Feb. 13, 2007
THIS WEEKEND: The Washington baseball team (36-25 overall, 11-13 in the Pac-10 last season) opens the 2007 season this weekend when the Dawgs travel to San Luis Obispo, Calif., for a three-game series at Cal Poly (5-6). The Mustangs lost five in a row to open the season, but have surged recently, winning five of their last six. Friday's opener at Baggett Stadium gets underway at 6:00 p.m. Saturday's game is set for 1:00 p.m. and Sunday's finale begins at 11:00 a.m. Fans can listen to a free audio broadcast on "The Dawg Channel" at gohuskies.com, starting about 10 minutes before each game. The Huskies are slated to start junior LHP Nick Hagadone Friday, sophomore RHP Jorden Merry Saturday and sophomore LHP Nick Haughian Sunday. Merry, a junior college transfer, and Haughian will both be making their first starts in a UW uniform. After the series at Cal Poly, the Huskies fly to the east coast next weekend for the East Carolina Invitational, where they'll face Duke, East Carolina and St. John's. Then, the UW opens a 12-game homestand with a single game vs. Portland Feb. 27 at Husky Ballpark. Here's a look at this weekend's action:
Fri., Feb. 16: UW at Cal Poly, 6:00 p.m. PST - live audio at gohuskies.com
Sat., Feb. 17: UW at Cal Poly, 1:00 p.m. PST - live audio at gohuskies.com
Sun., Feb. 18: UW at Cal Poly, 11:00 a.m. PST - live audio at gohuskies.com
SERIES HISTORY: Cal Poly and Washington have played one another 10 times - a single game in 1969 (a 2-0 Poly win) and in three-game series in 1995, 2005 and 2006. In 1995, the Mustangs took two of three from the Dawgs in a season-opening series (for the UW) in San Luis Obispo. Poly won the first two (9-8 and 9-6) before the UW took game three, 11-9. Two seasons ago, again in San Luis Obispo, Washington won two of three, taking games one (7-4) and three (9-8) while the home team won the middle game, 6-0. Last season at Husky Ballpark, the Mustangs won the first two (5-4, 18-3) before UW took the finale, 9-8.
COACH "K": In 2004, Husky baseball coach Ken Knutson became the winningest baseball coach in the history of the program. That accomplishment is just one item on Knutson's impressive resume. In his 14-plus seasons at the helm of his alma mater's baseball team, Knutson has led the Dawgs to two Pac-10 championships, four Pac-10 Northern Division titles and six NCAA Regionals. He enters the 2007 season needing just three more wins to reach 500 as career record now stands at 497-320-2 (.608). Before becoming the head man in 1993, Knutson served as the UW pitching coach for eight seasons. In 1985, his staff led the NCAA with a 2.80 ERA. Knutson holds a 246-109-2 (.692) record in home games. He is 205-149 (.579) in Pac-10 games. He's coached 46 first-team All-Pac-10 selections in 13 seasons, and has been named league coach of the year three times. A 1981 All-Pac-10 pitcher at the UW, he is joined by assistants Joe Ross, Donny Harrel, Tighe Dickinson and undergrad assistant Jeff James.
