March 17, 1998
THIS WEEK: The No. 20 Washington baseball team (12-4 overall, 4-0 in the Pac-10 North) travels to Stanford to face the No. 1-ranked Cardinal (20-2-1, 7-2 Pac-10 South) in a rematch of last year's Pac-10 Championship. Last season, the Dawgs upset the Cardinal, losing the first game of the three-game series, but coming back to take games two and three and win the Pac-10 Championship, the Huskies' first overall league title since 1922. All three games this weekend can be heard live on KRPM AM-1090 and on the internet (http://drew.audionet.com/schools/washington/baseball.html), with Eric Radovich calling the play-by-play. Saturday's game will also air live on Fox Sports with Tom Kelly and Ken Brett providing the commentary. The Huskies will send junior Matt Hampton (3-1, 1.71) to the mound for Saturday's 1 p.m. game. On Sunday at 1 p.m., freshman Jeff Carlsen (4-0, 4.22) will get the start. In the series finale, Monday at 6 p.m., sophomore Travis Anderson (3-2, 4.67) will have the ball. (Starting rotation is tentative.) The trip continues Tuesday, when the Huskies travel to Pacific for a 7 p.m. game (on radio/internet). Wednesday, the Huskies face San Francisco in a noon doubleheader. Note: this was originally a single-game, but due to earlier rainouts, an additional game has been added. Only game two will air on the radio (approx. 2:30 p.m.).
SERIES HISTORY: Stanford holds an 18-5 all-time record against Washington, but the Huskies have won the last two (more on that later). Prior to last year, the Huskies hadn't beaten Stanford since 1920, a stretch that saw Stanford win 16 straight. UW has never faced Pacific, and the USF-UW series is tied up at one win, one loss and one tie. The Dons and Dawgs haven't played eachother since 1979.
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 197-118 (.625). With those 197 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 86-23 (.789) 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. .429-2-11 Baseball America's No. 44 prospect/6-for-8 vs. PSU Pete Orgill, Jr. (1B) .364-2-8 HR, 4 RBI in first career start at catcher vs. Gonzaga 1B -- Ed Erickson, So. .243-1-6 21 starts and 99 at bats a year ago/1st HR Sunday Dominic Woody, So. (C) .333-2-6 Backs up at C and 1B/started at DH, 1B and C this year 2B -- Chris Whitemarsh, Sr. .333-1-3 One of two seniors on UW roster/right-handed hitter Marc Rittenhouse, Fr. .333-0-1 Led Newport HS to state title/5-for-7 (.714) vs. PSU Darin Nakagawa, Jr. .000-0-0 16 starts last season/lefty hitter/also backs SS, 3B SS -- Kevin Miller, Jr. .291-2-14 2-time Pac-10 North Player of Year/on base 26 of last 37 3B -- Ryan Lentz, Jr. .417-4-17 Baseball America's No. 50 prospect/6 doubles in '98 OF -- Chris Magruder, Jr. .393-3-17 Leads team in runs (21), 2b (6), RBI (17), steals (11) OF -- Jim Na, Jr. .250-1-5 '98 co-captain with Magruder/left-handed hitter OF -- Nick Stefonick, Jr. .361-2-8 Platoons with Na in RF/7-for-11, 3 doubles, HR vs. PSU OF -- Kyle Woods, So. .361-4-15 15-for-16 career stolen bases/11 extra-base hits leads UW OF -- Dwight DeMar, So. .222-0-4 Made first career start at LF vs. Gonzaga/2 SB vs. PSU DH -- Bryan Williamson, Jr. (P) .412-3-12 Baseball America's No. 61 pros./5.0 IP, no runs allowed
LAST WEEK: The Huskies posted a 5-0 week, beating Puget Sound (8-6) before sweeping a four-game Pac-10 North series from Portland State over the weekend. In Friday's league opener, three Husky pitchers combined to shut out the Vikings, 8-0, the first UW shutout over a Division I team since 1995. Matt Hampton threw the first six innings of that game for his third victory. In Saturday's first game, the Dawgs got homers from Ryan Lentz, Chris Magruder, Dominic Woody and Nick Stefonick in a 10-7 win. Freshman Jeff Carlsen improved to 4-0 with a five-inning outing. In the nightcap, the Huskies rolled, 18-5 behind a 6.2-inning outing from Travis Anderson (3-2), who fanned 10 Vikings. Magruder hit his second homer of the day. On Sunday, an Ed Erickson two-run HR in the fourth put the Huskies ahead, 2-1, and they never lost the lead. Freshman John Gillespie (1-1) got his first career victory in the game, allowing only three hits and a run in five innings. Lentz also homered for Washington, which won the game, 8-2.
LAST SEASON vs. STANFORD: The Huskies won their first overall conference title since 1922 by winning the Pac-10 Championship Series at Stanford, two games to one, last year. The Huskies dropped the first game, 7-6, on a 10th-inning, two-run home run, but came back to beat the Cardinal, 13-8 in game two and 12-9 in the finale. Several returning Husky players had a good weekend vs. the Cardinal, the the UW as a team batted only .261 and had a 6.91 team ERA. Chris Magruder went 5-for-10 (.500) with six runs, four RBI and four steals. Jim Na went 2-for-5 with three RBI and a triple. Bryan Williamson gave up the homer and took the loss in game one, but got the save in game three and struck out six batters over four and one-third innings.
