April 6, 2000
THIS WEEK: The Washington baseball team (12-15 overall, 2-4 Pac-10) returns to Seattle after winning a pair of games at Washington State. Friday through Sunday, the Huskies entertain Arizona (18-20, 3-6) in an important three-game Pac-10 series at Husky Ballpark. None of the games will air on radio in the Seattle area, but fans can find the Arizona broadcasts on the internet by going to www.knst.com. Friday's game is expected to be a matchup of two of the Pac-10's outstanding pitchers as Washington's Jeff Carlsen puts his 20-5 career won-lost record on the line against Arizona fire-baller Ben Diggins, who has begun the season with an 8-0 record. Next week, Washington plays a single game at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Husky Ballpark against defending NAIA champion Lewis-Clark State, a game that will air on the KKOL AM-1300. Then, next weekend, the Dawgs travel to face No. 7-ranked Stanford, the defending Pac-10 champion, in a three-game series at Sunken Diamond. Here's a brief look at this weekend's games, with probable starting pitching matchups:
Fri., April 7, 6:30 p.m. -- UW vs. Arizona, Husky Ballpark -- RHP Jeff Carlsen (4-1, 6.07) vs. RHP Ben Diggins (8-0, 2.48)
Sat., April 8, 1:00 p.m. -- UW vs. Arizona, Husky Ballpark -- LHP Matt Gardner (1-2, 5.64) vs. TBA
Sun., April 9, 1:00 p.m. -- UW vs. Arizona, Husky Ballpark -- RHP Matt Massingale (3-3, 6.15) vs. TBA
SERIES HISTORY: Washington and Arizona have met only four times, and the Huskies have taken three of those games. The first UW-UA game came at the 1992 NCAA West I Regional in Tucson, as No. 6 seed Washington beat No. 1 seed Arizona, 6-5, in a meeting of the Pac-10's Northern and Southern Division champs. Last season, the Dawgs won two of three in a series in Tucson. After a Friday rainout, the Huskies swept a Saturday doubleheader, 6-3 and 2-1. On Sunday, Arizona came back to salvage a split with a 17-4 rout. Knutson is 2-1 against Arizona.
COACH "K": In seven-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 271-170 (.615). With those 271 wins, he is the second-winningest coach in UW history, trailing only Bob MacDonald (422). 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 128-45 (.740) record in home games. He is 125-67 (.651) 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, and Joe Weis.
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 -- Jefferson Thiel, Fr. .293-2-11 Winning RBI in 9th Wed. at WSU Tim Rice, So. .174-0-1 JC transfer has made seven starts at catcher 1B -- Ed Erickson, Sr. .323-4-21 8-game hitting streak: .371 (13-for-35) 2B -- Marc Rittenhouse, Jr. .261-7-24 Leads UW in HR, runs, walks, HBP and SB Josh Fulton, So. .143-0-1 Played one year at Brigham Young SS -- Tila Reynolds, Fr. .299-1-11 8-game hitting streak: .462 (12-for-26) Brent Robertson, So. .194-0-2 Started at 2B on Wednesday 3B -- Michael Done, So. .267-4-15 4-for-9 with two homers at WSU OF -- Todd Linden, So. .365-4-28 Leads team in batting, hits and RBI OF -- Matt Hollod, So. .235-0-6 Started all three vs. Cal in RF OF -- Justin Drake, Fr. .238-1-4 Has started nine of last 12 games OF -- Daniel Jahn, Jr. .207-1-10 Hit three-run HR in 3-2 win over Dayton OF -- Tyler Davidson, Fr. .353-2-8 Wed. at WSU: 3-for-4, 2B, 3B, HR, 2 RBI DH -- Jay Garthwaite, Fr. .232-4-9 Belted two solo HR Wed. at WSU
RECENT RESULTS: Washington travelled to Pullman for a two-game, non-conference series on Tuesday and Wednesday. In the first game, the Huskies took advantage of nine walks,k three hit batter, four wild pitches and four errors in a 16-6 win over Washington State. Michael Done led the Huskies, going 3-for-5 with a homer and three RBI. Ed Erickson, Todd Linden and Jefferson Thiel added two hits each. Matt Massingale worked six innings for the victory and Taylor Grant pitched the final three for his fourth save. Wednesday, it was the Huskies who struggled on the mound, at least in the first inning. The Cougars went ahead with a five-inning first inning, but Washington chipped away and eventually scored two in the ninth to win, 8-7. Washington got five solo homers in the game (four by freshmen). Jay Garthwaite hit a pair and Thiel, Done and Tyler Davidson each hit one. In the ninth, the Huskies scored the tying run on an error (which would have been the second out) and then Thiel grounded out with the sacks full to drive in the winning run. Freshman righty Tyler Shepple allowed only two hits and one earned run over 5.1 relief innings, freshman lefty Cam McCoy got the win with two shutout frames and Grant worked the ninth for the save. Davidson was a single away from the cycle with a double, a triple and a homer in three at bats.
