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Baseball Will Battle Stanford to Defend Pac-10 Title
Release: 06/21/1999
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May 12, 1998


THIS WEEK: The 19th-ranked Washington baseball team (37-15 overall, 17-7 in the Pac-10 North) will attempt to defend its 1997 Pacific-10 Conference Championship against No. 1 Stanford (41-10-1 overall, 22-8 in the Pac-10 South) in the best-of-three Pac-10 Championship Series at Husky Ballpark. The Huskies beat the Cardinal last season at Stanford, two games to one, to win the league title.

The Huskies will send sophomore right-hander Jeff Heaverlo (4-2, 5.76) to the mound for game one, Thursday at 3:00 p.m. In Friday's game two, a 1:00 p.m. game, freshman righty Jeff Carlsen (7-3, 4.18) will get the start. In Saturday's third game (if necessary), junior lefty Matt Hampton (3-4, 6.06) will start for the Dawgs in a noon game. All three games will air live on KRPM AM-1090 and game two will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Network to much of the nation, with Barry Tompkins and Jerry Kindall calling the action. Game three (if played) will air live on Fox Sports Northwest. Game time has been moved to 12:00 p.m. to accomodate live television.

WHAT'S AT STAKE: The winner of the Pac-10 Championship earns the conference's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament, the field for which will be announced Monday, May 18, at noon on ESPN. More than likely, Washington will receive an at-large berth even if Stanford wins the Pac-10 Series. The Cardinal are already guaranteed a spot in the tournament as they were named one of eight regional hosts yesterday. The other seven hosts: East: Clemson; Atlantic I: Miami, Fla.; Atlantic II: Florida State; South I: Florida; South II: Louisiana State; Midwest: Wichita State; and, Central: Texas A&M. Stanford will host the West Regional. Should Washington make it to an NCAA Regional, it will mark the team's fourth NCAA appearance in the 1990s and the first back-to-back appearance in history.

COACH "K": In nearly six full seasons as the head coach of his alma mater, Ken Knutson has led the Dawgs to a Pac-10 championship, four Pac-10 Northern Division titles, two second-place finishes and two NCAA Regionals. His career overall record stands at 222-130 (.631). With those 222 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 100-28 (.781) 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.         .295-6-20   Baseball America's No. 21 prospect/.392at home
      Pete Orgill, Jr.(1B)    .312-8-30   30 RBI on 24 hits this year/16 career HR is 9th at UW
1B -- Ed Erickson, So.        .364-10-38  18 career homers are 7th in UW history/24 RBI at home
      Dominic Woody, So. C)   .310-4-12   Backs up at C and 1B/4 HR, 10 RBI in 11 starts at home
2B -- Marc Rittenhouse, Fr.   .263-2-8    Led Newport HS to state title/.298 in home games
      Chris Whitemarsh, Sr.   .208-1-6    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.         .323-15-58  One HR short of Mike Blowers' UW season record (16)
OF -- Chris Magruder, Jr.     .383-10-48  Holds career runs, SB records/.409 career vs. Stanford
OF -- Jim Na, Jr.             .253-2-19   '98 co-captain/4-for-10, 4 RBI, 3 BB career vs. Stanford
OF -- Nick Stefonick, Jr.     .411-5-41   .411 average leads Pac-10 North/batting .436 at home
OF -- Kyle Woods, So.         .316-13-46  13 home runs 3rd in UW history/28-for-32 career SB
DH -- Bryan Williamson, Jr.(P).300-3-19   Has played RF, DH, and P/7 K in 5.1 IP vs. Stanford
      Kevin Ticen, Jr.(C)     .362-1-15   Eight starts at DH/15 RBI, 13 runs on 47 at bats

STANFORD-UW SERIES HISTORY: Stanford leads the all-time series against Washington, 20-6. Prior to last season, the two teams had not played since 1982, but now, the Huskies have played the Cardinal six times in the last 60 games. Last year, Washington won the best-of-three Pac-10 Series, 2-1, at Stanford. This season, the two played during spring break, with the Cardinal winning two one-run games (5-4 and 4-3 in 10 innings) and the Huskies winning one, 9-5. The series dates back to 1912, when Washington won two in a three-game series. They met again in 1920 (a UW win), but then not again until 1965. UW and Stanford also squared off in the 1981 Pac-10 Playoffs, in the days when the second-place team in the South played the first-place team in the North for the league's second automatic NCAA berth. Stanford won that series, two games to none.

PAC-10 PLAYOFF HISTORY: Washington is making its third straight appearance in the Pac-10 Championship Series, which was re-instituted in 1995. In 1996, the freshman-laded Husky team went to USC, won game one, but dropped the last two games. Last season, the Huskies lost game one at Stanford before coming back to win games two and three, and thus the Huskies' first overall conference title since 1922. The 1995 Pac-10 Series, incidentally, was won by USC, 2-0 over Washington State.

