May 27, 2003
Coming Up: The No. 23 Washington baseball team (40-16 overall, 15-9 (third) in the Pac-10) heads to the NCAA tournament for the seventh time ever and the sixth time in the last 12 seasons this weekend. The Huskies will play in the Long Beach Regional at Blair Field in Long Beach, Calif. Friday, May 30, at 3:00 p.m., the third-seeded Huskies take on second-seeded Minnesota (39-20, 26-4 Big Ten) in their opening game. Regional host and top-seeded Long Beach State (38-18, 13-5 Big West), ranked No. 8 by Baseball America, hosts fourth-seeded Pepperdine (36-23, 23-7 West Coast Conference) in the other first-round game, which is slated for Friday at 7:00 p.m. All of Washington's postseason games will air live on KKNW AM-1150. The winner of the double-elimination regional will play the winner of a regional at Stanford, Calif. (participants: Stanford, Richmond, UC Riverside and Illinois-Chicago) in a best-of-three Super Regional the following weekend (June 6-8), with the winner of that advancing to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. The Huskies enter the regional having won seven of their last eight, 18 of their last 22 and 36 of their last 46 after opening the season with a 4-6 record. Here's a look at the upcoming games (Washington will start RHP Sean White in its first game, RHP Jeff Petersen in its second and, most likely, RHP Clay Johnson in its third):
Fri., May 30 -- Game One: #3 Washington vs. #2 Minnesota, , 3:00 p.m. Game Two: #1 Long Beach State vs. #4 Pepperdine, 7:00 p.m. Sat., May 31 -- Game Three: Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2, 11:00 a.m. Game Four: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 3:00 p.m. Game Five: Winner Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4, 7:00 p.m. Sun., June 1 -- Game Six: Winner 4 vs. Winner 5, 1:00 p.m. (if neccesary): Game Seven: rematch of game six if both teams have one loss, 5:00 p.m.
Coach "K": In 11 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, now, five NCAA Regionals. His career overall record stands at 387-251-1 (.606). With those 387 wins, he is the second-winningest coach in UW history, trailing only Bob MacDonald (422). Before becoming the 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 190-82-1 (.698) record in home games. He is 167-115 (.592) in Pac-10 games. Knutson has coached 37 first-team All-Pac-10 selections in 10 seasons, and has been named league coach of the year three times. A 1981 All-Pac-10 left-handed pitcher at the UW, he is joined by assistants Joe Ross, Travis Jewett, and Gregg Swenson and undergrad assistant Jeremiah Porter.
Probable Starters: Here's a look at the probable starters at each position, with current stats and notes:
Pos. Player, Year Avg.-HR-RBI Notes C -- Aaron Hathaway, So. .339-4-35 Only 15 SBs allowed in 45 games; No. 3 hitter in 23 of last 25 Ben Johnson, Jr. .154-1-5 Has started eight games at catcher; 3-run HR Mar. 26 at Port. 1B -- Kyle Larsen, So. .281-8-41 Freshman All-America in '02; only 2 errors in 957 career chances 2B -- Greg Isaacson, Jr. .326-9-37 Over his last 34 games: .365 (50-for-137) with 9 doubles, 8 HRs SS -- Tila Reynolds, Sr. .302-3-35 Washington's career leader in games, at bats, doubles, HBPs 3B -- John Otness, Jr. .300-6-35 Has started 51 of 56 at 3B; 16 doubles, 3 triples lead team OF -- Mike Wagner, Jr. .319-15-48 Baseball America Summer All-Amer.; 5 homers in last 7 games OF -- Chad Boudon, Jr. .289-21-55 21 homers are UW record, tied for 1st in Pac-10, third in NCAA OF -- Brent Lillibridge, Fr. .392-12-44 USA National Team invitee; UW freshman record with 12 HRs OF -- Taylor Johnson, So. .264-6-25 Has started 44 of 56 in right field; 4 OF assists lead team OF -- Justin Drake, Jr. .318-2-12 Scored from first on errant pickoff throw in 11th Apr. 11 at AZ DH -- Nick Batkoski, So. .348-3-17 7 of 16 starts have come in last 9; also 5-for-10 as pinch hitter
History vs. NCAA Regional Opponents: Washington has played each of the three possible NCAA regional opponents in recent years, including this season's opener, when Pepperdine shut Washington out, 1-0, on Feb. 7 in Malibu. The Huskies have played Long Beach State seven times and Minnesota on five occasions in their history and is 0-2 all-time vs. Pepperdine, including a meeting in the 1992 NCAA West I Regional. That year, the Waves went on to win the College World Series. Additionally, both of the Huskies' wins vs. Long Beach State came in the a 1994 NCAA Regional in Wichita. Here's a look at the Huskies' series history against each of the other four teams in this weekend's NCAA Long Beach Regional and game recaps from the 1992 NCAA game vs. Pepperdine and both 1994 NCAA games against the 49ers:
UW vs. Minnesota: Washington is 2-3 all-time against the Golden Gophers, with all five meetings coming in regular-season tournaments in the 1990s. In 1998, the Huskies faced Minnesota in a tournament hosted by San Diego State. The game was moved to Yuma, Ariz., due to rain in San Diego, and the Gophers won that one, 15-9, as the UW committed a school-record 12 errors. In 1997, in the Hormel Foods Classic at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, the UW won, 9-1. Ryan Lentz went 4-for-5 and Jake Kringen threw seven innings for the win. In 1990, in a tournament in San Jose, Calif., Minnesota won two of three games, taking the first two, 13-6 and 6-3, before losing the third, 6-3.