PROBABLE STARTERS: Here's a look at the probable starters at each position, with 2006 stats and notes:
Pos. Player, Year 2006 Avg.-HR-RBI Notes C - Joey Dunn, Jr. .231-0-5 Started 39 games at catcher over last 2 seasons 1B - Curt Rindal, Sr. .350-10-48 5th-year senior was All-Pac-10 first-teamer in `06 2B - Bradley Boyer, So. .253-2-12 Started 37 games in 2006; also plays SS, 3B, and OF Brian Pearl, Fr. 1st season Freshman could also see action as a relief pitcher 3B - Matt Hague, Jr. .381-6-45 Moves to 3B from RF; .394 career BA is school record SS - Danny Cox, So. .258-2-9 Regular shortstop as freshman, started 52 of 61 games OF - Michael Burgher, So. .176-0-5 Started 7 games in `05 and 12 last year, all in CF OF - Kyle Conley, So. .268-4-16 Started 20 games last year; .476 slug. in 20 games OF - Andy Lentz, So. .268-6-14 Versatile player has played everywhere but SS, C and P OF - Jake Rife, Fr. .240-1-11 Leadoff hitter could play in LF or at DH OF - Matt Stevens, Jr. .239-17-48 Starter at 3B in `06, now in RF; 17 HRs 2nd in Pac-10 DH - Ty Rasmussen, RS-Fr. 1st season Enumclaw HS grad is transfer from Louisiana-Lafayette Trevor Petersen, So. .289-1-7 Slugging sophomore is also top backup at 1B Joey Lind, Fr. 1st season Won 4A state title with 27-0 Jackson High last year
KNUTSON CLOSING IN ON #500: Husky head coach Ken Knutson is already the winningest baseball coach in UW history (in fact, he's one more games than any coach of any sport ever at Washington), but he has another milestone on the horizon. Knutson, who enters the season with a career record of 497-320-2, is only three wins shy of his 500th career victory. Entering this season, only 16 Pac-10 coaches have ever reached 500 career victories, a group than includes legends like USC's Rod Dedeaux, Arizona's Jerry Kindall and Jim Brock and Bobby Winkles of Arizona State. Knutson took over at his alma mater prior to the 1993 season and is in his 15the year in charge. Only Stanford's Mark Marquess has more seniority or more wins among current Pac-10 coaches.
HUSKIES AT SAFECO FIELD: Washington's home game against Oregon State on Friday, May 4, will be played at Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners. The Huskies and Beavers will square off in the first game of a three-game Pac-10 series at 7:30 p.m. that night, and the game will air live on FSN television. Tickets are only $5 for adults and $3 for children and seniors and all UW home game ticket policies will apply (i.e., family plan, group tickets are available and UW students and Olympic Sports Pass holders will be admitted free). Washington last played on a big-league field in 1997, when the Huskies playing a tournament at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. The Huskies also used to host a tournament in the Kingdome, the Mariners' former home, and played an exhibition vs. the Mariners in the Kingdome in 1986.
SQUAD BREAKDOWN: Washington's 37-man roster is relatively young this year. The team includes just one senior, 12 juniors, 13 sophomores and 11 freshmen, meaning 24 of 37 are freshmen or sophomores. Twenty players are returners while 17 are new (10 of those 17 are true freshmen). The UW's returning players have competed in a total of 862 Husky baseball games, and have combined for 1,781 career at bats and 368 and two-thirds career innings pitched in a UW uniform.
TOUGH SCHEDULE: Counting those in the "others receiving votes" category, the preseason Sports Weekly/ESPN coaches' poll ranked 55 teams this season. Washington will play at least 24 games against teams that received votes in the preseason ranking. Those 24 games come against eight different teams, including six conference opponents. The Huskies will play a total of 12 games against four teams ranked in the top 25 in the preseason poll - three each against No. 14 Arizona State, No. 15 Oregon State, No. 21 UCLA and No. 25 Stanford. Well-respected baseball web site boydsworld.com ranks the Huskies' schedule as the 22nd-toughest in the nation (among 291 Division I programs), which is in the middle of the Pac-10 Conference (fifth, to be precise). All nine Pac-10 teams' schedules rank in the top 30, according to boydsworld.com.
NORTHWEST FLAVOR: As is usually the case, the Husky baseball roster is made up primarily of players from the state of Washington. This year, 34 of the 37 players on the current roster are from the state of Washington. The only non-Washingtonians on the team is are sophomore pitchers Bryce Mooney (Lake Oswego, Ore.), Geoff Nichols (Portland, Ore.) and freshman infielder Travis Nishioka (Honolulu, Hawaii). For those unfamiliar with Northwest geography, both Lake Oswego and Portland are within a few miles of the border with Washington. Of the 34 in-state players, 31 are from the western part of the state (west of the Cascades) and 17 are from King County, where the UW is located.
