Feb. 18, 2003
THIS WEEKEND: The Washington baseball team (3-3) opens the home schedule this weekend as Gonzaga (0-4) comes to Husky Ballpark for a three-game series. Friday's opener starts at 2:00 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday, gametime is 1:00 p.m. Last weekend, the Huskies took on another West Coast Conference opponent in a three-game series, losing two of three to Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles. After this weekend in Seattle, it's back to southern California for the third time this young season for a tournament in Lancaster, where the Huskies will face San Diego, Cal State Northridge and San Diego State . UW returns home March 9-11 for three non-conference games vs. Washington State.
Fri., Feb. 21: Gonzaga at UW, 2 p.m. -- RHP Sean White (0-1, 6.75) Sat., Feb. 22: Gonzaga at UW, 1 p.m. -- RHP Clay Johnson (1-1, 4.09) Sun., Feb. 23: Gonzaga at UW, 1 p.m. -- RHP Jeff Petersen (0-0, 9.95)
SERIES HISTORY: Washington has played Gonzaga, a former member of the Pac-10 Northern Division, a total of 106 times and holds a 58-48 series advantage. The Huskies, however, lost three of four to the Bulldogs last season. In the first, GU scored five runs over the last three innings -- including two on a two-out single in the ninth from Jeff Culpepper -- to take an 8-6 win. The following game had a similar result as the Zags scored two in the seventh and three in the eighth to overcome a 5-2 deficit and win, 7-5. Later in the season, GU did it again, as Nate Gold's 31st homer of the year broke a 9-9 tie and the Bulldogs won, 12-10, in the first game of a doubleheader. Washington finally got a win in the season series in the nightcap of that doubleheader, winning 10-3. Husky starter Zack Daniels threw his first complete game for the win and John Otness went 4-for-4 for the Huskies.
COACH "K": In 10 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 four NCAA Regionals. His career overall record stands at 350-238-1 (.595). With those 350 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 168-76-1 (.688) record in home games. He is 152-106 (.589) in conference games. Knutson has coached 37 first-team All-Pac-10 selections in 10 seasons, and has been named league caoch 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. .312-0-0 Freshman All-Amer., All-Regional last season Jefferson Thiel, Jr. .000-0-0 2000 Fr. All-America; elbow surgery prior to '02 1B -- Kyle Larsen, So. .318-3-5 Freshman All-America in '02; HRs in 3 straight 2B -- Greg Isaacson, Jr. .214-0-1 Game-winning RBI in ninth Fri. at LMU Brent Lillibridge, Fr. .300-0-1 Has started two games at 2B and one at 2B SS -- Tila Reynolds, Sr. .261-0-2 13th-round draft pick last June 3B -- John Otness, Jr. .238-0-2 No. 3 hitter all this year Nick Batkoski, So. .000-0-0 Saw action at SS, 2B, 3B and DH in 2002 OF -- Mike Wagner, Jr. .217-2-3 Baseball America Summer All-America OF -- Taylor Johnson, So. .190-0-2 Team was 15-6 with him in right field OF -- Simi Reynolds, Fr. .600-0-1 Brother of UW SS Tila; 3-3 in start Sat. at LMU OF -- Justin Drake, Jr. .500-0-5 6-for-8 opening weekend DH -- Steve Ramsey, So. .000-0-0 Can play 1B, DH or LF; six pinch hits in 2002 Chad Boudon, Jr. .385-0-3 Transfer from Hawaii; RBI single in first UW AB
Last Week: The Huskies travelled to Loyola Marymount last weekend and came home with a 2-1 series loss. Friday, the Huskies scored in each of the last six innings, but didn't lead after the fourth until getting a run in the ninth to win, 10-9. Greg Isaacson hit a two-out single to make reliever David Dowling the winner. Dowling allowed three runs and fanned six over 4.2 relief innings. Kyle Larsen and Mike Wagner homered and Will Fenton threw a 1-2-3 ninth for the save. Saturday, the Huskies trailed 4-0 before getting single runs in the sixth, seventh and ninth (the last on a Wagner homer), but fell, 5-3. Simi Reynolds went 3-for-3 with an RBI double and Brian Carter threw three innings of one-run relief. Clay Johnson gave up four runs over five innings for the loss. Sunday, Washington had baserunners in each of the first eight innings, but couldn't score until the eighth. Meanwhile, LMU scored all the runs it would need -- four -- in the fourth. Starter Jeff Petersen had no-hit the Lions through the first three, but hit a batter then gave up a two-run homer to start the LMU scoring. Washington got four and one-third scoreless relief innings from Trent Baysinger and Justin Drake drove in two of the three runs in the eighth with a two-out single.
