April 28, 1999
THIS WEEK: The Washington baseball team (27-13 overall, 9-6 Pac-10), winner of seven of its last eight games, travels east to face cross-state rival Washington State in a three-game series at Buck Bailey Field. The Huskies, third in the Pac-10 standings, trail co-leaders USC and Stanford by three and a half games. All three WSU games will air live on KSRB AM-1150 and Sunday's game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Northwest on tape delay (airs Monday, Mar. 3, 1:00 p.m.). Next week, the Dawgs host Portland for two non-league games. Here's a look at this weekend's games, with probable Husky starting pitchers:
Fri., April 30: UW at Washington State, 6:30 p.m. -- RHP Jeff Heaverlo (8-2, 2.83)
Sat., May 1: UW at Washington State, 1:00 p.m. -- RHP Jeff Carlsen (7-0, 3.15)
Sun., May 2: UW at Washington State, 1:00 p.m. -- RHP Travis Anderson (2-2, 4.93)
PAC-10 NEW ERA: The 1999 season marks a new era in Pacific-10 Conference baseball as the league returns to a unified, one-division schedule after spending the past 27seasons broken into northern and southern divisions. The change, which would probably have come in the next few years anyway, was hastened after Portland State dropped its baseball program last June. That left the Northern Division with only three teams, too few to make a division. This year, the nine Pac-10 teams (Oregon doesn't have a baseball team) will play a 24-game schedule, with the regular season champion earning the league's automatic berth to the NCAA tournament. For the last four seasons, the winners of the two divisions met in a three-game series for the Pac-10's overall title. After USC won the 1995 and 1996 titles, Washington went on to wear the 1997 and 1998 Pac-10 crowns.
COACH "K": In six-plus seasons as the head coach of his alma mater, Ken Knutson has led the Dawgs to two Pac-10 championships, four Pac-10 Northern Division titles, two second-place finishes and three NCAA Regionals. His career overall record stands at 253-145 (.636). With those 253 wins, he is the second-winningest coach in Washington history, trailing only Bob MacDonald (422), and has passed legendary Tubby Graves (209), who coached 24 seasons. Before becoming the Husky head man in 1993, Knutson served as the Husky pitching coach for eight seasons. In 1985, his UW pitching staff led the nation with a 2.80 ERA. Knutson holds a 117-34 (.775) record in home games. He is 120-57 (.678) in conference games, the highest mark (percentage-wise) of any active Pac-10 coach. A 1981 All-Pac-10 left-handed pitcher at the UW, he is joined by assistant coaches Joe Ross, Ed Gustafson, Joe Weis and Brett Merrick.
PLAYER NOTES: Here's a look at the possible starters at each position, with current stats and notes:
Pos. Player, Year Avg.-HR-RBI Notes C -- Dominic Woody, Jr. .401-14-52 14 HR is 3th in UW history/32 starts behind the plate Jake Gann, RS-Fr. .208-0-4 Five career starts as Woody's backup/4-1 as starter 1B -- Ed Erickson, Jr. .303-8-29 30 career home runs tied with K. Miller for UW record Todd Linden, Fr. .262-0-12 UW is 6-1 in games he's started (6 at 1B, 1 at DH) 2B -- Brent Robertson, Fr. .286-0-7 Regular starter now that Rittenhouse is out for year SS -- Richard Hall, Fr. .186-0-5 Has started 22 at SS/Hit safely in first seven starts Greg Brooks, So. .237-0-6 Backs up all three infield positions/16 starts at SS 3B -- Kevin Ticen, Sr. .313-11-37 Co-captain/11 homers tied for ninth in UW history OF -- Nick Stefonick, Sr. .284-6-23 Missed Sat. & Sun. games after injuring shoulder OF -- Daniel Jahn, So. .333-4-15 Six starts in RF, 6 in LF, 3 at DH/6 pitching outings OF -- Matt Hollod, RS-Fr. .288-3-18 14 starts in LF/last eight games: .333, 3 HR, 9 RBI OF -- Tyson Boston, So. .323-4-20 17 starts in OF/last seven games: .500, 10 RBI, 3 2B OF -- Bryan Williamson, Sr. .418-7-30 Last 10 games: .588 (20-for-34), 17 runs, 12 RBI DH -- Pete Orgill, Sr. .316-6-21 Co-captain/22 career HRs are sixth in UW history
SERIES HISTORY: Washington State leads the all-time series against Washington 214-147, but in recent years, the Huskies have closed the gap. Since 1992, the Huskies have posted a 35-15 record against the Cougars. Last year, the Huskies and Cougars split their eight-game series, as both four-game series (in Pullman and in Seattle) were split, two games apiece. Coach Ken Knutson is 30-14 all-time against WSU.
