Husky Baseball Homestand Continues
THIS WEEK: The Husky baseball team (3-6 overall) continues its stretch of six straight home games this weekend when it takes on Oregon State (5-6) in a brief, two-game series at Husky Ballpark. These two games will not count in the Pac-10 Conference standings. Later this season (April 28-30), the Huskies will take on OSU in the official three-game conference series in Corvallis. This weekend, both Saturday and Sunday's games will begin at 1:00 p.m. Neither game will air on radio. Next Tuesday, March 7, the Huskies take on Portland in a single game at Pilots Stadium before taking a weekend off for finals. The action gets underway again March 17-19 when Dayton comes to Husky Ballpark for a three-game series. Here's a look at the Huskies' upcoming games:
Sat., March 4: UW vs. Oregon State, Husky Ballpark, 1:00 p.m. -- RHP Jeff Carlsen
SERIES HISTORY: Except for Washington State, the Huskies have played Oregon State more times than any other opponent. In the all-time series, the Beavers hold a 200-162-1 record. Last season, the Huskies swept a pair of non-conference games in Corvallis (14-5 and 17-16) before winning two of three in a Pac-10 series in Seattle (10-7, 3-6, 12-4). In the 17-16 win at Corvallis last year, eight different Huskies had mulitple hits and RF Daniel Jahn had his best career day at the plate, going 5-for-6 with four RBI, a homer and a double. The Huskies led the game 17-3 before giving up three in the seventh, seven in the eighth and three in the ninth. In two relief outings against OSU, LHP Taylor Grant struck out seven in 3.1 shutout innings. On the offensive side, CF Marc Rittenhouse has a career .407 average against the Beavers, and has hit two of his six career homers in the series. UW coach Ken Knutson is 28-20 all-time against Oregon State.
COACH "K": In seven 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 three NCAA Regionals. His career overall record stands at 262-161 (.619). With those 261 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 123-42 (.745) record in home games. He is 123-63 (.661) in conference games, the highest mark (percentage-wise) of any active Pac-10 coach. A 1981 All-Pac-10 left-handed pitcher at the UW, he is joined by assistant coaches Joe Ross, Ed Gustafson, and Joe Weis.
PLAYER NOTES: Here's a look at the possible starters at each position, with current stats and notes:
Pos. Player, Year Avg.-HR-RBI Notes C -- Jefferson Thiel, Fr. .143-0-2 Sprained right thumb last Fri., could return this week Tim Rice, So. .182-0-1 First hit was RBI single during Sat. rally vs. Zags 1B -- Ed Erickson, Sr. .300-1-8 Batted .412 (7-for-17) with 7 RBI last weekend Duggan Moran, Jr. .100-0-2 Game-winning, two-RBI hit in 6th inning to beat UNI 2B -- Josh Fulton, So. .077-0-0 Played one year at Brigham Young Brent Robertson, So. .250-0-0 Started 22 games at 2B last year SS -- Tila Reynolds, Fr. .160-0-0 Had "Tommy John" surgery last spring 3B -- Michael Done, So. .242-1-5 Two triples vs. Creighton on opening day OF -- Marc Rittenhouse, Jr. .241-1-3 Leadoff hitter leads team in runs (12) and walks (9) OF -- Todd Linden, So. .452-3-13 Pac-10 Player of the Week on Feb. 21 OF -- Matt Hollod, So. .167-0-2 Started five of nine games in right field OF -- Ben Miller, So. .000-0-0 Started at LF in UW win over Northern Iowa OF -- Daniel Jahn, Jr. .375-0-2 Went 5-for-6 in game vs. OSU in '99 DH -- Jay Garthwaite, Fr. .261-0-2 Hit .357 with two doubles last weekend
LAST WEEK: The Huskies opened the home schedule by splitting a four-game series with Gonzaga. Friday, the Huskies struck out 19 times and were out-hit 11-4, but still managed to win, 5-3. Jeff Carlsen worked seven good innings for the win and Taylor Grant nailed down the save with 1.2 no-hit innings. In game one of Saturday's doubleheader, the Dawgs fell behind early and lost, 7-3 as GU starter Barry Matthews fanned 14 in eight innings. Washington rallied to win the nightcap, 10-8. Down 8-4 going into the sixth, the Dawgs posted six runs in the inning, scoring one each on a bases-loaded balk and a bases-loaded wild pitch. Both Tim Rice and Justin Drake recorded their first career hits in the rally. A Michael Done groundout drove in the tying run and Todd Linden's sacrifice fly brought home the go-ahead score. Sean White and Grant held the Bulldogs scoreless over the last three and starter Matt Massingale earned the win. Ed Erickson collected two hits, both doubles. The Zags salvaged the split with a 10-5 win on Sunday. Erickson homered, but Matthews hit two for the Bulldogs and GU righty Sean Lichter worked 6.2 innings of scoreless relief to pick up the victory.