DOMINATING THE NORTHWEST: During the decade of the 1990s, the UW baseball program grew to be the unquestioned dominant team in the Pacific Northwest. During the decade, the Huskies won five Pac-10 North titles, two overall Pac-10 championships and went to four regionals. No Northwest team besides UW has gone to an NCAA Regional since 1991. In the 1990s, Washington posted a 355-218 (.620) overall record and 167-85 (.663) in Pac-10 play. Under coach Ken Knutson (1993-), UW has posted a 177-77 (.697) record against all teams from the Northwest (Washington, Oregon and Idaho) and went 141-72 (.653) against Division I teams from the Northwest. Knutson has a winning record against every Northwest foe (12) he has ever faced.
MORE IN THE 90'S: Among the nine current Pac-10 teams, Washington posted the fourth-best record during the 1990s with a 355-218 (.620) overall record. Stanford (.673), USC (.657) and Arizona State (.651) were the three league schools with better marks. The Huskies' .635 conference winning percentage during the decade was third-best behind the Cardinal (.650) and Trojans (.639). With four NCAA regional appearances in the 90's, the Huskies were behind USC (6), Stanford (5) and UCLA (5).
YOUTH FACTOR: In 1996, the Huskies started an average of more than six freshmen in each game. That Husky team, led by a recruiting class ranked No. 8 in the nation, went on to win three Pac-10 Northern Division titles and two Pac-10 championships. Not since then has the Husky roster been so young. The 36-player roster includes 19 newcomers and only one senior, Ed Erickson. The roster includes only six players 21 years old or older and 28 freshmen and sophomores. The Huskies should have new starters at catcher, shortstop, third base, right field and left field every day and may have newcomers at second base and DH on a given day. None of the five catchers on the roster (four freshmen, one RS-sophomore transfer) has ever played in a college baseball game. In the season's opening weekend at the Rawlings Spring Training Tournament, 16 different players (nine hitters, six pitchers, one pitcher/hitter) made their UW debut, a group that included 12 freshmen.
PRESEASON PREDICTIONS: The various preseason magazines and polls haven't had much to say about the Huskies -- not surprising when one considers the lack of returning starters and high number of new players. Both preseason magazines (Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball), as well as the Pac-10 coaches' poll picked the Huskies to finish seventh in the nine-team Pac-10. Baseball America, which ranks a top 100 in the preseason, tabbed the Huskies No. 52, but did not predict that they'd make the postseason. While no Husky players were named preseason All-Pac-10, several were noted in Baseball America's various draft preview lists. Junior RHP Jeff Carlsen was picked as the No. 52 college prospect while junior RHP Matt Massingale was No. 70 on that list. Also, freshman 1B/OF Jay Garthwaite was selected as the No. 17 prospect among college freshmen.
PAC-10 IS NO. 1 AGAIN: Baseball America once again ranked the Pacific-10 as the toughtest conference in the nation in this spring's preseason issue. Five of the league's nine schools (Oregon has no baseball team) rank in the top 25 and all nine made the top 86. Five of the 14 spots on BA's preseason All-America team were held by Pac-10 players and eight of the 14 second-teamers were conference members. Five of the top 11 college prospects in the nation (in terms of the 2000 draft) are Pac-10 players, including the first, second and sixth picks, according to Baseball America.