LAST WEEKEND: Washington took two of three games from Oregon State over the weekend. Friday, Bryan Williamson went 4-for-5 with three RBI and a home run as the Huskies won, 10-7. Jeff Carlsen improved to 7-0 with the victory and Matt Massingale earned his seventh save. Saturday, OSU's B.R. Cook threw a four-hitter and fanned 13 to beat the Huskies, 6-3. Jeff Heaverlo (8-2) suffered the loss and Dominic Woody hit his 14th home run. Sunday, the Huskies won the series with a 12-4 win. Kevin Ticen batted 4-for-5 with six RBI and a homer and Travis Anderson gave up no earned runs in seven 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 fifth Pac-10 North title in the 1990s and their second Pac-10 overall championship. In the 1990s, Washington has made four NCAA Regional appearances, more than any team from the Northwest. During the current decade, the Huskies have posted a 349-207 (.628) overall record and a 164-79 (.675) mark in Pac-10 play. Under coach Ken Knutson (1993-97), Washington is 168-66 (.718) against all teams from the Northwest (Washington, Oregon and Idaho) and 132-61 (.684) against Division I teams from the Northwest. Knutson has a winning record against every Northwest team (12) he has faced.
LET THERE BE LIGHTS: Along with the move into a unified Pac-10 and the expansion of the NCAA Tournament field from 48 to 64 teams -- not to mention the infamous bat controversy -- there's another new wrinkle for the Washington baseball program the year as lights have been installed at Husky Ballpark, allowing the Huskies to play their first night home games ever. The Huskies will play most weekday games at 6:30 p.m., while all Saturday and Sunday games are scheduled for 1:00 p.m. In all, 16 of the Huskies' 31 home games are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. starts.
FRIENDLY CONFINES: Washington has been very tough at home in the 1990s, posting a mark of 156-46 (.772) over the last nine seasons. Under coach Ken Knutson, the Huskies have posted a remarkable 117-34 record in home games, good for a .775 mark. Last year, the Huskies moved into Husky Ballpark and have notched a 38-12 (.760) record so far. The 29 home games last season were the most ever in school history, a mark that should fall this year as the Dawgs are scheduled to play 31 home contests.
THE POWER HOUSE: History will eventually be the judge of whether the new Husky Ballpark favors the hitters or the pitchers. So far, however, it definitely has been advantageous to the offense. Through 50 games at Husky Ballpark (29 last season, 21 this year), the Huskies have belted 96 home runs, an average of 1.9 per game, while visitors have hit 61 home runs, or 1.2 per game. In 50 games, a total of 710 runs have been scored (both teams combined), an average of 14.2 per game.
INJURY BUG: More than in any time in Ken Knutson's tenure as Husky coach, injuries have taken their toll on the Huskies this season. At least 10 players this season have missed games due to injury, with at least six different players missing 10 or more. Perhaps the most crucial injury was suffered by leadoff hitter and starting second baseman Marc Rittenhouse, who will miss the rest of the season with a fracture in his left foot. Also out for the year is reserve catcher/DH Jason Koehler, who will require shoulder surgery after a dislocation. Nick Stefonick will miss this weekend due to a shoulder separation suffered last Friday.
