April 12, 1999
THIS WEEK: The Washington baseball team (19-12 overall, 7-5 Pac-10) take a break from Pac-10 action with five non-conference games this week. Tuesday and Wednesday, the Huskies travel to face Oregon State in Corvallis. This weekend, Cal State Northridge comes to Seattle for a three-game series. Here's a look at this week's games, with probable Husky starting pitchers:
Tue., April 13: UW at Oregon State, 3:00 p.m. -- LHP Mike Bomar (1-2, 6.86)
Wed., April 14: UW at Oregon State, 3:00 p.m. -- RHP Jeff Heaverlo (6-1, 2.83)
Fri., April 16: Stanford at UW, 6:30 p.m. -- RHP Jeff Carlsen (5-0, 2.41)
Sat., April 17: Stanford at UW, 1:00 p.m. -- RHP Travis Anderson (1-2, 6.68)
Sun., April 18: Stanford at UW, 1:00 p.m. -- RHP Jeff Heaverlo (6-1, 2.83)
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 245-144 (.630). With those 245 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 111-33 (.771) 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. .400-13-45 13 HR is 5th in UW history/hitting .400 vs. RHP & LHP Jake Gann, RS-Fr. .222-0-2 Five career starts as Woody's backup 1B -- Ed Erickson, Jr. .329-8-27 Returned to lineup Sunday after missing nine games Todd Linden, Fr. .241-0-8 4-for-5 with six RBI last Wednesday vs. San Francisco 2B -- Marc Rittenhouse, So. .353-1-19 9 doubles this year leads team/had only 2 2B in '98 Brent Robertson, Fr. .375-0-5 Two starts at second base/1 of 3 Husky triples in '99 SS -- Richard Hall, Fr. .217-0-4 Started last 15 at SS/Hit safely in first seven starts 3B -- Kevin Ticen, Sr. .279-7-20 Co-captain/former walk-on moved from C to 3B OF -- Nick Stefonick, Sr. .278-5-20 5-for-13 (.385) with double & triple vs. Stanford OF -- Kyle Woods, Jr. .250-3-9 12-for-12 stealing in '99/42 career SBs 10th in UW OF -- Daniel Jahn, So. .342-3-10 4-for-11 in three starts last weekend vs. Stanford OF -- Matt Hollod, RS-Fr. .304-2-14 4-for-5 with home run, 4 RBI Sunday vs. Stanford OF -- Tyson Boston, So. .233-3-10 2-for-4, 4 RBI, home run in 6-3 win at Arizona DH -- Bryan Williamson, Sr. .370-4-20 3-for-4, 3 runs, 2 RBI and home run Sun. vs. Stanford Pete Orgill, Sr. .338-5-18 Co-captain/21 career HRs are seventh in UW history
SERIES HISTORY: Oregon State leads the series with the Huskies, 199-158-1. Last season, the Huskies took five of eight from the Beavers and edged them for the Pac-10 North title by two games. UW coach Ken Knutson is 24-19 against OSU. Northridge leads its series with the UW, 3-2. Earlier this season, the Matadors won two of three agains the Huskies in Northridge.
LAST WEEKEND: No. 2 Stanford took two of three games from the Huskies. Friday, UW's Jeff Heaverlo out-dueled Stanford ace Jason Young in a 3-2 Husky win. Heaverlo fanned 10 batters. Saturday, the Cardinal got a home run in the top of the 11th inning to win, 7-4. Sunday, Washington took an 8-3 lead into the eighth, but saw the Cardinal score four in the eighth and six in the ninth in a 13-10 loss.
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 341-206 (.623) overall record and a 162-78 (.675) mark in Pac-10 play. Under coach Ken Knutson (1993-97), Washington is 163-65 (.715) against all teams from the Northwest (Washington, Oregon and Idaho) and 128-60 (.681) 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 152-45 (.772) over the last nine seasons. Under coach Ken Knutson, the Huskies have posted a remarkable 111-33 record in home games, good for a .771 mark. Last year, the Huskies moved into Husky Ballpark and have notched a 32-11 (.744) 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 43 games at Husky Ballpark (29 last season, 14 this year), the Huskies have belted 87 home runs, an average of 2.0 per game, while visitors have hit 58 home runs, or 1.3 per game. In 43 games, a total of 633 runs have been scored (both teams combined), an average of 14.7 per game.
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., enters the season as one of the the NCAA's hottest prospects. 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." With 250 career strikeouts he is one of only two UW pitchers ever to record 200 Ks and has a shot at reaching 300 strikeouts by the end of the season. He also has three of the top 10 strikeout seasons in UW history and is only nine Ks shy of Jake Kringen's career mark. For his career, Heaverlo is averaging 10.0 strikeouts every nine innings and has 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 10 outings (nine starts) this year, Heaverlo is 6-1 with a stellar 2.83 ERA. He has allowed only 53 hits and struck out 78 batters in 63.2 innings. Last week, he was named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week after beating No. 2 Stanford, 3-2, while striking out 10 batters in seven innings.