Clean Fielding: Washington has gotten off to an outstanding start in terms of its fielding, going the last four games without a miscue. Through six games, the Huskies have made only two errors (one by a catcher, one by an outfielder) and are fielding at an outrageous .991 clip. Generally, the national leader in fielding at the Division I level finishes around .975 to .980. With the only errors being committed by an outfielder and a catcher, Washington's infielders can boast error-free play thusfar. Unfortunately, from the UW perspective, its opponents have been just as sterling in the field. In six games, the Husky opposition has made only two errors and is also fielding .991.
Squad Breakdown: The 40-man Washington roster as the team enters the season is unusually balanced. The Husky roster includes 24 returning players (23 letterwinners) and 16 new players. Of those 16 new players, three are transfers from four-year colleges, two are junior college transfers and the remainder are true freshmen. Thanks to the return of seniors Tila Reynolds and Sean White, both drafted last June, the Huskies have an six fourth-year players (four seniors, two redshirt-juniors) on the team. Returning players have participated in a total of 966 games.
Tough Schedule: Counting those in the "others receiving votes" category, the preseason USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll ranked 57 teams this season. Washington, which picked up five points to rank the equivalent of 46th in that poll, will play a total of 30 games (more than half of its 56-game schedule) against teams that received votes in the preseason ranking. The 30 games come against 12 different teams, including seven Pac-10 opponents (all but Washington State received votes). The UW will play a total of 10 games against four teams ranked in the preseason top 11.
Northwest Flavor: As is usually the case, the Husky baseball roster is made up primarily of players from the state of Washington. In fact, 36 of the 40 players on the preseason roster are from the state of Washington, and another, Trent Baysinger, grew up in the city of Moscow, Idaho, just a few miles from the Washington border. Aside from Washington and Idaho, only one other state is represented on the Husky roster as three players come from the state of Colorado. All three -- freshmen Grant Gerrard and Matt Tucker and sophomore Devin Warner -- are new to the Huskies.
Preseason Accolades: College baseball's preseason publications predicted a solid season for the 2002 Huskies. Baseball America ranked the Dawgs No. 47 in its preseason poll and counted the Huskies among the five Pac-10 teams it predicts will make it into the NCAA tournament. Senior pitcher Sean White was tabbed the Pac-10's best control pitcher and was named the No. 14 senior prospect in America. Shorstop Tila Reynolds was picked as the No. 9 senior in the country while sophomore first baseman Kyle Larsen was selected as the No. 39 sophomore prospect. Neither Collegiate Baseball nor USA Today Sports Weekly ranked the Huskies in the preseason, though the Huskies were among those receiving votes in USA Today's preseason coaches' poll (ranked No. 46, counting past the 25 ranked teams).
POSITION PLAYER NOTES (in alphabetical order):
Nick Batkoski, Soph. IF: Expected to get some time at third base, but also backs up at second base and shortstop and could crack the lineup as a DH ... as a freshman, started five at DH, two at SS, two at second and one at third ... played summer ball for Aloha (Ore.) in the Pacific International League, hitting .323 with a wood bat in league play.
Brian Bauer, RS-Freshman IF: A transfer from San Diego State University, where he redshirted last season ... a two-time 4A All-KingCo first-team selection at Woodinville High, the alma mater of current Huskies Mike Wagner and Brian Carter ... MVP of the Washington State all-star game following his senior season at Woodinville.
Chad Boudon, RS-Junior OF/1B: Transferred to Washington after spending the last three years at the University of Hawaii ... redshirted one season with the Rainbows and then played the last two ... RBI single in first Husky AB ... started two of three vs. LMU, going 3-for-5 with two doubles and two RBI last Friday ... started vs. UCSB as DH and pinch hit vs. Houston ... in 2001, played in 46 games, batting .223 with five homers, 25 RBI and 10 stolen bases ... three-time all-district pick at Shorewood High School, just north of Seattle.