HEAVERLO: Thanks to a hard fastball and one of college baseball's hardest and nastiest sliders, junior Jeff Heaverlo has earned a national reputation as one of the country's best pitchers. Heaverlo, a right-hander from Ephrata, Wash., is one of the the NCAA's hottest prospects and a candidate for national player of the year honors. In its recent draft update, Baseball America named him college's No. 4 prospect. BA also named him a first-team preseason All-American and the Pac-10's preseason pitcher of the year. The magazine said that, "Heaverlo may be the most polished pitcher in college baseball."
April 18 vs. CS Northridge, he broke the UW career strikeouts record and now has 271 over 247.1 career innings (9.86 Ks per nine innings). He also has three of the top six strikeout seasons in UW history and is only 11 Ks shy of Jake Kringen's single-season UW mark of 110. Heaverlo greatly improved his reputation over the summer when he was named the Cape Cod League's co-pitcher of the year after posting a 7-1 record with a 3.09 ERA and 94 Ks in 67 innings. In 13 outings (12 starts) this year, Heaverlo is 8-2 with a stellar 2.83 ERA. He has allowed only 74 hits and struck out 99 batters in 86.0 innings.
WOODY: In his first season as a full-time starter, junior catcher Dominic Woody has made the most of his opportunity. In 40 games this season, Woody has already blasted 14 home runs, only two short of the UW school record of 16, set in 1986 by Mike Blowers and tied last season by Ryan Lentz. Already, his 14 homers rank him third in single-season UW history and his 21 career bombs rank him eighth on that ledger. Woody is leading the Dawgs with his 57 hits, 13 doubles and .789 slugging percentage. He has spent most of the season as the Huskies' leader in batting average, but was overtaken over the weekend by hot-hitting Bryan Williamson. As his reputation has grown, Woody has seen fewer and fewer strikes, walking 24 times and getting hit by 10 pitches. Behind the plate, Woody has been effective as well, posting a .982 fielding percentage (three of five errors are catcher's interference). In his 45 career starts at catcher, Woody, a Richland (Wash.) High graduate, has batted .403 (73-for-181) with 70 RBI and 53 runs. Also, 19 of his 21 career homers are as a starting catcher. In all other games, he has hit .288 (34-for-118).
ERICKSON: By tying the UW career home runs record March 14, junior first baseman Ed Erickson has the credentials to rank as, perhaps, the best left-handed power hitter in UW history. Erickson, from Yakima, Wash., tied Kevin Miller's mark of 30 home runs, and now has eight on the year. With 16 games to go in his junior season, he's certain to set a new standard that may last a while longer than the one that Miller set last year. As a freshman in 1997, Erickson belted eight homers in only 99 at bats, and after a slow start last year, came on to hit 14 home runs in 166 ABs. After spraining his left (non-throwing) wrist in the March 27 UCLA game, he missed nine games. He played against Stanford and Oregon State last week, but then took the last five games off to get a more thorough rest and prepare for the second half of the Pac-10 schedule. Erickson returned to the lineup against Oregon State and would seem ready to go for the remainder of the season.
STEFONICK: If there was a player anywhere that finished the 1998 season on a hotter streak than Husky senior Nick Stefonick, that player must truly have been on fire. After all, Stefonick, an outfielder from Seattle, closed out his junior year with a 16-game hitting streak, a tear that covered the Pac-10 Championship and the NCAA Central Regional. Stefonick hit safely in 25 of his last 26, a span during which he hit .464 (52-for-112) with 31 runs, 43 RBI, 13 doubles, three triples and three homers. His final batting average of .407 was tops in the Pac-10 North and the second-highest in UW history, earning him a spot on the All-Pac-10 North first team. In the 1999 opening weekend at Dixie Tournament, he earned MVP honors after extending his hitting streak to 19 games by going 6-for-12 with six runs, 10 RBI, two doubles and three home runs. Feb. 20 at Cal State Northridge, he bumped it up to 21 games, one short of the school record, but dislocated his shoulder sliding into second base in that game. March 5, he returned to the lineup and saw his streak broken at 21 games. He had a nine-game hitting streak broken last Friday. Prior to that game, he separated his right shoulder in batting practice. He sat out Saturday's and Sunday's games and will not travel this weekend.
