Feb. 24, 1998
THIS WEEK: The No. 12-ranked Washington Huskies (5-2) christen the new Husky Ballpark this weekend with a three-game series against Gonzaga, Friday through Sunday. Junior LHP Matt Hampton (2-0) will pitch the first-ever game at the new park. Saturday, sophomore RHP Travis Anderson (1-1) gets the ball, and on Sunday, freshman righty Jeff Carlsen (2-0) will start on the mound. Gametime each day is 1:00 p.m. Last week, the Huskies went 2-2 (plus one rainout) at the San Diego Baseball Classic.
Friday, Feb. 27 -- UW vs. Gonzaga, 1:00 p.m. -- prob. starter LHP Matt Hampton (2-0, 0.75)
Saturday, Feb. 28 -- UW vs. Gonzaga, 1:00 p.m. -- RHP Travis Anderson (1-1, 4.09)
Sunday, March 1 -- UW vs. Gonzaga, 1:00 p.m. -- RHP Jeff Carlsen (2-0, 4.76)
HOME OPENER: Friday's game will mark a long-awaited day in Husky baseball history as Washington plays its first game at the new Husky Ballpark after playing its games at Graves Field since the 1960s. Plans have been in the works for more than a decade to build a new field at the Graves Field site or at another location. As it stands, the new park will have temporary bleachers for this season, but from a playing perspective, it's all systems go.
SERIES HISTORY: Washington holds a 49-39 all-time record against Gonzaga, a former member of the Pac-10 Northern Division. Last season, the Huskies and Bulldogs split a pair of doubleheaders as Washington both of the first day's games and Gonzaga swept the second day's. Husky coach Ken Knutson holds an 18-10 all-time record against the Zags.
COACH "K": In five 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 190-117 (.619). With those 190 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 a 79-22 (.782) record in home games. He is 94-44 (.681) 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. .316-1-4 Baseball America's No. 44 prospect/.500, 3 2B in Fla. Pete Orgill, Jr. (1B) .333-0-0 Fully healthy after DH and 1B duties first two seasons 1B -- Ed Erickson, So. .313-0-2 21 starts and 99 at bats a year ago/4 starts in '98 Dominic Woody, So. (C) .421-0-2 Backs up at C and 1B/starts at DH, 1B and C this year 2B -- Chris Whitemarsh, Sr. .333-1-3 One of two seniors on UW roster/right-handed hitter Darin Nakagawa, Jr. .000-0-0 16 starts last season/lefty hitter/also backs SS, 3B Marc Rittenhouse, Fr. .000-0-0 MVP of all-state tournament/led Newport HS to title SS -- Kevin Miller, Jr. .172-1-8 2-time Pac-10 North Player of the Year/8 RBI on 5 hits 3B -- Ryan Lentz, Jr. .464-2-6 Baseball America's No. 50 prospect/26 doubles in '97 OF -- Chris Magruder, Jr. .536-1-10 20-game hit streak broken vs. USD/8 SB, 11 R in 7 games OF -- Jim Na, Jr. .429-0-2 '98 co-captain with Magruder/left-handed hitter OF -- Nick Stefonick, Jr. .308-1-4 Platoons with Na in RF/13-of-15 stolen bases in '97 OF -- Kyle Woods, So. .500-2-11 Two hits each in six of seven games/slugging .929 OF -- Dwight DeMar, So. .250-0-2 Five appearances at pinch runner and def. replacement DH -- Bryan Williamson, So. (P).368-3-9 Baseball America's No. 61 prospect/2 HR vs. S. Florida
LAST WEEK: Washington spent a rain-soaked weekend in San Diego and Yuma, Ariz., last week and finished up with a 2-2 mark. In their first game, Thursday at 10:00 a.m., the Huskies jumped out to an 8-0 lead and held on to beat New Mexico, 8-5. Junior LHP Matt Hampton threw seven shutout innings, allowing five hits before the Lobos scored their runs against Husky relievers. Kyle Woods drove in three runs and Chris Magruder scored three runs and stole three bases. Late Thursday night, beginning at 9:45 p.m., the Huskies played San Diego and lost 3-2 in a rain-shortened five-inning game. Freshman John Gillespie, in his first start, fanned seven in 4.2 innings, but took the loss while Woods doubled twice. The next day, the Huskies woke up to find that they were playing in Yuma, Ariz., a three-hour drive from San Diego. The wear and tear showed as the Dawgs committed 12 errors and lost to Minnesota, 15-9. The UW had trailed 9-1, but got within three runs in the eighth. Travis Anderson threw six innings and allowed only three earned runs in the loss. Saturday, the Huskies beat UC Santa Barbara 17-9 behind home runs from Kevin Miller, Bryan Williamson, Chris Whitemarsh and Ryan Lentz. Freshman Jeff Carlsen picked up his second win with six relief innings. Sunday's scheduled game vs. San Diego State was cancelled due to rain.
PRESEASON PATTER: Washington received more preseason recognition this year than, probably, any year in its history. Both OF Chris Magruder and SS Kevin Miller were named first-team preseason All-Americans and the Huskies were ranked in every poll -- No. 12 in Baseball America, No. 15 in the Sporting News, No. 14 in the USA Today Baseball Weekly/ESPN coaches' poll and No. 20 in Collegiate Baseball. The Huskies' No. 12 ranking is their highest ever in any poll, preseason or otherwise. Additionally, the Huskies' were the pick to win the Pac-10 North by BA and the Pac-10 Coaches. In Baseball America's top 100 college prospects (eligible for the 1998 draft), five Huskies (Ryan Bundy, Ryan Lentz, Bryan Williamson, Magruder and Miller) appeared, more than any school except for Stanford, with six.