UW vs. Long Beach State: The Huskies are only 2-5 all-time against the 49ers, with both wins coming at the 1994 NCAA Midwest II Regional at Wichita State (more on those two games below). The first-ever UW-LBSU game took place in Long Beach in 1969, with the Niners taking a 4-2 win. In 1996, Washington opened the season with a four-game series at Blair Field and Long Beach swept a UW team that started at least five freshmen in each game. LBSU's Rocky Biddle worked six innings and struck out 12 in the opening 5-2 win as two of the Huskies' five hits came from freshman Pete Orgill, who also homered. The UW was held to two hits in a 10-1 loss in the second game, with Orgill doubling and scoring the only Husky run. Long Beach's Marcus Jones allowed two hits and fanned 10 over six innings for the win. In game three, the UW mustered only three hits in a 3-1 loss as Kyle Wilson took a 7.1-inning win. In the series finale, LBSU blanked the Dawgs, 4-0, on five hits. Steve Hueston went five innings for the win.
UW vs. Pepperdine: Washington and Pepperdine have met only twice all-time, once in the 1992 NCAA West I Regional in Tucson, Ariz. (more on that below) and once this season, when Washington opened its season with a 1-0 loss at Pepperdine at the Battle at the Beach tournament in Malibu. In that game, Feb. 7 (both teams' opener), the Waves' Brandon Boesch out-dueled Husky starter Sean White for the 1-0 win. Boesch allowed only five hits over seven innings while White gave up only three in six frames. Washington had its best scoring chance in the first as singles from John Otness and Kyle Larsen and a walk to Steve Ramsey loaded the bases with two outs, but Mike Wagner grounded out to end the threat. In the fifth, with two outs and none on, Waves shortstop Kevin Estrada belted a line-drive homer off the scoreboard in right field for the game's lone tally. Otness had two of the Huskies' five hits on the day.
Pepperdine 11, UW 0 * NCAA West I Regional * Tucson * May 24, 1992
The Huskies and Pepperdine met in a winners' bracket game at the 1992 West I Regional in Tucson, as both had won their first two games of the tournament. Derek Wallace held sixth-seeded UW to only three hits over seven and two-thirds innings for the win, fanning nine. Second baseman Steve Rodriguez led the Waves' offense with three hits, three runs, a double and two stolen bases in four at bats. Pepperdine scored one in the first and three in the second and held a 4-0 lead through four and half innings before putting the game away with three in the fifth and four in the seventh. Husky starter Chad Hartvigson went the distance in the loss, allowing 11 runs (five earned) on 11 hits over his eight innings. Left fielder Derrin Doty was the only Husky with more than one hit as he went 2-for-4. Pepperdine went on to win the NCAA title.
UW 10, Long Beach St. 4 * NCAA Midwest II Regional * Wichita * May 27, 1994
Fifth-seeded Washington and second-seeded Long Beach State met on the first day of regional play at Wichita State, with the UW emerging with a 10-4 win. Long Beach scored three in the third before the UW erupted for six in the fourth, one in the fifth and two in the sixth to cruise to the win. Chad Hartvigson worked seven innings in the victory, beating 49ers ace Mike Fontana (5.2 IP, 9 hits, 9 runs, 3 ERs, 2 BBs, 4 Ks). In the six-run fourth, the UW took advantage of two errors by LBSU shortstop Ryan Miller. A two-run single from Brett Newell and a three-run homer from Ross Junkin were the big blows. Greg Mecca, who went 3-for-5, added a solo homer for the UW. Junkin finished 3-for-4 while leadoff man Joe Trippy was 4-for-6 with two runs scored.