Justin Drake, RS-Junior OF: A fourth-year Husky outfielder ... started two of three at LMU, going 2-for-5 with two RBI Sunday ... started vs. UCSB and Houston opening weekend, going 6-for-8 with three RBI ... hadn't had a hit in nearly two years ... had been injury-plagued the last couple of seasons, playing in only eight games last year and in nine in 2001, when he was granted a medical redshirt season ... as a freshman in 2000, started 20 games, primarily as a center fielder ... one of the Huskies' fastest runners ... has made many past appearances as a pinch runner.
Aaron Hathaway, Soph. C: Started two of three each weekend and came on in the sixth inning in another ... has picked off three baserunners and caught one of four base-stealers on the year ... 2-for-5 last Friday at LMU ... turned in an outstanding freshman campaign, earning first-team Freshman All-America acclaim from Collegiate Baseball ... started 48 games at catcher in 2002, including 31 of the last 33 ... hit safely in 16 of the last 20 and 21 of the last 26 regular season games last year ... in the UW's second-half turnaround last year, hit .302 while allowing only four passed balls and 10 stolen bases over the last 32 games, mostly against Pac-10 competition ... played so well defensively in the NCAA Houston Regional at Rice that he made the all-tournament team despite going 1-for-17 at the plate.
Greg Isaacson, Junior 2B: Returns for his second season as the Huskies' starter at second base ... started two of three opening weekend, going 2-for-6 with a double ... started two of three at LMU as well ... had game-winning RBI single in the ninth Friday at LMU ... a walk-on who played in only four games as a freshman and didn't play at all the first 15 games of last year ... started 44 of the last 46, however ... batted .343 (37-for-108) when hitting No. 9 in the lineup last year ... batted .333 with a wood bat over the summer for Bend (Ore.)
Ben Johnson, Junior C: Has served as the Huskies' No. 2 catcher in each of the last two seasons ... started Sat. at Loyola ... a switch-hitter ... started 19 games as a freshman and 12 last year ... missed most of the fall practice season with a medical condition, but is fully recovered now ... drafed by the Astros in the 29th round of the 2000 draft.
Taylor Johnson, Soph. OF: Closed out the 2002 season as a regular starter in right field, particularly against right-handed pitchers ... one of the Huskies' best arms and best baserunners ... started all six this season in right ... had a hit in each of the three games at Loyola Marymount ... started 21 of the last 33 in right to end last year ... Huskies went 15-6 in those 21 games ...batted .326 with a wood bat in league play last summer for the Bend (Ore.) Elks in the Pacific International League.
Kyle Larsen, Soph. 1B: Homered in three straight games (UCSB, Houston and first at LMU) ... led off the ninth vs. UCSB with a homer to tie the game at 5-5 ... two-run HR in the first inning vs. Houston, a 4-1 win ... 2-for-4 with a double and HR Friday at LMU ... 2-for-4 Sunday vs. the Lions ... named a first-team Freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball after a strong first season at UW ... finished with the second-best average on the team (.342) after having spent much of the year as the Huskies' top hitter ... has yet to make an error in 521 career chances ... when hitting as the No. 3 hitter last year, batted .436 (24-for-55) in 14 games ... Huskies were 10-4 in those games ... closed out 2002 regular season on a 12-game hitting streak, batting .500 (22-for-44) over that stretch ... had a game-winning single in the bottom of the 10th inning in an April 21 win over No. 2 Stanford last year.
Brent Lillibridge, Freshman IF: Had an outstanding fall, and despite the return of fourth-year starting shortstop Tila Reynolds, figures to get some game action as a freshman ... started once at third and once at second opening weekend and Sunday at Loyola ... 1-for-4 in that one ... drove in the game-winning run with a single in the ninth vs. UCSB ... a three-year team captain at Jackson High in Everett ... led Jackson to a 31-5 league record over his last two seasons ... a career .420 hitter in high school.