WOODY: In his first season as a full-time starter, junior catcher Dominic Woody has made the most of his opportunity. In only 31 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 in batting with a .400 mark and in slugging with a powerful .817 mark. He has scored 32 runs and driven in 45 in 31 games. His totals in hits, doubles, RBI and homers lead the Huskies. In his 42 career starts at catcher, Woody, a Richland (Wash.) High graduate, has batted .408 (62-for-152) with 63 RBI and 44 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 more than 20 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. Over his career, he has homered once every 11.7 at bats. With eight homers this year, he's chasing Dominic Woody to set the new single-season UW record. After spraining his left (non-throwing) wrist in the March 27 UCLA game, he missed nine games, but returned to the Husky batting order Sunday vs. Stanford and went 2-for-5.
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, who was batting .313 through 25 games, 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.
WILLIAMSON: In its college preview edition, Baseball America called senior Bryan Williamson the Huskies' "X-Factor." It's not a bad description of the 6-foot-6 outfielder/pitcher from Kennewick, Wash. Williamson, the UW's most experienced player, is starting in right field, batting second or third in the batting order and serving as a relief pitcher -- all that from a guy that started only 23 games in the batting order and worked only 32.2 innings last season after undergoing shoulder surgery. A career .343 hitter, Williamson has twice been drafted (1995 and 1998). As a sophomore in 1997, he batted .381 with 58 RBI in 52 games and posted a 4-2 record with six saves and a 2.89 earned run average, earning a tryout with the USA National Team and a selection to the All-Pac-10 team. An excellent contact hitter with good power, he has been limited on the mound with a rib-cage muscle pull. Williamson slumped through the first six games, batting only .200 (4-for-20), but has hit .403 (27-for-67) over the 20 games since. He was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week after collecting 14 hits in five games at the UNLV Desert Classic (Feb. 25-28). Last week vs. Stanford, he went 3-for-5 with three runs, a homer and two RBI.
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. Feb. 13 against BYU, Carlsen picked up a win with a five-inning, four-hit performance. Feb. 26 vs. Nevada, he allowed only one run (unearned) and one walk while fanning five in seven innings. Heading into this week, he has allowed only eight earned runs in his last 46.0 innings of work. In 1999, Carlsen is 5-0 with a sparse 2.41 ERA.
WOODS: Heading into last season, everyone knew that outfielder Kyle Woods had great speed. What they may not have anticipated was the power he'd show in his first season as a full-time starter. Woods, a junior from Marysville, Wash., belted 14 home runs as a sophomore, the third-highest total (tied) in Washington history. Woods was twice named the Pac-10 North player of the week in 1998 and earned a tryout with the USA National Team after the season. Woods also stole 20 bases in 24 attempts, scored 48 runs and drove in 49. With 42 career steals, he's the No. 10 base thief in UW history. In its draft preview, Baseball America named him the nation's No. 50 college draft prospect this year. Through six games, Woods had a .091 average, but has hit 23-for-78 since to improve to .250. In the series at Arizona, he batted 6-for-12 with two doubles and four stolen bases. He's 12-for-12 stealing bases this season.
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 30 games, he is batting .353 and leads the team with his 40 runs scored and nine doubles. He's also walked 22 times, stolen 10 bases and has posted an solid .942 fielding percentage while playing both middle infield positions. The leadoff hitter in 30 of 31 games this year, he has hit in 26 of 30 and has reached base in all but two games.
NOTABLES: In its most recent issue, Baseball America named Travis Anderson the No. 21 college prospect in the nation . . . reserve outfielder Matt Hollod has played in 22 of 31 games this year and started in nine in left field . . . Sunday vs. Stanford, he went 4-for-5 with four RBI and a homer . . . in 11 of his 25 appearances last year, sophomore reliever Matt Massingale did not allow a hit . . . this year, Massingale is 5-for-8 in save opportunities and hasn't allowed a run in 11 of his 15 appearances . . . co-captain Pete Orgill ranks seventh in UW history with 21 career HR . . . against UCLA, Orgill was 6-for-9 with two HR and seven RBI . . . 18 of senior Kevin Ticen's 48 career hits have gone for extra bases . . . freshmen Brent Robertson and Jake Gann both got their first career starts in Las Vegas . . . Gann went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI in his debut and Robertson was 2-for-4 with a triple and two ribbies . . . freshman Richard Hall, who sat out the first month after breaking a finger in January, has started the last 15 games in a row . . . in the win over USF, freshman first baseman Todd Linden batted 4-for-5 with six RBI.
RANDOM NOTES: The UW's 54 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 11 times this year (9-2 in those games) . . . the UW has only eight more road games and 19 more home games this season . . . this season, Washington is 14-4 in games in which either Jeff Carlsen or Jeff Heaverlo has pitched.