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 286-180 (.614) overall record and a 136-66 (.673) mark in Pac-10 North play. Under coach Ken Knutson (1993-97), Washington is 136-57 (.705) against all teams from the Northwest (Washington, Oregon and Idaho) and 105-52 (.669) against Division I teams from the Northwest. Knutson has a winning record against every Northwest team (12) he has faced.
THE SCHEDULE: As usual, the Huskies begin this season largely on the road, with eight straight road games to begin the season. In addition, 16 of the Huskies' first 24 games are away from the new Husky Ballpark. However, this season's schedule (which totals 56 games) includes 27 home games, the most in the history of the program. Last season, Washington may have been the nation's winningest road team, with 30 victories away from Graves Field. This season's schedule is highlighted with three three-game series against Pac-10 Southern Division teams, the newest wrinkle in the ever-changing Pac-10 format. This year, each Southern Division team will play one road series and one home series against Northern Division teams, while each North team gets three series. The Huskies play at Stanford and face Arizona State and California at home. Also, should the Huskies win the Northern Division, they'll get to host the Pac-10 Championship Series.
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 and Washington will play its first game at the new park February 27 vs. Gonzaga. This season, the new facility will feature a new field, with the stadium to come in the future. The new field features 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 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 seven games this season, Magruder leads the Huskies with his .536 (15-for-28) batting average and 11 runs and is second with 10 RBI. He's also stolen eight bases in nine attempts, including a steal of home (on a pickoff throw to first) against UCSB. With 69 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. He had a 20-game hitting streak broken vs. USD (he went 0-for-2), but still, over the last 23 games, he has hit .522 (48-for-92) with 40 runs an 24 runs batted in.
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 National Collegiate Baseball Writers' second-team All-America while making the third team on two other lists. He has started 130 of the 131 games during his UW tenure at shortstop. Despite a slow start at the plate (5-for-29, .172), he still has eight RBI, a double, a triple and a homer in only seven games this year
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. So far this year, Lentz is 13-for-28 (.464) with three doubles, two homers and six RBI.
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. At the Space Coast Invitational, Bundy put on a show with his bat, going 5-for-10 with three doubles, six runs and a home run. He is currently batting .316 with a team-high four doubles.
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 will 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 hasn't appeared on the mound yet this season, but has a .368 batting average, a team-high three home runs and nine runs batted in.
CLASS NOTES -- SENIORS: UW has only two seniors -- 2B Chris Whitemarsh and reliever Cody Morrison . . . Whitemarsh is batting .333 with a homer and three RBI in three starts . . . Morrison has worked 2.2 innings over two outings and has yet to allow a hit or an earned run.
JUNIORS: LHP Matt Hampton has been on fire in his two starts . . . at 2-0 on the year, he's worked 12 innings, allowing only one earned runs (two total runs) and has walked only one batter . . . RF Nick Stefonick has started six of seven games this season . . . despite having only four hits (.308 BA), he has a triple, a homer, four RBI and a .412 on-base percentage . . . IF Darin Nakagawa has played in three games as a defensive replacement and is 0-for-3 . . . Jim Na has yet to start, thanks to the Huskies having faced seven straight left-handed starters, but he is 3-for-7 with four runs, two RBI and three walks off the bench . . . Pete Orgill, another lefty hitter, is in the same boat with Na . . . Orgill has only seen action off the bench and is 2-for-6 . . . reserve C/DH Kevin Ticen, who went 1-for-1 last season, is 1-for-2 with three RBI and a double this year.
SOPHOMORES: LF Kyle Woods has been a monster at the plate so far . . . the Dawgs' No. 2 hitter has a hit in every game and at least two hits in six of seven contests . . . he leads the Huskiesw with his four doubles, 11 RBI and .929 slugging pct. and is batting .500 (14-for-28) . . . C/1B Dominic Woody has started six of seven games at DH, 1B and C, and has gone 8-for-19 (.421) at the plate . . . Woody has a hit in five of six games . . . Ed Erickson has started at first base and DH . . . he's batting .313 and has a team-high three HBP as well as two stolen bases (he had none a year ago) . . reserve OF Dwight DeMar has played in five games so far after seeing action in only four games all of last year . . . on the mound, Travis Anderson is 1-1 and took the loss in the 12-error game vs. Minnesota . . . he's fanned 10 hitters in 11 innings and opponents are batting only .213 against him . . . reliever Ken Ferguson has posted one shutout inning, fanning two batters.
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 four times at second . . . the other infielder to see action is SS Greg Brooks, who has played in three games and doubled in his only AB (vs. UCSB) . . . on the mound, the Husky freshmen have combined to throw 26 innings between six pitchers . . . Jeff Carlsen has two wins in a start and a long relief outing . . . John Gillespie threw a pair of no-hit innings vs. Central Florida and 4.2 good innings in a loss to San Diego . . . Matt Massingale has fanned four batters in three innings over three relief appearances.
RANDOM NOTES: UW will have 27 games (plus any postseason action) air on live radio this season . . . games will air on KRPM AM-1090 and on the internet (via AudioNet), beginning with the game at Stanford, March 21 . . . the Huskies were last shut out in the final game of the 1996 season (5-0 at USC), meaning that they've gone 73 straight without being blanked . . . opponents have been able to shut the Huskies out through the first three innings only 11 times in that span and the UW has scored in the first inning 42 times in those 73 games and in 37 of the last 57 . . . the Dawgs have scored in double figures in 32 of those 73 games . . . going back to last year, Washington has won 21 of the last 26 games and 36 of the last 46 . . . over the last 26 games, Washington has scored an average of 11.38 runs per game . . . UW has faced a left-handed starter in every game this season and eight straight going back to last year . . . the Huskies' 37-man roster includes 12 players that have been previously selected in the major league draft, certainly one of the higher totals in the nation.