FRIENDLY CONFINES: Washington was very tough at home in the 1990s, posting a mark of 160-52 (.755) over the last 10 seasons. Under coach Ken Knutson, the Huskies have posted a remarkable 128-45 record in home games, good for a .740 mark. In 1998, the Huskies moved into Husky Ballpark and have notched a 48-22 (.686) record so far. In two seasons, the Huskies have averaged 30 home games a year after usually having played 15 to 20 each season at old Graves Field. This season, the Dawgs are scheduled to play 30 home games.
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 73 games at Husky Ballpark, the Huskies have belted 120 home runs, an average of 1.6 per game, while visitors have hit 88 home runs, or 1.2 per game. In 73 games, a total of 1,037 runs have been scored (both teams combined), an average of 14.2 per game.
MORE COACH K FACTS: In only seven years as the head coach of the Washington baseball team, Ken Knutson has posted a list of accomplishments that already far outdistances any of his predecessors'. Aside from his outstanding won-lost record (see first page), Knutson has led the Dawgs to four Pac-10 North titles and two overall Pac-10 crowns. His teams have never finished below .500 in conference play and he earned the Pac-10 North Coach of the Year award three times. In seven seasons, he has coached 35 first-team all-league players, 11 different All-Americans and seven different USA National Teamers. Prior to his arrival, no Husky had ever tried out for the national team. Knutson has also seen 33 players move on to the professional ranks. Of those 33, all but one improved his draft standing compared to where he went prior to coming to the UW.
LINDEN: Sophomore first baseman Todd Linden was downright dominant in the opening weekend's Rawlings Spring Training Tournment. The switch hitter from Bremerton, Wash., finished the five-game weekend with a .750 batting average (12-for-16) and reached base safely in 16 of his 20 plate appearances (four walks). Linden also showed tremendous power and run production, tallying two doubles, a triple, three home runs and 11 RBI. He slugged 1.563 and struck out only once, and he even managed to throw out two baserunners from left field. Linden accounted for 11 of the Huskies' 25 RBI (44 percent) and 12 of their 38 hits (32 percent). For his efforts, Linden was named the first Pac-10 Player of the Week for the 2000 season. Linden still leads the Huskies in batting with his .365 mark. He also is tops in hits (38) and RBI (28) and second in doubles (8) and homers (4).
ERICKSON: Senior first baseman Ed Erickson would like to finally put in a full season this year. After seeing action as a part-time starter his first two seasons, Erickson was a full-timer last year, starting at first base and hitting cleanup. However, his 1999 season was shortened when he suffered broken bones in his right wrist and hand in a collision at first base against UCLA on March 27. Erickson played 17 games after the injury, but wasn't the same. In the 21 games prior, he batted .325 with eight homers and 24 RBI. After the injury, he hit only one more home run and had nine RBI while his average dropped to .270. After extensive and delicate off-season surgery and an amazing 21 weeks in a cast, Erickson is once again healthy. The Huskies' only senior already holds the UW career home runs record with 35. With a good season, the Yakima, Wash., native should rank among the top-10 in UW history in runs, hits, runs batted in and doubles. He already ranks in RBI (seventh with 131), strikeouts (seventh with 100) and hit-by-pitch (fourth with 29). Erickson currently leads the Huskies with nine doubles, is second in batting (.323), home runs (4), hits (32) and third in runs batted in (21). Over his current eight-game hitting streak, he's 13-for-35 (.371) with nine RBI.
