May 7, 1998
THIS WEEK: Washington's 23rd-ranked baseball team closes out the regular season this weekend when the California Golden Bears come to town for a three-game series at Husky Ballpark. The Huskies (35-14 overall, 17-7 in the Pac-10 North) have already wrapped up the Northern Division title and will host the Pac-10 Championships next Thursday through Saturday (May 14-16). The Bears (21-30, 5-24 Pac-10 South) will also be playing their final games of the regular season. Friday at 3:00 p.m., the Huskies will send sophomore righty Jeff Heaverlo (4-1, 6.07) to the mound. In Saturday's 1:00 p.m. game, freshman right-hander Jeff Carlsen (7-3, 4.08) will try to add to his team-leading wins total. Sunday, junior RHP Bryan Williamson (2-0, 7.52) will get the start in the 1:00 p.m. regular-season finale. All three games of the weekend series, as well as all postseason games, will air live on KRPM AM-1090.
THE SITUATION: With its 3-1 series win over Oregon State last weekend, the Huskies earned their third consecutive Pac-10 Northern Division title and the right to defend the overall conference they won last year by beating Stanford in the best=of-three Pac-10 Championship Series. This year, the championship will be held in Seattle May 14-16 when either Stanford or USC will take on the Huskies. Top-ranked Stanford needs only one win in three games this weekend vs. USC to take the Southern Division crown. Next Monday, May 11, the NCAA will announce its eight regional sites. The following Monday, May 18, the NCAA tournament field will be announced live on ESPN at noon (PDT). The winner of the Pac-10 Championship earns the league's automatic berth, while the loser will also likely receive at at-large berth along with several other Pac-10 teams. Regional play begins May 21 and runs through Memorial Day weekend. The College World Series, as always in Omaha, Neb., runs May 29 through June 6.
COACH "K": In nearly six 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 220-129 (.630). With those 220 wins, he is the second-winningest coach in Washington history, trailing only Bob MacDonald (422). He has passed the 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 98-27 (.784) record in home games. He is 111-51 (.685) 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. .295-6-19 Baseball America's No. 21 prospect/.403 at home Pete Orgill, Jr. (1B) .319-8-29 29 RBI on 23 hits this year/16 career HR is 9th at UW 1B -- Ed Erickson, So. .263-10-38 18 career homers are 7th in UW history/24 RBI at home Dominic Woody, So. (C) .325-4-12 Backs up at C and 1B/4 HR, 10 RBI in 10 starts at home 2B -- Marc Rittenhouse, Fr. .280-2-8 Led Newport HS to state title/.333 in home games Chris Whitemarsh, Sr. .216-1-6 One of two UW seniors/five of 11 hits are extra-base SS -- Kevin Miller, Jr. .335-11-52 Holds UW career marks for 3B, HR/27 RBI at home 3B -- Ryan Lentz, Jr. .332-15-58 One HR short of Mike Blowers' UW season record (16) OF -- Chris Magruder, Jr. .385-10-48 29 steals leads Pac-10/holds career runs, SB records OF -- Jim Na, Jr. .253-2-18 '98 co-captain with Magruder/10 RBI in 9 league games OF -- Nick Stefonick, Jr. .398-5-37 Last four games: 9-for-15 with 7 runs and 12 RBI OF -- Kyle Woods, So. .317-12-44 12 home runs 3rd in UW history/28-for-32 career SB DH -- Bryan Williamson, Jr. (P) .321-3-19 Has played RF, DH, starting P and relief P/starts Sunday Kevin Ticen, Jr. (C) .362-1-15 Eight starts at DH/15 RBI, 13 runs on 47 at bats
CAL-UW SERIES HISTORY: In a surprisingly competitive all-times series, California has won 15 of 23 games all-time against the Huskies. California and Washington, two of the four teams that played the first-ever season of Pacific Coast Conference baseball in 1916 (Oregon and Oregon State are the others), first played one another in 1911, with Washington sweeping all three games between the two that year. The Bears and Huskies played in 1912 and 1920 and then did not meet again until 1960. From 1967 to 1971, the two teams played each other regularly as the Pac-8 played without divisions for those five seasons. Since 1971, Cal and UW have played only once, when the Huskies edged the Bears 3-1 at the Riverside (Calif.) Tournament. Of the 23 games, 11 have been decided by one run and 17 by two runs or less.
LAST WEEK: Washington won its third Pac-10 North title and fifth in the 1990s by taking three of four games from Oregon State. The Huskies also swept a two-game series from Portland on Tuesday and Wednesday. Last Friday's game one vs. OSU was probably the key. The Huskies trailed 11-5 at one point, and scored six runs in the bottom of the eighth to win, 16-12. Ryan Lentz hit two home runs in the game. In Saturday's first game, OSU ace Andrew Checketts nearly no-hit the Dawgs. Nick Stefonick broke up the bid with a single to lead off the seventh (and final) inning. Washington scored two runs that inning, but lost 8-2.
