April 21, 1999
THIS WEEK: The Washington baseball team (25-12 overall, 7-5 Pac-10), winner of six straight and eight of its last 10 games, returns to Pac-10 Conference play this weekend when it plays host to Oregon State (14-28, 2-10 in the Pac-10) in a three-game series at Husky Ballpark. All three games will air live on KRSB AM-1150. Nxt Tuesday's scheduled game vs. Pacific Lutheran has been cancelled. Next weekend, the Huskies travel to Pullman for a three-game conference set against Washington State. Here's a look at this weekend's games, with probable Husky starting pitchers:
Fri., April 23: Oregon State at UW, 6:30 p.m. -- RHP Jeff Carlsen (6-0, 2.67)
Sat., April 24: Oregon State at UW, 1:00 p.m. -- RHP Jeff Heaverlo (8-1, 2.40)
Sun., April 25: Oregon State at UW, 1:00 p.m. -- RHP Travis Anderson (1-2, 5.91)
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 251-144 (.635). With those 251 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 115-33 (.777) record in home games. He is 118-56 (.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. .382-13-48 13 HR is 5th 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. .315-8-29 Missed 14 games with wrist injury/back this weekend Todd Linden, Fr. .250-0-12 UW is 6-1 in games he's started (6 at 1B, 1 at DH) 2B -- Marc Rittenhouse, So. .360-2-24 10 doubles this year leads team/had only 2 2B in '98 Brent Robertson, Fr. .333-0-6 6 starts at second base/only 2 errors and .947 pct. SS -- Richard Hall, Fr. .186-0-4 Has started 19 at SS/Hit safely in first seven starts 3B -- Kevin Ticen, Sr. .295-10-29 One of 12 Huskies ever to hit double-digit homers OF -- Nick Stefonick, Sr. .295-6-23 9-game hitting streak: .371 (13-for-35; 10 runs) OF -- Daniel Jahn, So. .385-4-15 Six starts in RF, 3 in LF, 3 at DH/5-for-6 Tue. at OSU OF -- Matt Hollod, RS-Fr. .297-3-18 14 starts in LF/last seven games: .357, 3 HR, 9 RBI OF -- Tyson Boston, So. .311-4-17 15 starts in RF/last five games: .500, 7 RBI, 2 2B, HR OF -- Bryan Williamson, Sr. .405-6-27 7-game hitting streak: .609 (14-for-23), 13 runs, 9 RBI DH -- Pete Orgill, Sr. .318-5-19 Co-captain/21 career HRs are seventh in UW historySERIES HISTORY: Oregon State leads the series with the Huskies, 199-160-1. Last season, the Huskies took five of eight from the Beavers and edged them for the Pac-10 North title by two games. Last week, in a pair of non-conference games in Corvallis, the Huskies beat the Beavers, 14-5 and 17-16. Mike Bomar picked up the win in the first one and Jeff Heaverlo (who left the game with the UW ahead 17-3) got the game two victory. Kevin Ticen homerd in both contests for the UW and Daniel Jahn was 5-for-6 with four RBI in game two. UW coach Ken Knutson is 26-19 against OSU.
LAST WEEKEND: The Huskies swept a three-game series from Cal State Northridge last weekend before beating St. Martin's on Tuesday. In Friday's 5-4 win, the Huskies scored all five in the second and held on as Jeff Carlsen picked up his sixth straight victory. Saturday, in another one-run win, Bryan Williamson belted a leadoff homer in the ninth to break a 6-6 tie and win, 7-6. Sunday, Jeff Heaverlo blanked the Matadors, 6-0, fanning 11 in nine innings. Heaverlo also broke the UW career Ks record, formerly held by Jake Kringen. Tuesday, Washington posted its second straight shutout, 6-0, over St. Martin's. Mike Bomar worked seven innings for the win and both Williamson and Kevin Ticen homered.
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 won its 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 347-206 (.627) overall record and a 162-78 (.675) mark in Pac-10 play. Under coach Ken Knutson (1993-97), Washington is 166-65 (.719) against all teams from the Northwest (Washington, Oregon and Idaho) and 130-60 (.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, 18 of the Huskies' 33 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 154-45 (.774) over the last nine seasons. Under coach Ken Knutson, the Huskies have posted a remarkable 115-33 record in home games, good for a .777 mark. Last year, the Huskies moved into Husky Ballpark and have notched a 36-11 (.766) 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 33 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 47 games at Husky Ballpark (29 last season, 18 this year), the Huskies have belted 92 home runs, an average of 2.0 per game, while visitors have hit 59 home runs, or 1.3 per game. In 47 games, a total of 668 runs have been scored (both teams combined), an average of 14.2 per game.