CARLSEN: At 6-foot-7, junior right-handed pitcher Jeff Carlsen is the tallest member of the Washington roster. He's also the most successful and experienced member of the Husky pitching staff. Carlsen, who has been a regular member of the Husky starting rotation since his arrival from North Kitsap High in Poulsbo, Wash., has compiled an impressive 20-5 career won-lost record, including a 9-1 overall mark and 4-1 Pac-10 record last season. He is only the fifth Husky ever to win 20 games in a career. Carlsen was a freshman All-America in 1998 and the only freshman on the All-Pac-10 North first team. Last season, he was a second-team Academic All-Pac-10 pick and was invited to try out for the U.S. National Team before going to the Cape Cod League, where he was an all-star for the second straight season. In two season with the Bourne Braves in the Cape, Carlsen has posted a 9-3 record. Carlsen ranks fifth in UW history with his 20career wins, seven victories short of Mike Smith's Husky record (27). He also has worked his way onto the career strikeouts list, where he ranks seventh with 162. This season, he has left the game with the Huskies in front in six of seven starts, good for a 4-1 record. Last Saturday against California, he fanned a career-high 10 batters.
RITTENHOUSE: Like many members of the Husky roster, junior Marc Rittenhouse had his 1999 season cut short by injury. The Huskies' leadoff man was having a great season before fouling a ball of his foot and breaking a bone during a game in Arizona. In his second season as the Huskies' starting second baseman last year, Rittenhouse was hitting .375 before getting hurt. He played in 10 more games, still managing to hit .360 overall, but ended up missing 21 games due to the broken bone. Rittenhouse, from Belleuve's Newport High, started the year with a 15-game hitting streak during which he hit .400 and scored 23 runs. After having that streak broken with one hitless game, he went on to hit in 11 games in a row. In games in which Rittenhouse played last year, the Huskies were 24-11. Without him, they went only 9-12. After struggling and dropping to .178, Rittenhouse has responded and has raised his average to .264 and leads the team in runs (30), walks (24), home runs (7), stolen bases (seven). Over his last 57 plate appearances, he has reached base 30 times (.526). With seven home runs already this year, he has more than doubled his career total, which was five coming into this season. Rittenhouse has also moved back to the infield from center, as he started all three games of the California series at second base.
WHO'S HOT: Freshman SS Tila Reynolds has been reaching base at a tremendous rate recently ... he has reached in 19 of his last 30 plate appearances (.633) and 31 of his last 49 (.633) ... Reynolds has started 23 of 27 games at shortstop this season ... he also has an eight-game hitting streak, going 12-for-26 with 1- runs, seven RBI and nine walks over the streak ... junior IF/OF Marc Rittenhouse has hit safely in 10 of the last 12, going 15-for-43 (.349) to raise his average from .178 to .261 over that span ... he also has five home runs, 17 runs and 17 RBI over the last 12 games ... senior 1B Ed Erickson has hit safely in 15 of the last 16 and 20 of the last 22 ... over the last eight games, he's 13-for-35 (.371) with four doubles, two home runs and nine RBI ... freshman RHP Sean White has fanned nine batters over his last 5.2 innings ... on the year, he's struck out 14 in 9.1 frames ... over his last 13 innings, junior LHP Mike Bomar has surrendered only six hits and fanned 16.
NOTABLES: LHP Mike Bomar carried a no-hitter through seven and two-thirds innings March 18 against Dayton ... he finished with a nine-inning two-hitter, fanning 12 and walking only one ... Wednesday at WSU, freshman RHP Tyler Shepple allowed only two hits and one earned run over five and two-thirds innings ... he lowered his ERA from 16.29 to 6.75 with the one outing ... freshman OF Tyler Davidson has six base hits in 17 at bats this year, good for a .353 average, but only one of those six hits is a single ... he has a double, two triples and two homers and is slugging 1.000 ... sophomore RHP Randy Vanderplow worked 6.1 strong relief innings last Friday vs. Cal, allowing five hits, two runs and no walks while striking out seven.
RANDOM NOTES: Of the 36 players on the Washington roster, only five come from outside of the state of Washington -- 3B/P Michael Done (Colorado), 1B Duggan Moran (Colorado), RHP Tyler Shepple (Colorado), OF Steve DeClerck (Oregon) and RHP Randy Vanderplow (California) ... of the 31 Washingtonians on the roster, 25 are from western Washington (west of the Cascades) ... Ed Erickson's 35 career home runs are the most in UW history ... after him, the current Husky with the most career homers is Marc Rittenhouse, with 12 ... Washington has stared at least five newcomers in 21 of 27 games this year.