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 293-181 (.618) overall record and a 140-66 (.699) mark in Pac-10 North play. Under coach Ken Knutson (1993-97), Washington is 143-58 (.711) 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.
THE SCHEDULE: As usual, the Huskies began 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 at least 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 as Washington played its first game at the new site last Friday 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 16 games this season, Magruder is batting .393 with team highs in runs (21), doubles (6) and RBI (17). He's also stolen 11 bases in 12 attempts, including a steal of home (on a pickoff throw to first) against UCSB. With 72 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 .500, Magruder continues to excel as a leadoff man in 1998. He's scored a run in 14 of 15 starts. He has six game with multiple runs scored and six games with multiple RBI.
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 139 of the 140 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 27 of his last 36 plate appearances. He has walked at least once in each of the last eight games and has 12 free passes (as well as three hit-by-pitches) over those eight games. Over the last 10 games, he's batting .400 (12-for-30).
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. Lentz, who has hit in 15 of 16 games this year, was named the Pac-10 North Player of the Week last week, going 8-for-18 (.444) with nine RBI, two doubles and two home runs over the five games. Batting .417 on the year, he shares the team lead in doubles (6), home runs (4) and runs batted in (17).
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. Last week, in four games, Bundy went 7-for-11 with six RBI. He leads the Huskies with his .429 batting average (18-for-42).
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 is currently batting .412 and has driven in 12 runs in 12 games. In five innings pitched, he has yet to allow a run and has given up only three hits.
CLASS NOTES -- SENIORS: UW has only two seniors -- 2B Chris Whitemarsh and reliever Cody Morrison . . . Whitemarsh is batting .333 and has two doubles, a triple and a homer among his eight hits . . . Morrison is 2-for-2 in save opportunities and has allowed only three hits and fanned nine in seven innings.
JUNIORS: LHP Matt Hampton was named the Pac-10 North Pitcher of the Week last week after his second shutout outing of the year (six innings) . . . at 3-1 on the year, he's worked 26.1innings, allowing only five earned runs and has walked only three batters . . . RF Nick Stefonick has started 13 of 16 games this season . . . last week, he batted .533 (8-for-15) with three doubles, a triple and a homer . . . IF Darin Nakagawa has played in 11 games as a defensive replacement . . . Jim Na has only five starts, but has three doubles and a home run among his eight hits . . . Pete Orgill, another lefty hitter, is in the same boat with Na . . . but with his eight hits, Orgill has driven in eight runs and has two homers and a double . . . reserve C/DH Kevin Ticen, who went 1-for-1 last season, is 3-for-7 with six RBI, a double and a home run . . . of his four career hits (in eight at bats), he has two doubles and a home run . . . reliever Wayne Lee has allowed only one hit, one walk and no runs while fanning eight batters over his last five outings (7.1 innings).
SOPHOMORES: LF Kyle Woods leads the Huskies with 11 extra-base hits and has five steals in five attempts . . . on his career, he's 15-for-16 stealing . . . this year, Woods has had two hits in nine games . . . C/1B Dominic Woody has started nine of 16 games at DH, 1B and C, and has gone 12-for-36 (.333) at the plate . . . Ed Erickson has started at first base and DH . . . he alreadyhas two stolen bases (he had none a year ago) . . . Erickson raised his average 51 points last weekend . . . reserve OF Dwight DeMar has played in nine games so far and earned his first career start in the Sunday game vs. Gonzaga . . . on the mound, Travis Anderson is 3-2 and has allowed only 25 hits in 27 innings . . . Anderson leads the Dawgs with his 29 Ks . . . reliever Ken Ferguson has fanned eight hitters in 4.0 innings and has yet to allow a run.
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 nine times at second . . . against PSU, he raised his average 242 points, going 5-for-7 . . . the other infielder to see action is SS Greg Brooks, who doubled in his first AB (vs. UCSB) . . . Jeff Carlsen has won all three of his pitching outings . . . he's second on the team with 20 Ks and has allowed only five walks in 21.1 innings. . . John Gillespie picked up the win Sunday vs. PSU . . . in 13.1 innings over five appearances (two starts), Gillespie has allowed only eight hits . . . Matt Massingale leads the Huskies with eight appearances . . . in eight innings, he's fanned nine batters and allowed only four hits (all singles), two walks and one earned run.
RANDOM NOTES: The Huskies were last shut out in the final game of the 1996 season (5-0 at USC), meaning that they've gone 82 straight without being blanked . . . opponents have been able to shut the Huskies out through the first three innings only 13 times in that span and the UW has scored in the first inning 46 times in those 82 games . . . last season after 16 games, Washington was 8-8 and went 42-12 the rest of the way to finish 46-20 . . . the Huskies' 12-4 start this season is the best since they went 14-2 in 1994.