John Otness, Freshman 3B: Began last year as the starter at third base, then didn't play much through the middle of the season before re-emerging as the starter at DH through the stretch run ... won a battle for the vacant starting third base position in the fall ... has started all six this year, one at DH and five at 3B ... No. 3 hitter in all six... had two hits in the season opener vs. Pepperdine ... Huskies were 13-7 with him at DH in 2002 ... hit in 26 of 32 starts overall last year ... went 6-for-16 in the NCAA regional last year and reached on a two-strike HBP one batter before Jay Garthwaite's two-out, three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth beat Rice, 7-6, to force a second championship game.
Steve Ramsey, Junior OF/1B: After seeing limited action in his first two seasons, has earned a shot as the Huskies' starter DH (at least against righties) this year ... started twice as DH so far ... one of the team's top natural power hitters ... was probably the UW's top pinch hitter last season, connecting for six pinch hits on the year.
Simi Reynolds, Freshman OF: A top candidate to start in center field this year ... younger brother of Husky senior SS Tila as well as Oregon State second baseman Kerisi ... started opening day vs. Pepperdine and Sat. at LMU, when he went 3-for-3 with a double and an RBI ... spent the fall as a walkon cornerback on the football team, but red-shirted the year ... one of the most decorated athletes in recent Washington high school history ... led Skyline to three straight league titles in baseball and three straight top-five finishes in the state ... led summer baseball teams to three top-three national finishes over the last four years ... helped football team to state championship as a junior and a third-place finish as a senior ... earned the 2002 Athletes for a Better World "Spirit of ABW" award after co-founding "Athletes for Kids" ... one of several community service awards he's received.
Tila Reynolds, Senior SS: Returns for his senior year despite being drafted by the Brewers in the 13th round of the 2002 draft ... will spend his fourth straight season as the Husky starter at shortstop ... started all six at SS so far ... error-free in 24 chances this year ... 2-for-5 with 2 RBI last Fri. ... younger brother, Simi, is a freshman CF ... named the No. 9 senior prospect in the U.S. by Baseball America ... named to the NCAA Regional all-tournament team last year ... often the Huskies' No. 2hitter last year, batting .403 (60-for-149) when hitting in that spot last season ... led the tam with .347 average and withi 19 stolen bases last year ... had hitting streaks of 13 and 14 games last season.
Jefferson Thiel, RS-Junior C: Returns to full duty after missing last season due to surgery ... had "Tommy John" surgery just prior to last season ... started vs. UCSB last weekend ... had been the Husky starter at catcher the previous two years, earning USA Today freshman All-America honors in 2000 ... had been hitting .415 (17-for-41) on the year in 2001 before the injury first came up ... started 44 games as a true freshman in 2000.
Mike Wagner, Junior OF: Formerly a third baseman for the Huskies, moved to left field at mid-season last year and will start there this season ... started all six in LF so far ... homered Friday and Saturday at Loyola ... also doubled in five ABs in Friday's win ... named a Baseball America Summer All-American this fall after a great summer with North Adams (Mass.) ... was the league MVP after leading the league in batting, slugging, on-base, hits and runs ... stated 16 games in left for the Huskies last season, mostly in the last month of the season or so ... has yet to be caught stealing in eight career attempts.
PROBABLE STARTING PITCHER NOTES:
FRIDAY -- Sean White, Senior RHP:Suffered the tough-luck loss opening day (Feb. 7) at Pepperdine ... 6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 K in a 1-0 loss to the Waves ... gave up six runs in 3.1 at Loyola last Friday in a no-decision ... the Huskies' No. 2 starter through most of last season ... drafted by Montreal in the 35th round of the 2002 draft ... expected to be a much higher draft pick, but rumors of shoulder injury dropped him ... rated the No. 14 senior prospect in the nation this year by Baseball America ... won his last six decisions last season after starting 1-2 ... in eight Pac-10 starts, went 5-0 with a 4.07 ERA over 55.1 innings ... went seven innings or more in each of his last five starts ... in his final start, at the NCAA Regional vs. Harvard, out-dueled Crimson ace Ben Crockett (a third-round pick) for a4-2 win ... both went the distance and White allowed seven hits and no walks while fanning six ... struck out eight and allowed five hits in 7.1 in a win over UCLA ... beat USC, Oregon State and Arizona down the stretch as well ... went 4-1 with a 2.14 ERA during the summer with Brewster in the Cape Cod League.