UW 6, Long Beach St. 2 * NCAA Midwest II Regional * Wichita * May 29, 1994
Two days after their first meeting at the 1994 regional, the Huskies and Dirtbags hooked up in an elimination game, with the winner moving on to face Nomar Garciaparra and Georgia Tech in the title game(s). LBSU took a 2-0 lead in the third on RBI singles from Ryan Miller and Kirk Pierce, but the Huskies took the lead for good with five runs in the fifth. RBI singles from Joe Trippy and Ryan Rutz got the rally started and a two-run homer from designated hitter Sean Linville finished it. Linville, a rare transfer from cross-state rival Washington State, went 3-for-4 in the game. Husky starter Sean Spencer threw seven innings for the win, allowing two runs on five hits while striking out five. Long Beach State starter Michael Hernandez suffered the loss with five and two-thirds innings. The UW went on to beat Georgia Tech in the first title game, 12-9 in 14 innings on a three-run homer by Brian Loucks, but lost in the second game, 18-7.
Huskies in Southern California: In an odd twist, the Huskies' trip to Long Beach State this weekend will mark the UW's sixth trip to Southern California this season. Washington opened the 2003 season by going 2-1 (loss to Pepperdine, wins over UC Santa Barbara and Houston) at the Battle of the Beach tournament at Pepperdine. The following weekend, the Huskies lost two of three in a series at Loyola Marymount. After a weekend at home, the UW travelled to Lancaster, Calif., for three games in the Clash of the Conferences, hosted by Cal State Northridge. The Dawgs lost to the University of San Diego before beating Northridge and San Diego State. In late March, Washington took on UC Irvine in a three-game series at Anteater Ballpark, winning games one and three. Finally, the Huskies' final road trip of the regular season was to UCLA, where Washington lost the first game before taking the next two. In all, the Huskies played (counting tournaments) five three-game series in the Los Angeles area, winning two of three games in four of them and losing two of three in the other (LMU), good for an overall record of 9-6. For what little it's worth, the Huskies batted only .269 over those 15 games, but pitched for a 3.63 earned run average while fielding .979.
Huskies vs. The Conferences: Washington is 10-9 all-time against the 10 current baseball-playing members of the Big Ten Conference (plus 1-1 vs. Wisconsin). The Huskies have played all Big Ten members except Indiana, Iowa and Purdue. The Huskies are (all-time): 1-2 vs. Illinois, 1-1 vs. Michigan, 1-1 vs. Michigan State, 2-3 vs. Minnesota, 3-1 vs. Northwestern, 1-1 vs. Ohio State, and 1-0 vs. Penn State. The UW has played seven of the nine current Big West teams, all but Pacific and Sacramento State, compiling a 25-31 combined record against Big West teams: 4-4 vs. UC Irvine (2-1 this year), 6-8 vs. UC Riverside, 1-2 vs. Cal Poly, 0-2 vs. CS Fullerton, 9-3 vs. CS Northridge (4-0 this year), 2-5 vs. Long Beach State, and 3-7 vs. UC Santa Barbara (1-0 this year). Washington has played more games against West Conference Conference teams than any other conference beside the Pac-10, thanks largely to the facts that, 1) Gonzaga and Portland are the UW's two closest non-league foes, and that, 2) they're both former Pac-10 Northern Division members. UW is 143-93-2 all-time vs. the WCC, including 6-6 this year: 59-50 vs. Gonzaga (1-2 this year), 1-2 vs. Loyola Marymount (1-2 this year), 0-2 vs. Pepperdine (0-1 this year), 70-39-1 vs. Portland (4-0 this year), 1-0 vs. St. Mary's, 2-2 vs. San Diego (0-1 this year), 5-2-1 vs. San Francisco, and 5-6 vs. Santa Clara.
