996, the first freshman to win it). The power hitter from Seattle's Ballard High was named a first-team preseason All-American by the Sporting News and a second-teamer by Collegiate Baseball this year. Last year, he batted .384 and broke the UW RBI record with 73 while leading the team with 12 home runs. After his sophomore season, he was named to the NCBWA second-team All-America while making the third team on two other lists. He has started 143 of the 144 games during his UW tenure at shortstop. After struggling early in the year at the plate, Miller has heated up. Dating back to the first Gonzaga game (Feb. 27), Miller has reached base in 45 of his last 75 plate appearances. He has walked at least once in 13 of the last 16 games and has 19 free passes (as well as five hit-by-pitches) over those 16 games. Last weekend vs. Arizona State, Miller belted three home runs over the three-game series. With 23 career home runs, he's tied for the UW school record.
AT THE HOT CORNER: Junior Ryan Lentz (Woodinville (Wash.) HS) returns to his spot as the Husky starting third baseman for the third season this year. If the left-handed hitter with the strong arm improves this year as much as he did last year, his statistics will be monsterous. Last year, he started 64 of the Huskies' 66 games at third, batting .327 with nine home runs and 69 RBI. He also broke the UW doubles record with 26, smashing the old record by eight. His 251 at bats, 82 hits and 58 runs were all among the top 10 in Husky history and his 69 runs batted in would have broken the school record except that Kevin Miller had 73 in 1997. Named a third-team All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers in 1997, he was tabbed the No. 50 college prospect in the nation by Baseball America this preseason. As a sophomore, he improved his average by 65 points and posted 30 more extra-base hits over his freshman season. Currently, Lentz is batting .379 and leads the Huskies in doubles (9), RBI (26) and is second on the team with six home runs. Saturday's he hit a three-run homer with two out in the bottom of the ninth to beat Arizona State, 7-6.
BEHIND THE PLATE: Ryan Bundy (Lake Stevens (Wash.) HS) is another star member of the Huskies' junior class. A tremendous defensive catcher, Bundy's offense has shown steady improvement over the last two seasons. Last year, he batted .311 with 17 doubles, six homers and 40 runs batted in over 193 at bats. Perhaps, most impressive, he stole 14 bases in 16 attempts and is one of the Huskies' fastest players. He showed great improvement over his freshman year in the power categories as he had only three doubles, no homers and 19 RBI in 135 ABs as a freshman. This preseason, Baseball America called him the No. 44 college prospect in the nation, the highest of the five Husky players to make the top 100. Last week, Baseball America put out an updated prospect list and named Bundy the No. 21 college prospect in the nation. Bundy has started 19 of 24 games at catcher and is batting .343 with 13 RBI and four stolen bases.
BIG WILLY: Last season, junior Bryan Williamson (Kennewick, Wash./Kamiakin HS) developed into one of the nation's top two-way players, posting a 4-2 record with six saves and a 2.89 ERA on the mound and a .381 batting average with 58 RBI as a designated hitter and outfielder. At the conclusion of last season, the 6-foot-6 righthander was given a tryout with the USA National Team, but withdrew with a shoulder injury that was repaired in the off-season. This year, Williamson still hopes to move into the starting rotation and play only DH in the batting order. A tricky, yet hard-throwing pitcher, Williamson fanned 49 batters and allowed only 34 hits in 43.2 innings a year ago. All of his statistics were a vast improvement over his freshman season, when he batted .254 and had an 11.12 earned run average. This preseason, Williamson was named the No. 61 college prospect in the nation by Baseball America. Williamson currently leads the Huskies with his .380 batting average. On the mound, his numbers (in limited action) are even more impressive. In seven innings over five appearances, Williamson has allowed only three hits, no earned runs and has struck out seven.
SENIORS: UW has only two seniors -- 2B Chris Whitemarsh and reliever Cody Morrison . . . Whitemarsh is batting .308 and has two doubles, a triple and a homer among his eight hits . . . Morrison is 4-for-4 in save opportunities and has allowed only three hits and fanned 14 in 11 innings . . . opponents are batting only .081 (3-for-37) against Morrison.
JUNIORS: LHP Matt Hampton has been one of three regular starters this year . . . at 3-2 with a 3.44 ERA, he leads the Husky starters in earned run average . . . RF Nick Stefonick has started 19 of 24 games this season . . . in home games, Stefonick is 14-for-32 (.438) with five doubles, a triple and a homer . . . Jim Na has only eight starts, but has four doubles and a home run among his 11 hits . . . Pete Orgill has driven in nine runs with his 10 hits . . . he's started four games at catcher . . . reserve C/DH Kevin Ticen, who went 1-for-1 last season, is 4-for-8 with six RBI, two doubles and a home run . . . of his five career hits (in nine at bats), he has three doubles and a home run . . . reliever Wayne Lee has fanned 13 batters in 11.2 innings of work.
SOPHOMORES: LF Kyle Woods leads the Huskies with nine home runs, 17 extra-base hits and 36 hits . . . he has hit two home runs in each of the last two games (ASU and L-C State) . . . C/1B Dominic Woody has started 13 of 24 games at DH, 1B and C . . . Ed Erickson has started at first base and DH . . . the big lefty hitter belted two home runs vs. Arizona State . . . reserve OF Dwight DeMar has played in 13 games so far and earned his first career start in the Sunday game vs. Gonzaga . . . on the mound, Travis Anderson is 4-2 and has allowed only 30 hits in 34.1 innings . . . Anderson leads the Dawgs with his 35 Ks . . . righty Ken Ferguson has fanned 14 hitters and allowed only four base hits in 7.1 innings or relief work.
FRESHMEN: Even on this veteran-laden team, the Husky freshmen are making a huge impact this year as nine true freshman have played . . . Marc Rittenhouse has started 17 times at second . . . . . . the other infielder to see action is SS Greg Brooks, who doubled in his first AB (vs. UCSB) . . . Jeff Carlsen has won four of five pitching decisions. . . he's second on the team with 28 Ks and has allowed only nine walks in 32.2 innings. . . John Gillespie has three starts and has surrendered only 15 hits in 19.0 IP . . . Matt Massingale leads the Huskies with 13 appearances and has posted nearly incredible numbers . . . in 15.2 innings, he has allowed only seven hits and five walks while fanning 13 . . . the side-armer has a miniscule earned run average of 0.57 and is 3-0 . . . freshman lefty Matt Gardner earned his first victory Wednesday at San Francisco.
RANDOM NOTES: Washington has had a player hit two home runs in each of the last four games (Miller, Lentz and Woods twice) . . . the Huskies were last shut out in the final game of the 1996 season (5-0 at USC), meaning that they've gone 90 straight without being blanked . . . opponents have been able to shut the Huskies out through the first three innings only 18 times in that span and the UW has scored in the first inning 49 times in those 90 games . . . last season after 24 games, Washington was 13-11 and went 33-9 the rest of the way to finish 46-20 . . . the Huskies' 17-7 start this season is the best since they went 19-5 in 1994 . . . as a staff, Washington pitchers have allowed only 176 hits in 204 innings, an average of only 7.76 hits per nine innings.