LAST WEEK: Washington closed the regular season by taking two of three from California last weekend at Husky Ballpark. In game one, Cal freshman Jason Dennis threw a six-hit shutout to win, 6-0. The blanking broke the Huskies' 115-game shutout-less streak and was the first single-pitcher shutout over the UW since 1995. Saturday, the Huskies scored three runs in the eighth to overcome a 4-3 deficit and win, 6-4. Matt Massingale threw one perfect inning for the win and Wayne Lee did the same in the ninth for his first save. In game three on Sunday, Kyle Woods' solo homer in the seventh broke a 4-4 tie and the Dawgs scored three more in the eighth to win , 8-4. Ken Ferguson earned his third win in relief in four weeks.

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 318-192 (.624) 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 has moved 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 21-6 and has hit 59 home runs in 27 home games, including 11 from Ryan Lentz. The Huskies are batting .313 at home (to opponents' .242) and are fielding .971.

THE SCOOTER: Through his nearly three full seasons at Washington, junior center fielder Chris Magruder (Yakima, Wash./West Valley HS) has established himself as one of the best players in Pac-10 North 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 244 career hits and holds the Husky record for runs with 213. His runs total is the ninth highest in Pac-10 history and most ever by a three-year player. Despite being a leadoff man, he's third on the Washington career home runs list (with 25) and fourth in career RBI with 147.

Three weeks ago, he broke the Husky career steals record and now has 91. This year, he also broke the single-season walks record with 51. He has reached base in all but four games this year, and over the last 14 games, he's batting .458 (27-for-59) has 34 runs, 21 walks, 19 RBI, six doubles, three triples, four home runs and reached base in 52 of 82 plate appearances (.634). 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 174 of the 176 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 232), runs (3rd with 176) and doubles (sixth with 39). A strong defensive shortstop, Miller has made only 12 errors (a very respectable .947 fielding pct.).

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. Thanks to consistent improvement, Lentz might be the greatest left-handed power hitter in UW history. 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 .323 with a team-high 58 RBI and 16 doubles. His 15 home runs land him one short of Mike Blowers' season record of 16 (1986). Lentz ranks in the UW career top three in three important power categories: doubles (2nd with 46), home runs (2nd with 27) 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 37 of 52 games at catcher and is batting .295 with six homers, 20 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 .300 with 19 RBI in 22 starts. On the mound, he has a 2-0 record and turned in his longest outing (6 IP) May 3 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 29 in 20.0 innings . . . opponents are batting only .183 against Morrison, who is third in UW history with 17 career saves.

JUNIORS: RF Nick Stefonick has started 41 of 52 games this season and is one of the hottest Huskies right now . . . Stefonick leads the Pac-10 North in hitting and has batted 41-for-82 (.500) with 24 runs, 30 RBI and nine doubles over the last 20 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 five weeks . . . of his 18 career hits, seven are doubles and one is a homer . . . reliever Wayne Lee has fanned 41 batters in 29.2 innings of work . . . he has struck out at least one batter in 18 of 21 appearances this season.

SOPHOMORES: Starting pitcher Jeff Heaverlo went 3-0 in Pac-10 North games and ranks in or near the top 20 nationally with 11.52 Ks/nine IP . . . LF Kyle Woods is second on the Huskies with his 13 home runs, the third highest single-season total in UW history . . . C/1B Dominic Woody is 13-for-his-last-33 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 23 games, primarily as a pinch runner, and has scored 11 runs . . . 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 37 hitters in 27.2 innings of relief work . . . Ferguson's last four outings (combined): 16.2 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 8 BB, 18 K, good for a 2.16 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 39 games at second, and is fielding a solid .950 . . . 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 (71.0) and is second in strikeouts (55). . . John Gillespie has three starts and has surrendered only 15 hits in 21.0 IP . . . Matt Massingale leads the Huskies with 22 appearances and has given up only 22 hits in 28.1 innings . . . the side-armer is 6-1 . . . freshman lefty Matt Gardner earned his first victory at San Francisco.

RANDOM NOTES: The UW has had a player hit two home runs in a game 14 times this season . . . Washington has stolen 100 bases for the fifth time ever and the fourth time in six seasons under Ken Knutson . . . as a staff, Washington pitchers have allowed only 428 hits in 445.2 innings, an average of only 8.64 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 93 . . . 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:

   1.   264    Jeb Best              1979-82
   2.   244    Chris Magruder        1996-
   3.   232    Kevin Miller          1996-
   4.   221    Joe Trippy            1992-95
   5.   218    Derrin Doty           1990-93
   6.   205    Tom Riley             1978-81
   7.   198    Ryan Lentz            1996-
   8.   192    Ron Johnson           1978-80
   9.   184    Randy Jorgensen       1991-93
  10.   183    Timo Donahue          1986-89

RUNS 1. 213 Chris Magruder 1996- 2. 183 Joe Trippy 1992-95 3. 176 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. 138 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. 47 Chris Magruder 1996- 2. 46 Ryan Lentz 1996- 3. 42 Timo Donahue 1986-89 4. 41 J. Vander Griend 1993-95 5. 40 Jeb Best 1979-82 6. 39 Kevin Miller 1996- 39 Christian Shewey 1993-96 39 Derrin Doty 1990-93 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. 91 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

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