September 14, 1998
SEATTLE - The Washington baseball team opened the fall practice season today as 40 players reported for the first day of camp. Washington, the two-time defending Pac-10 Champion, will practice for the next four weeks at Husky Ballpark. The spring practice season begins in early January and the first game of the 1999 schedule is set for Feb. 11 the BYU Tournament in St. George, Utah.
The 1999 season will mark the first year of a unified Pac-10 schedule. The conference had been split into two divisions since 1969, but this season, all nine conference schools (Oregon doesn't have a baseball team) will play eachother three times in a 24-game, balanced league schedule. Washington will play three-game home series against UCLA, Stanford, Oregon State and Arizona State and on the road against Washington State, California, Arizona and USC.
Despite the loss of four high draft picks from last season (all taken in the top five rounds), as well as three other players that signed professional contracts, Washington still returns 21 lettermen, including two 1998 All-Pac-10 players and two others that were drafted last June, but did not opt to turn pro.
Senior outfielder Nick Stefonick was an all-league selection, batting .407 to win the division batting crown. Sophomore pitcher Jeff Carlsen was the only freshman to make All-Pac-10 North, posting a 7- 3 record and a 4.39 earned run average. Senior relief pitcher and DH Bryan Williamson batted .298 and posted a 3-0 record on the mound. Junior reliever Ken Ferguson had a team-low 3.58 ERA and was also 3-0. Both he and Williamson were drafted last June.
Also returning is junior starting pitcher Jeff Heaverlo, who was 5-3 and struck out 84 batters in 70.1 innings. He was the co-pitcher of the year in the Cape Cod League, the nation's top collegiate summer league. Other returning staters include LF Kyle Woods (.314, 14 HR, 20 SB), C/DH Pete Orgill (.309, 8 HR), C/DH Dominic Woody (.295, 4 HR), RHP Travis Anderson (4-2, 4.11 ERA) and LHP Matt Hampton (4-4, 5.93 ERA).
Among the 40 players who reported today are 10 freshmen and one junior college transfer. The freshman class includes three players - shortstop Richard Hall, pitcher Shawn Kohn and infielder/ outfielder Todd Linden - that were Washington all-state players. The class also include pro draftee pitcher Taylor Grant and a junior college All-American in Michael Done, a third baseman and pitcher at Seward County (Kan.) CC.