ALL-AMERICA & NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE YEAR CANDIDATE JEFF 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."
Last Sunday vs. CS Northridge, he broke the UW career strikeouts record and now has 265 over 240.0 career innings (9.94 Ks per nine innings). He also has three of the top six strikeout seasons in UW history and is only 17 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 12 outings (11 starts) this year, Heaverlo is 8-1 with a stellar 2.40 ERA. He has allowed only 66 hits and struck out 93 batters in 78.2 innings. Over his last six outings (five starts, one relief), he is 4-0 with one save, a 0.95 ERA and 44 Ks in 38.0 innings.
WOODY: In his first season as a full-time starter, junior catcher Dominic Woody has made the most of his opportunity. In 37 games this season, Woody has already blasted 13 home runs, more than three-quarters of the way to the UW school record of 16, set in 1986 by Mike Blowers and tied last season by Ryan Lentz. Already, his 13 homers rank him fifth in single-season UW history and his 20 career bombs rank him seventh on that ledger. Woody is also leading the Dawgs with his 50 hits, 10 doubles and .756 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 22 times and getting hit by 10 pitches. Behind the plate, Woody has been effective as well, posting a .992 fielding percentage. In his 42 career starts at catcher, Woody, a Richland (Wash.) High graduate, has batted .393 (66-for-168) with 66 RBI and 48 runs. Also, 18 of his 20 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 19 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.
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. Currently, he has a nine-game hitting streak, during which he as batted 13-for-35 (.371).
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 as the 6-foot-6 senior prepares to return to right field this weekend, he comes in on a hot streak. During his current seven-game hitting streak, Williamson has batted .609 (14-for-23) with 13 runs nine RBI, three doubles and three 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 41-for-91 (.451) to raise his average to a team-leading .405.
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 6-0 record and a meager 2.67 ERA in nine starts. In each of his last seven starts, he has worked at least seven innings and has not yielded any more than four earned runs in any one outing. He has also been the winning pitcher in three one-run ballgames.
RITTENHOUSE: Perhaps never before in UW baseball history has a player had bigger shoes to fill than sophomore 2B/SS Marc Rittenhouse did this year. In taking over the leadoff spot, he replaced All-American Chris Magruder, who scored more runs than any three-year player in Pac-10 history and left the UW with career and single-season records in hits, runs and stolen bases. But Rittenhouse, from Bellevue's Newport High, has performed up to those high standards so far. In 35 games, he is batting .360 and leads the team with his 46 runs scored and 10 doubles. He's also walked 28 times, stolen 10 bases and has posted an solid .940 fielding percentage while playing both middle infield positions. The leadoff hitter in 35 of 37 games this year, he has hit in 31 of 35 and has reached base in all but two games.
NOTABLES: In a recent issue, Baseball America named Travis Anderson the No. 21 college prospect in the nation . . . left fielder Matt Hollod has hit safely in six of the last seven . . . during that span, he's gone 10-for-28 (.357 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 6-for-10 in save opportunities and hasn't allowed a run in 14 of his 19 appearances . . . co-captain Pete Orgill ranks seventh in UW history with 21 career HR . . . 23 of senior Kevin Ticen's 55 career hits have gone for extra bases . . . outfielder Daniel Jahn has hit safely in eight of his last nine starts . . . in that span, he's hit .438 (14-for-32) with 10 RBI, three doubles and three homers . . . right fielder Tyson Boston has played in 17 of the last 19 games . . . over the last five, he has batted .500 (9-for-18) with seven RBI.
RANDOM NOTES: The UW's 64 home runs are third in team history . . . before the 1997 season, 47 home runs was the school record (1986) . . . 33 of the 36 players on the UW roster are from the state of Washington . . . the UW has scored in double figures 13 times this year (11-2 in those games) . . . the UW has only six more road games and 13 more home games this season . . . this season, Washington is 17-4 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, the Huskies have since gone 13-4 . . . last year, the Huskies were 24-13 after 37 games.