POSITION PLAYER NOTES (in alphabetical order):
#10 Bryce Anderson, Fr. C: True freshman is a backup catcher, having made the conversion from high school infielder ... captain at Redmond HS last season ... hit 12 homers and batted .327 in summer ball.
#2 Bradley Boyer, So. IF/OF: Slated to start at second base, but has also worked out in the outfield this spring ... started 37 games last year at 2B, SS and 3B ... first career hit was a solo homer at CS Northridge last season ... batted .253 with two homers and 12 RBI as a freshman in 2006.
#4 Michael Burgher, Jr. OF: Played in 26 games last season, starting 12, all in center field ... also started seven games as a freshman in 2005 ... UW went 8-4 in his starts last season ... went 2-for-4 on opening day in 2006.
#3 Doug Cherry, Fr. IF: Backup at all the infield spots, but primarily second base ... captained Inglemoore HS last year ... named to his summer team's (Taylor Baseball) all-time team at shortstop.
# 24 Jacob Clem, Fr. OF: Freshman could see action in outfield, first base or at DH ... younger brother of Zach Clem, who played at the UW the last four seasons ... father, Jim, recently retired after long career as coach at Burlington-Edison ... first-team all-state as a senior at B-E ... outstanding hitter and pitcher in high school.
#29 Kyle Conley, So. OF: Started 20 games last year as DH or RF ... 2-for-6 with HR vs. Cal Poly in 2006 ... hit .268 with four HRs and 16 RBI in 82 at bats ... hit two HR in win over Gonzaga last year ... along with fellow UW freshman Tyler Cheney, led Richland High to the 4A state title last year ... all-state first-teamer as a senior outfielder and pitcher.
#28 Danny Cox, So. SS: As a true freshman, started 52 of the Huskies' 61 games at shortstop last year ... last year vs. Cal Poly, went 2-for-5 with 3 walks, HBP vs. Cal Poly ... batted .258 in 159 at bats ... committed only four errors in 102 chances in Pac-10 play last year, good for a .961 fielding mark ... drafted by Minnesota in the 34th round of the 2005 draft.
#18 Joey Dunn, Jr. C: Enters the season as the Huskies' No. 1 catcher ... started 29 games behind the plate as a freshman in 2005 and 10 more last season ... UW went 9-1 with Dunn as starter behind the plate last season ... started 19 of UW's 24 Pac-10 games as a freshman.
#1 Matt Hague, Jr. 3B/OF: Moves to starter at 3B this season after having started mostly in the OF the last two seasons ... 6-for-12 last year vs. Cal Poly ... enters junior season with .394 batting average in 350 career at bats, good for the top career BA in school history ... first-team All-Pac-10 last year ... started one game at 3B last season ... pitched in each of the last two seasons, but unlikely to do so this year ... preseason All-Pac-10 from Baseball America and preseason third-team All-America from Collegiate Baseball ... freshman All-America in 2005 after batting .419.
#7 Brett Kaluza, So. OF: Played in 34 games, starting 24, as a freshman last season ... figures into a crowded group of possible starter in CF ... stated 10 of 24 Pac-10 game last year ... named Seattle Times' Eastside Athlete of the Year as a senior at Skyline High ... runner-up in state in football and baseball as a senior.
#8 Max Kwan, So. C: Seattle native spent last year playing at Tulane ... started 33 games for the Green Wave, helping them to NCAA Regional ... all-state as a junior and senior at Seattle Prep ... drafted by Mariners in 36th round of 2006 draft.
#5 Andy Lentz, Jr. OF/IF: One of several possible starters in CF ... fought through injuries last year and played in 27 games, starting 15 ... has seen action at every position except SS, C and P ... missed 7 weeks of last season with groin injury ... hit .268 with seven homers in 127 at bats last year ... two older brothers (Ryan, Richie) played at UW.
#23 Joey Lind, Fr. 1B: Along with UW teammate Cam Nobles, led Jackson HS to 27-0 record, 4A state title and No. 2 final national ranking last season ... hit .455 with a school-record 46 RBI in 27 games last season ... first-team all-state ... backs up at 1B and could also see action as DH.