Outstanding In The Field: Washington is having its best year ever in terms of its defense. Through 56 games, the Huskies are fielding a Pac-10-leading .979 (second to Long Beach State in NCAA Division I) and have made only 44 errors. Washington's school record for fielding percentage is .964, set in 1980 and tied in 1994. This year, the Huskies have played error-free in 33 of 56 games while opponents have made at least one error in all but 13 games. Washington infielders have committed only 25 errors all season. By way of comparison, South Carolina led the NCAA with a .975 fielding percentage last season. Also, opponents have been very wary when it comes to trying to steal bases vs. the UW. Over the last 46 games, opponents have stolen only 25 bases while being caught 26 times.
Power Show: Blame it on the new ballpark if you must (Husky Ballpark opened in 1998), but the Huskies have three players with double-figure home runs for the fifth time in the last six years, and for only the fifth time in history. In fact, prior to 1997, the Huskies had never had more than one player with more than 10 home runs in a season on the same team at the same time. This year, Chad Boudon, Mike Wagner and Brent Lillibridge have all hit 10 or more home runs, each for their first time ever. Boudon's 21 homers are a UW school record, two better than Dominic Woody's 1999 record of 19. Wagner's 15 round-trippers rank him in a tie for sixth on the UW single-season chart while Lillibridge's 12 clouts are most ever by a Husky freshman. Boudon and Wagner have more homers than any duo in Husky history. As a team, the Huskies' 93 total home runs lead the Pac-10 easily (over ASU's 77) and are the second-most in UW lore, ranking behind 1998 (110) and just ahead of 1999 (89), 1997 (84) and 2002 (73).
Oh, What a Relief: A big part of the Huskies' success this year has been the strength of its bullpen. Washington's relief corps has made a total of 115 appearances this year, combining for a 13-4 won-lost record, 23 saves and a 3.64 earned run average. Husky relievers have allowed only 196 hits in 215 and one-third innings, walking 99 and striking out 223. Opponents have batted only .245 against UW relievers. Last year, the Huskies were last in the Pac-10 with only nine saves on the year. This season, they lead the conference with 23, five more than second-place Stanford. Washington has four pitchers that rank in the top 10 in the conference in saves: Will Fenton (1st with 10), Brian Carter (6th with 5), Scott Robertson (9th with 3) and Trent Baysinger (also 9th with 3). Fenton has posted nearly impossible numbers in 2003, as he didn't allow a single run in his 30 innings of work, while giving up only 14 hits and fanning 48. Baysinger made 21 relief appearances, posting a 2.14 ERA and a 4-1 record. Carter allowed only 28 hits in 32 relief innings while David Dowling threw 49.2 relief frames, fanning 53 and compiling a 6-2 record.
Random NCAA Notes: In its five modern trips to the NCAA regionals, the Huskies have yet to fail to win at least two games, despite being a No. 6 seed in 1992, No. 5 in 1994, No. 4 in 1997, No. 3 in 1998 and No. 3 again last season ... Washington has made it to the championship game of a regional three times, losing to Nomar Garciaparra-led Georgia Tech (after forcing a second championship game with a 14-inning win) at Wichita State in 1994; to Mississippi State in Starkville (4-3 in front of a then-NCAA postseason record crowd of 10,688) in 1997; and to Rice last season after forcing a second title game with a two-out, three-run homer in the ninth in a 7-6 win ... in their five trips to regionals in the last 12 years, the Huskies have gone 3-2 in opening games, winning three times in games in which they were the lower seed ... the Huskies are the only team from the Pacific Northwest to make it into NCAA postseason play since 1991, when the University of Portland won the old Pac-10 North tournament and made it to a regional ... during that 12-season span (1992-2003), the Huskies have played in six NCAA tournaments while Oregon State, Washington State, Portland State (now a defunct program), Gonzaga and Portland (the other Division I teams in the Northwest) have not been to any ... only four of Washington's players come from outside the state of Washington (and only one member of the NCAA travel squad): LHP Trent Baysinger (Moscow, Idaho), P/OF Grant Gerrard (Castle Rock, Colo.), IF Matt Tucker (Aurora, Colo.) and OF Devin Warner (Fort Collins, Colo.) ... Baysinger, the only non-Washingtonian on the travel roster, grew up about a mile and a half from the Washington border in Moscow ... Tucker and Warner sat out their first season at UW with injuries and Gerrard, a true freshman, had only five at bats ... UW's 11-game winning streak earlier this tied for the longest in school history and was the longest ever against Division-I-only competition ... the Huskies' team ERA of 4.35 is the best the UW has had since a 3.89 mark in 1994.