Feb. 11, 2003
This Weekend: The Washington baseball team (2-1) returns to the Los Angeles area for the second straight weekend. Last Friday through Sunday, the Huskies went 2-1 in a tournament at Pepperdine, falling to the hosts (1-0) before beating UC Santa Barbara (6-5) and then-No. 11 Houston (4-1). This time around, Washington takes on Loyola Marymount in a three-game, non-conference series at Page Stadium in Los Angeles. The following weekend, the Dawgs open the home slate when Gonzaga comes to Husky Ballpark for a three-game series. Then it's back to southern California for a tournament in Lancaster, where the Huskies will face San Diego, Cal State Northridge and San Diego State. Here's a look at this week's game, with probable Husky starting pitchers:
Fri., Feb. 14: UW at LMU, 2 p.m. -- RHP Sean White (0-1, 1.50) Sat., Feb. 15: UW at LMU, 1 p.m. -- RHP Clay Johnson (1-0, 1.50) Sun., Feb. 16: UW at LMU, 1 p.m. -- RHP Jeff Petersen (0-0, 10.12)
Series History: Surprisingly enough, Washington has never played against Loyola Marymount despite their relative proximity. In fact, LMU is the only team in the eight-member West Coast Conference against which the UW has never played. Washington will face five of those eight teams (including Loyola) this season -- Pepperdine, LMU, Gonzaga, San Diego and Portland. Portland and Gonzaga were formerly baseball-only members of the Pac-10. The Huskies are 137-98-2 all-time against the current members of the WCC. Of those 237 total games, 212 have come against Portland and Gonzaga, which are, after all, geographically the Huskies' two closest non-conference opponents.
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 349-236-1 (.596). With those 349 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. .286-0-0 Fr. All-America and NCAA All-Regional in '02 Jefferson Thiel, Jr. .000-0-0 2000 Fr. All-America; elbow surgery in 2002 1B -- Kyle Larsen, So. .273-2-3 Fr. All-America last year; 2 HRs last weekend 2B -- Greg Isaacson, Jr. .333-0-0 Started 44 of last 46 at 2B last year Brent Lillibridge, Fr. .333-0-1 Started once at 2B and once at 3B last weekend SS -- Tila Reynolds, Sr. .182-0-0 13th-round draft pick; 4th-year starter at SS 3B -- John Otness, Jr. .300-0-1 Batted No. 3 in all three at Pepperdine Nick Batkoski, So. .000-0-0 Saw action at SS, 2B, 3B and DH in 2002 OF -- Mike Wagner, Jr. .091-0-0 Baseball America Summer All-America OF -- Taylor Johnson, So. .091-0-1 Finished 2002 as starter in right OF -- Simi Reynolds, Fr. .000-0-0 Younger brother of UW SS Tila and OSU 2B Kerisi OF -- Justin Drake, Jr. .750-0-3 6-for-8 last weekend at Pepperdine tourney OF -- Brandon Jacobson, Sr. .000-0-0 Started 19 games in left and center last year DH -- Steve Ramsey, So. .000-0-0 Can play 1B, DH or LF; six pinch hits in 2002 Chad Boudon, Jr. .400-0-1 Transfer from Hawaii; RBI single in first UW AB
Last Week: Washington got its season off to a start by posting a 2-1 record at the Battle of the Beach tournament at Pepperdine. In the opener, the Huskies fell to the host Waves, 1-0. UW starter Sean White allowed only three hits and one run -- on a solo homer -- to suffer the loss. Washington got only five hits in the game, two from third baseman John Otness. Saturday, Washington came back to beat UC Santa Barbara, 6-5, with a pair of runs in the top of the ninth. Cleanup man Kyle Larsen led off with a home run and, later in the inning with one out and a runner at third, freshman Brent Lillibridge singled up the middle. UCSB, with a 2-2 count on Lillibridge, signalled for an intentional walk, but the catcher slipped back into his crouch, the pitch was delivered down the middle and Lillibridge connected for the go-ahead RBI. Reliever David Dowling worked five and two-thirds innings, allowing one run, for the win and Brian Carter got the final two outs with runners at first and third for the save. Sunday, Washington got a two-run homer in the first from Larsen and hung on to beat No. 11 Houston, 4-1. Clay Johnson worked six innings, allowing one run on four hits and six Ks, for the win. Justin Drake had his second-straight three-hit day and JC tranfer Trent Baysinger picked up the save.
So Far, So Good: The stats show that the Huskies put together three very clean games last weekend in the season openers. Washington pitched for a 2.08 ERA, committed only two errors on the weekend and allowed only one unearned run. Washington fielded .983, threw out 2-of-5 would-be basestealers and picked off three others. By the same token, the argument could be made that the Huskies were fortunate to win two games as the Huskies' three opponents combined for a 3.46 earned run average and didn't commit a single error in three games. However, the UW's three foes combined to bat for a meager .220 average and seven of the eight Husky pitchers that saw time on the mound allowed either zero or one run.
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 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 vs. UCSB and Houston last 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 due to a shoulder injury ... 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 last weekend and came on in the sixth inning in the other ... picked off three baserunners and caught one of two base-stealers on the weekend ... 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 last weekend, going 2-for-6 with a double ... 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.)
Brandon Jacobson, Senior OF: A third-year Husky who played one season at Bellevue CC ... started 29 games as a sophomore in 2001 and 19 games last year, primarily in center ... also among the first choices of pinch runners ... started out last season hitting safely in eight of his first nine games, going 12-for-38 (.316) over that stretch.
Ben Johnson, Junior C: Has served as the Huskies' No. 2 catcher in each of the last two seasons ... 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 three last weekend in right ... 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 twice in three games last weekend ... 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 ... 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 489 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 last weekend ... 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 ... started all three last weekend, including as the DH vs. Houston ... 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 vs. Pepperdine ... 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 ... 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 three last weekend in Malibu ... younger brother, Simi, is one of the top candidates to start in 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 ... a preseason candidate for the Johnny Bench Award last season before the injury ... 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 three last weekend in Malibu ... 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 ... 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 ... opened the 2002 season with a bang, throwing five one-hit innings vs. Northwestern in a season-opening tournament ... combined for a two-hit shutout and didn't allow a hit over the first 4.1 IP of that one ... 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 ... 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 ... 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) enters his first season at the UW after two years at Walla Walla (Wash.) CC ... got the save Feb. 9 vs. No. 11 Houston with 1.1 innings ... struck out two in that one ... 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 ... high school teammate of fellow Huskies Mike Wagner and Brian Bauer ... 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 ... made four starts and nine relief appearances in 2002 ... struck out six batters over four relief innings in first career appearance last year vs. Portland ... earned wins over Washington State and Portland (in another outing) ... longest time on the mound was a six-inning start at Missouri ... 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 ... 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) was the lone freshman pitcher that traveled in the opening weekend ... 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.