#32 Travis Nishioka, Fr. IF: Versatile freshman is primarily and infielder, but has also gotten practice reps in the outfield ... first-team all-ILH as a senior at Iolani School in Honolulu ... also all-state football player.
#9 Brian Pearl, Fr. IF: Should see action as an infielder at either 2B or SS, and is also likely to get a chance to pitch out of the bullpen ... captained Cascade HS last season, batting .390.
#33 Trevor Petersen, So. 1B: Enters year as the backup first baseman and possible DH starter ... played in 23 games last year, starting 8 (1 at 1B, 7 at DH) ... hit .289 in 45 at bats ... three-time team captain at Seattle Christian High ... state 1A co-MVP as a senior in 2005, when he batted .609 with 11 homers and 33 RBI in 17 games.
#25 Ty Rasmussen, RS-Fr. OF: A graduate of Enumclaw HS, where he was a classmate of Bradley Boyer ... spent last season redshirting at Louisiana-Lafeyette ... two-time all-league at Enumclaw ... batted .475 and slugged 1.100 as a senior ... likely to see starting duty at DH.
#6 Jake Rife, So. OF: Possible starter at DH or in the outfield, mostly left field ... saw action in 42 games as a freshman last year, starting 30 ... WCCBL all-star during the summer ... batted over .450 in each of his last three seasons at Lakewood High ... 2A state MVP as a senior.
#21 Curt Rindal, Sr. 1B: Team's lone senior returns for his fifth season at the UW ... redshirted his second season (2004) due to an elbow injury in left (non-throwing) arm ... earned first-team All-Pac-10 last year after batting .350 with 10 homers, 21 doubles and 48 RBI ... four in the Pac-10 in doubles, seventh in homers ... only player to play in all 61 games last year ... enters season with a .328 career batting average.
#43 Aaron Russell, Fr. IF: Enters the season as a backup at third base ... frist-team all-league shortstop at Interlake HS last season ... led league in RBI and was third in homers as a senior.
#41 Ryan Scott, Jr. C: Reserve catcher transferred to UW from Tacoma CC ... helped team to third-place finish in NWAACC tourney ... younger brother, Troy, will join UW next season.
#13 Matt Stevens, Jr. OF: Moves from third base, where he started 56 games last year, to right field, where he's expected to start ... belted 17 home runs last season, second in the Pac-10 (behind teammate Zach Clem's 20) and fourth in UW single-season history ... hit for the cycle at CS Northridge on Feb. 18, 2006, finishing the game 5-for-6 with two homers ... six homers in league play were most in the Pac-10 ... first-team Academic All-Pac-10 last year ... saw freshman season (2005) cut short by broken bone in hand.
PROBABLE STARTING PITCHER NOTES:
Fri. - Nick Hagadone, Junior LHP: Takes over as Huskies' No. 1 starter to begin the season ... after working in only two games as a freshman in 2005, threw in 28 games last season, starting five ... 28 appearances were fifth-most in UW history ... worked the final three innings of a no-hitter (combining with Tim Lincecum) March 12, 2006, vs. Santa Clara, retiring all nine batters he faced ... named a national player of the week after the no-hitter ... first career start came March 24, 2006, at California ... had a solid summer season for the Southern California Fire, who finished third at the National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita ... went 2-0 with a 1.97 ERA, striking out 34 and walking only two over the summer.
Sat. - Jorden Merry, Sophomore RHP: A 2005 graduate of Pasco High, played at Lower Columbia College in Kelso, Wash., last season ... all-league at Lower Columbia after leading the league with a stellar 0.51 earned run average ... went 7-0 with three saves, allowing only 26 hits, three earned runs and seven walks while striking out 66 in 53 innings at LCC ... earned All-Big 9 and second-team all-state at Pasco.