WILLIAMSON: This year, not everything has gone the way Bryan Williamson would have liked. A shoulder injury has kept him off the mound for much of the season and out of the outfield for much of it as well. But now that the 6-foot-6 senior has returned to his starting spot in right field, he has hit a hot streak. Over the last 10 games, Williamson has batted .609 (20-for-34) with 17 runs, 12 RBI, five doubles and four homers. Perhaps the Huskies' most experienced player, Williamson has compiled numerous career highlights with the bat and on the mound. A .352 career hitter, he has earned All-Pac-10 North accolades, while also earning an invitation to the USA National Team camp in 1997. This season, after starting the year only 4-for-his-first-20 at bats, he has gone 47-for-102 (.461) to raise his average to a team-leading .418.
CARLSEN: At 6-foot-7, freshman right-hander Jeff Carlsen is the tallest member of the Husky roster, but that's not what makes him notable. Instead, Carlsen made a name for himself last season by acting as the most consistent member of the Husky pitching staff. The sophomore from Poulsbo, Wash., posted a 7-3 record and a 4.39 earned run average, best on the team among starters. He was the only freshman to be named to the All-Pac-10 North first-team while he also earned first-team freshman All-America honors from Collegiate Baseball. On April 4 of last season, Carlsen hurled the most impressive game in recent UW history when he threw a one-hit shutout against Washington State. For that performance, he earned Pac-10 North Pitcher of the Week and TPX National Player of the Week. He has been nothing short of spectacular this season, amassing a perfect 7-0 record and a meager 3.15 ERA in 10 starts. In seven of his last eight starts, he has worked at least seven innings and has not yielded any more than five earned runs in any one outing this year. He has also been the winning pitcher in three one-run ballgames.
NOTABLES: In a recent issue, Baseball America named Travis Anderson the No. 21 college prospect in the nation . . . over his last two starts, he has allowed 11 hits and no earned runs in 11 innings while striking out 11 . . . over his last three starts, he has lowered his ERA from 6.92 to 4.93 . . . left fielder Matt Hollod has hit safely in six of his last eight . . . during that span, he's gone 10-for-30 (.333) with nine RBI and three homers . . . in 11 of his 25 appearances last year, sophomore reliever Matt Massingale did not allow a hit . . . this year, Massingale is 7-for-11 in save opportunities and hasn't allowed a run in 15 of his 20 appearances . . . Massingale's seven saves lead the Pac-10 and are fifth-most in UW single-season history . . . co-captain Pete Orgill ranks fifth in UW history with 22 career HR . . . 25 of senior Kevin Ticen's 61 career hits have gone for extra bases . . . Ticen's 11 homers this year are ninth (tied) in UW history . . . Ticen should break the UW school record for getting hit by pitch . . . his total of 17 this season is only two short of Christian Shewey's record of 19, set in 1994 . . . freshmen relievers Shawn Kohn and Taylor Grant have become regulars out of the bullpen . . . over his last five outings, Kohn has allowed only one run, while over his four most recent trips to the mound, Grant has allowed no runs and struck out seven in four and one-third . . . combined, the two have walked only six and fanned 23 . . . Kohn has gone 13.1 innings since his only walk of the year (which came in his first outing) . . . outfielder Tyson Boston has played in 19 of the last 21 games . . . over the last seven, he is 11-for-22 (.500) with 10 RBI.
RANDOM NOTES: The UW's 68 home runs are third in team history . . . before the 1997 season, 47 home runs was the school record (1986) . . . 32 of the 35 players on the UW roster are from the state of Washington . . . the UW has scored in double figures 15 times this year (13-2 in those games) . . . this season, Washington is 18-5 in games in which either Jeff Carlsen or Jeff Heaverlo has pitched . . . since losing four of five (Mar.20-25), to fall to 12-8 on the year, the Huskies have since gone 12-5 . . . last year, the Huskies were 27-13 after 40 game, the same record they have right now . . . they finished 41-17 last year.