In game two, the Huskies completely turned it around, scoring 19 runs over the first four innings to leap ahead 19-0. Kevin Miller homered twice and Chris Magruder, Stefonick and Miller (the 1-2-3 hitters) each drove in five runs while Jeff Carlsen threw seven one-run innings for the 20-6 victory. The Huskies needed to win on Sunday to avoid a Monday playoff and did so with relative ease, leading 12-2 before giving up three in the ninth to win 12-5. Stefonick went 4-for-4 with four RBI and starter Bryan Williamson allowed only two runs on three hits in six innings for the win. Lentz hit two more homers on Tuesday in an 11-6 win over Portland and Daniel Jahn earned his first career win in an 6-1 victory over the Pilots on Tuesday.
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 316-191 (.623) overall record and a 153-73 (.677) mark in Pac-10 North play. Under coach Ken Knutson (1993-97), Washington is 162-65 (.714) against all teams from the Northwest (Washington, Oregon and Idaho) and 127-60 (.679) against Division I teams from the Northwest. Knutson has a winning record against every Northwest team (12) he has faced.
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 Feb. 27 vs. Gonzaga. This season, the new facility features a new field, with the stadium to come in the future. The new field includes 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 new home has been friendly to the Dawgs thusfar, as the UW is 19-5 and has hit 58 home runs in 24 home games, including 11 from Ryan Lentz. The Huskies are batting .318 at home (to opponents' .243) and are fielding .974.
THE SCOOTER: Through his nearly three seasons at Washington, junior center fielder Chris Magruder (Yakima, Wash./West Valley HS) has established himself as one of the best players in UW history. He ranks in the top 10 in virtually every important UW career category only part way through his third season. He stands second in UW lore with his 240 career hits and holds the Husky record for runs with 210. Despite being a leadoff man, he's second on the Washington career home runs list (with 25) and fourth in career RBI with 147. Two weeks ago, he broke the Husky career steals record and now has 90. This year, he also broke the single-season walks record with 50. He has reached base in all but three games this year, and over the last 14 games, he's batting .500 (23-for-46) has 31 runs, 20 walks, 19 RBI, five doubles, three triples, three home runs and reached base in 46 of 69 (.667) plate appearances.
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.
MILLER TIME: Junior shortstop Kevin Miller returns to defend his back-to-back titles as the Pac-10 North Player of 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 161 of the 163 games during his UW tenure at shortstop, and may have established himself as the greatest power hitter in school history. Only a junior, he's set new school records for career RBI (161), home runs (29) and triples (12) and is mounting attacks on several other UW marks. A career .356 hitter and one of only six Huskies ever to record 200 hits, he ranks in several career categories other than homers: hits (third with 229), runs (3rd with 175) and doubles (eighth with 38). A strong defensive shortstop, Miller has made only 10 errors (a very respectable .953 fielding pct.) Over the last two weeks, he's turned it on offensively, going 19-for-43 (.358) with 16 runs and 19 runs batted in over his last 11 games.
AT THE HOT CORNER: Junior Ryan Lentz (Woodinville (Wash.) HS), another of the fabulous junior class, is in his third season as the everyday starter at third base. 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. Currently, Lentz is batting .332 with a team-high 58 RBI and 16 doubles. Lentz ranks in the UW career top three in three important power categories: doubles (1st with 46), home runs (2nd with 22) and runs batted in (3rd with 155).
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. Several weeks ago, Baseball America put out an updated prospect list and named Bundy the No. 21 college prospect in the nation. Bundy has started 35 of 48 games at catcher and is batting .295 with six homers, 19 RBI and eight stolen bases.
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 plays 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 .321 with 19 RBI in 20 starts. On the mound, he has a 2-0 record and turned in his longest outing (6 IP) Sunday vs. Oregon State.
CLASS NOTES -- SENIORS: UW has only two seniors -- 2B Chris Whitemarsh and reliever Cody Morrison . . . Whitemarsh has decided to put off shoulder surgery and will remain active for the rest of the season . . . Morrison is 6-for-9 in save opportunities and has allowed only 13 hits and fanned 24 in 18.0 innings . . . opponents are batting only .200 against Morrison, who is third in UW history with 17 career saves.
JUNIORS: RF Nick Stefonick has started 32 of 43 games this season and is one of the hottest Huskies right now . . . the Pac-10 Player of the Week last week, he has batted 33-for-69 (.478) with 23 runs, 26 RBI and eight doubles over the last 17 games . . . Jim Na won a game with a homer for the second time in his career April 5 vs. WSU . . . his first career hit was a game-winning HR in extra innings vs. Gonzaga in 1996 . . . Pete Orgill, a part-time player throughout his career, is ninth on the UW career homers with 16 . . . reserve C/DH Kevin Ticen earned the first eight starts of his career in the last four weeks . . . of his 18 career hits, seven are doubles and one is a homer . . . reliever Wayne Lee has fanned 39 batters in 28.2 innings of work.