SATURDAY-- Clay Johnson, Junior RHP: Outstanding in first start Feb. 9 vs. No. 11 Houston, getting the win ... vs. Houston: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K ... took loss Sat. at LMU, giving up four runs over five innings ... closed out the 2002 season in the best form of his college career ... began the year as a top-three starter, then lost his spot before returning in the last two-thirds of the conference season ... made 12 starts and one relief appearance in 2002 ... named to the NCAA Regional all-tourney team thanks to a great outing vs. Texas Tech ... beat the Red Raiders, allowing five hits and one run over seven and two-thirds ... beat UCLA and UC Irvine with complete-game outings ... didn't walk more than two batters in any one game during the regular season last year ... also a regular starter as a freshman, getting 10 starts in 2001 ... won the National Baseball Congress World Series last summer as a member of the Fairbanks (Alaska) Goldpanners ... 3-2 with a 3.06 ERA for the Goldpanners.
SUNDAY -- Jeff Petersen, Junior RHP: After serving as a spot starter and reliever for the UW the last two years, will begin 2002 as a starter ... started Feb. 8 vs. UCSB, but didn't figure in the decision after going only 2.2 ... no-hit Loyola Marymount through first three IP Sunday, but got knocked out in the fourth, allowing four runs to take the loss ... one of the Huskies' top pro prospects ... a 25th round pick by Baltimore in 2000 after leading Kentwood High to the 4A state title ... six starts and four relief outings last year ... top outing was a five-inning start vs. Portland, when he allowed three hits in a combined shutout ... struck out a career-high seven batters in a four-inning outing May 14 vs. Gonzaga ... started the NCAA Regional championship game at Rice, suffering the loss.
BULLPEN NOTES: Trent Baysinger (Jr. LHP) got the save Feb. 9 vs. No. 11 Houston with 1.1 innings ... struck out two in that one ... 4.1 scoreless relief Sunday at Loyola Marymount ... Brian Carter (Jr. LHP) made 17 and one start in 2002 ... got first career save getting the final two outs with runners at first and third vs. UCSB Feb. 8 ... worked three relief innings Sat. at Loyola, allowing a run on three hits ... allowed an earned run in only four his 18 appearances and gave up a hit in only six of 18 last year ... lone career win came in relief vs. California ... Josh Conover (Soph. RHP) made eight relief appearances and no starts last season ... didn't surrender a hit in first three outings of his career last year ... didn't give up a hit until his fifth appearance ... David Dowling (Soph. LHP) got the win in relief Feb. 8 vs. UCSB, working 5.2 innings ... allowed five hits, one run and one walk while striking out five ... got a similar win Feb. 14 at Loyola Marymount, allowing three runs and fanning six in four and two-thirds in a 10-9 UW win ... made four starts and nine relief appearances in 2002 ... earned wins over Washington State and Portland ... Keaton Everitt (RS-Fr. RHP) missed last season after preseason surgery ... only began pitching as a senior in high school but has shown low-90s velocity ... at Juanita High in 2001, struck out 27 in 15 innings ... Will Fenton (Soph. RHP) threw 2.0 innings vs. Pepperdine Feb. 7, allowing a hit and no runs while striking out two ... 1-2-3 ninth for the save Feb. 14 at Loyola Marymount ... pitched in 19 games as a freshman last year, the second highest total on the team ... emerged as a closer and set-up man ... most memorable outing was at Cal, when he got a save by fanning the last two batters of the game with the bases loaded ... in the Huskies' win at Rice last year in the regionals, threw three and one-third no-hit innings of relief for the win, as the UW got a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth for the victory ... Matt Kasser (Fr. RHP) is the lone true freshman pitcher that has travelled so far ... set a KingCo Conference record with 25 career victories at Issaquah High ... won a state title as a sophomore ... 9-3 as a sophomore, 7-1 as a junior and 8-1 as a senior in high school ... Scott Robertson (Sr. RHP) threw 1.2 IP vs. Houston Feb. 9, allowing one hit and no runs with two strikeouts ... entered the year with 36 career relief appearances and no starts during his career ... had seven saves in 2001, the sixth-highest total in school history ... earned his lone win of 2002 in the season's opening weekend, getting a relief victory vs. Northwestern.