Sun. - Nick Haughian, Sophomore LHP: Appeared strictly in relief as a freshman last season, pitching in a total of 21 games ... got off to a quick start last season, earning the save in the season's second game at New Mexico State, his first appearance ... also earned a save at Cal State Northridge and wins over Santa Clara and Saint Martin's ... pitched in five Pac-10 games, allowing only one hit and no earned runs over 3.2 innings ... make the West Coast Collegiate Baseball League all-star team and led the league with 10 saves last summer, pitching for the WCCBL champion Wenatchee (Wash.) AppleSox ... 10-0 with a 0.68 ERA as a senior at Marysville-Pilchuck HS ... struck out 114 in 61.2 innings as a senior at one of the state's two largest high schools.
BULLPEN NOTES: Harrison Bishop (Jr. RHP) is a fourth-year junior who played at Bellevue CC and Edmonds CC, both near the UW campus ... missed 2005 season due to "Tommy John" surgery ... drated by the Orioles in the 40th round of the 2004 draft ... struck out 58 in 52.2 innings last year at Belleve ... Tyler Cheney (So. LHP) started 12 games and appeared in relief 3 times during the 2006 season ... was outstanding in first career start (Feb. 12, 2006 at New Mexico State), allowing 3 hits and 1 run over 5.0 innings ... worked 7.2 shutout innings for first career win last year at CS Northridge ... all 3 bullpen outings were solid, long-relief efforts, vs. USC, Stanford and WSU ... over 3 relief appearances, allowed 15 hits and 6 earned runs over 17.2 innings, walking only 2 ... walked only 4 batters over last 31.1 innings last season ... Elliott Cribby (Jr. RHP) earned All-Pac-10 honorable mention last year in his first season at UW ... one of 35 pitchers (and the only one from the Pac-10) on the preseason watch list for the NCBWA Stopper of the Year award ... 10 saves in 2006 were second in the Pac-10 and 4th-most in UW history ... appeared in relief in 24 games and started 5 ... 29 appearances were third-most (tied) in school history ... had a solid summer in the Cape Cod League, going 3-2 with a 1.61 ERA for the Chatham As ... Johnny DuRocher (Jr. RHP) is playing baseball for the first time since his sophomore year of high school ... a quarterback on the UW football team the last three years ... had successful surgery to remove a brain tumor last Nov. ... the state's Gatorade player of the year for football in 2002, originally began his football career at Oregon before transferring after one season ... appeared in 7 games as a UW quarterback ... Jason Erickson (So. RHP) appeared in six games last season ... picked up a win in second career outing at CS Northridge ... Seamount League MVP as a HS senior ... two-time all-league pitcher and also an all-league SS ... drafted by the Reds in the 45th round in 2005 ... Ben Guidos (Fr. LHP) will sit out the season after surgery on left elbow ... three-time all-league pitcher and 3A state player of the year in 2006 at Highline HS ... Brandon McKerney (Jr. RHP) will miss first part of season due to injury ... could return as a starter or reliever ... pitched in 14 games for UW last season and had good summer at Newport, R.I., posting a 0.31 ERA and .106 opponent batting average ... led the Huskies with 25 appearances as a freshman in 2005 ... earned All-Pac-10 honorable mention in 2005 ... Brent Miller (Fr. RHP) missed much of fall and winter workouts due to injury, but returned to action just before the start of the season an could return to action soon ... served as closer at Woodinville HS, helping team to state quarterfinals ... Bryce Mooney (So. RHP) pitched in 27 games as a freshman in 2006, starting 1 and appearing in relief 25 times ... earned four victories out of the bullpen ... had a string of 10 straight innings of no-hit relief from March 10-28 last year, a span that covered parts of 5 games ... Geoff Nichols (So. RHP) appeared in relief 3 times and started once last season as a freshman ... got the start at Hawaii Pacific, earning a win with a 5.0-inning outing ... went 2-2 with a 3.00 ERA over 51 innings for the Aloha (Ore.) Knights last summer ... Cam Nobles (Fr. RHP) led Jackson High to a 27-0 record, a state 4A title and the No. 2 national ranking (Baseball America) last year ... drafted by the Mariners in the 19th round of the 2006 draft ... Brian Pearl (Fr. RHP) is expected to see action as a second baseman or shortstop, but will also help out in the bullpen ... didn't work out with the UW as a pitcher until midway through the spring practice season.