SOPHOMORES: Starting pitcher Jeff Heaverlo went 3-0 in Pac-10 North games and ranks in the top 20 nationally with 12.14 Ks/nine IP . . . LF Kyle Woods is second on the Huskies with his 12 home runs, the third highest single-season total in UW history (tied) . . . C/1B Dominic Woody is 13-for-his-last-29 with 14 runs . . . Ed Erickson has started at first base and DH . . . only a sophomore, Erickson has 17 career homers, seventh in UW history . . . reserve OF Dwight DeMar has played in 22 games so far and had two triples April 7 at Portland . . . on the mound, Travis Anderson is 4-2 and has allowed only 40 hits in 46.0 innings . . . long relief specialist Ken Ferguson has fanned 35 hitters in 25.2 innings of relief work . . . Ferguson's last three outings (combined): 14.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 8 BB, 16 K, good for a 2.45 ERA.
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 37 games at second, and is fielding a solid .949 . . . the other infielder to see action is SS Greg Brooks, who doubled in his first AB (vs. UCSB) . . . Jeff Carlsen has won seven of 10 pitching decisions. . . he leads the team in wins (7), innings (64.0) and is second in strikeouts (52). . . John Gillespie has three starts and has surrendered only 15 hits in 21.0 IP . . . Matt Massingale leads the Huskies with 21 appearances and has given up only 22 hits in 27.1 innings . . . the side-armer is 5-1 . . . freshman lefty Matt Gardner earned his first victory at San Francisco.
RANDOM NOTES: The UW has had a player hit two home runs in 14 games this season . . . the Huskies were last shut out in the final game of the 1996 season (5-0 at USC), meaning that they've gone 115 straight without being blanked . . . opponents have been able to shut the Huskies out through the first three innings only 25 times in that span and the UW has scored in the first inning 65 times in those 115 games . . . as a staff, Washington pitchers have allowed only 404 hits in 418.2 innings, an average of only 8.68 hits per nine innings . . . of the 14 Husky pitchers that have thrown this season, only four are allowing more than one hit per inning . . . Washington smashed the team HR record this year with 92 . . . prior to last year, when the Huskies hit 83, the school record had been 47 . . . only five players in UW history have hit 20 career home runs, and three of them are current Huskies -- Miller (29), Lentz (27) and Magruder (25).
CAREER WATCH: Here's a look at where current Huskies rank on the UW career top 10 charts:
HITS 1. 264 Jeb Best 1979-82 2. 240 Chris Magruder 1996- 3. 229 Kevin Miller 1996- 4. 221 Joe Trippy 1992-95 5. 218 Derrin Doty 1990-93 6. 205 Tom Riley 1978-81 7. 196 Ryan Lentz 1996- 8. 192 Ron Johnson 1978-80 9. 184 Randy Jorgensen 1991-93 10. 183 Timo Donahue 1986-89 RUNS 1. 210 Chris Magruder 1996- 2. 183 Joe Trippy 1992-95 3. 175 Kevin Miller 1996- 4. 170 Derrin Doty 1990-93 5. 155 Jeb Best 1979-82 6. 152 Tom Riley 1978-81 7. 142 John Kritsonis 1982-85 8. 137 Ryan Lentz 1996- 9. 135 David Nokes 1989-92 10. 129 Kevin Stocker 1989-91 RUNS BATTED IN 1. 161 Kevin Miller 1996- 2. 157 Jeb Best 1979-82 3. 155 Ryan Lentz 1996- 4. 147 Chris Magruder 1996- 5. 139 Randy Jorgensen 1991-93 6. 135 Derrin Doty 1990-93 7. 123 J. Vander Griend 1993-95 8. 118 Christian Shewey 1993-96 9. 114 Ryan Soules 1995-97 114 Timo Donahue 1986-89 DOUBLES 1. 46 Ryan Lentz 1996- 2. 46 Chris Magruder 1996- 3. 42 Timo Donahue 1986-89 4. 41 J. Vander Griend 1993-95 5. 40 Jeb Best 1979-82 6. 39 Christian Shewey 1993-96 39 Derrin Doty 1990-93 8. 38 Kevin Miller 1996- 9. 36 David Nokes 1989-92 10. 34 Ryan Soules 1995-97 HOME RUNS 1. 29 Kevin Miller 1996- 2. 27 Ryan Lentz 1996- 3. 25 Chris Magruder 1996- 4. 23 J. Vander Griend 1993-95 5. 22 Timo Donahue 1986-89 6. 19 Randy Jorgensen 1991-93 7. 18 Ed Erickson 1997- 8. 17 Ryan Soules 1995-97 9. 16 Pete Orgill 1996- 16 David Nokes & Mike Blowers STOLEN BASES 1. 90 Chris Magruder 1996- 2. 85 Joe Trippy 1992-95 3. 67 Kevin Stocker 1989-91 4. 58 Matt Wimmer 1991-94 5. 55 Derrin Doty 1990-93 6. 53 Jeb Best 1979-82 7. 51 Brent Shimokawa 1985-88 51 John Kritsonis 1982-85 9. 50 Timo Donahue 1986-89 10. 37 Ryan Rutz 1992-94