DOMINATING THE NORTHWEST: During the decade of the 1990s, the UW baseball program grew to be the unquestioned dominant team in the Pacific Northwest. During the decade, the Huskies won five Pac-10 North titles, two overall Pac-10 championships and went to four regionals. No Northwest team besides UW has gone to an NCAA Regional since 1991. In the 1990s, Washington posted a 355-218 (.620) overall record and 167-85 (.663) in Pac-10 play. Under coach Ken Knutson (1993-), Washington posted a 163-67 (.709) record against all teams from the Northwest (Washington, Oregon and Idaho) and went 128-62 (.674) against Division I teams from the Northwest. Knutson has a winning record against every Northwest foe (12) he has ever faced.
MORE IN THE 90'S: Among the nine current Pac-10 teams, Washington posted the fourth-best record during the 1990s with a 355-218 (.620) overall record. Stanford (.673), USC (.657) and Arizona State (.651) were the three league schools with better marks. The Huskies' .635 conference winning percentage during the decade was third-best behind the Cardinal (.650) and Trojans (.639). With four NCAA regional appearances in the 90's, the Huskies were behind USC (6), Stanford (5) and UCLA (5).
YOUTH FACTOR: In 1996, the Huskies started an average of more than six freshmen in each game. That Husky team, led by a recruiting class ranked No. 8 in the nation, went on to win three Pac-10 Northern Division titles and two Pac-10 championships. Not since then has the Husky roster been so young. The 36-player roster includes 19 newcomers and only one senior, Ed Erickson. The roster includes only six players 21 years old or older and 28 freshmen and sophomores. The Huskies should have new starters at catcher, shortstop, third base, right field and left field every day and may have newcomers at second base and DH on a given day. None of the five catchers on the roster (four freshmen, one RS-sophomore transfer) has ever played in a college baseball game. In the season's opening weekend at the Rawlings Spring Training Tournament, 16 different players (nine hitters, six pitchers, one pitcher/hitter) made their UW debut, a group that included 12 freshmen.
PRESEASON PREDICTIONS: The various preseason magazines and polls haven't had much to say about the Huskies -- not surprising when one considers the lack of returning starters and high number of new players. Both preseason magazines (Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball), as well as the Pac-10 coaches' poll picked the Huskies to finish seventh in the nine-team Pac-10. Baseball America, which ranks a top 100 in the preseason, tabbed the Huskies No. 52, but did not predict that they'd make the postseason. While no Husky players were named preseason All-Pac-10, several were noted in Baseball America's various draft preview lists. Junior RHP Jeff Carlsen was picked as the No. 52 college prospect while junior RHP Matt Massingale was No. 70 on that list. Also, freshman 1B/OF Jay Garthwaite was selected as the No. 17 prospect among college freshmen.
PAC-10 IS NO. 1 AGAIN: Baseball America once again ranked the Pacific-10 as the toughtest conference in the nation in this spring's preseason issue. Five of the league's nine schools (Oregon has no baseball team) rank in the top 25 and all nine made the top 86. Five of the 14 spots on BA's preseason All-America team were held by Pac-10 players and eight of the 14 second-teamers were conference members. Five of the top 11 college prospects in the nation (in terms of the 2000 draft) are Pac-10 players, including the first, second and sixth picks, according to Baseball America.
FRIENDLY CONFINES: Washington was very tough at home in the 1990s, posting a mark of 160-52 (.755) over the last 10 seasons. Under coach Ken Knutson, the Huskies have posted a remarkable 123-41 record in home games, good for a .745 mark. In 1998, the Huskies moved into Husky Ballpark and have notched a 44-20 (.688) record so far. In two seasons, the Huskies have averaged 30 home games a year after usually having played 15 to 20 each season at old Graves Field. This season, the Dawgs are scheduled to play 30 home games.
THE POWER HOUSE: History will eventually be the judge of whether the new Husky Ballpark favors the hitters or the pitchers. So far, however, it definitely has been advantageous to the offense. Through 64 games at Husky Ballpark, the Huskies have belted 110 home runs, an average of 1.7 per game, while visitors have hit 76 home runs, or 1.2 per game. In 64 games, a total of 911 runs have been scored (both teams combined), an average of 14.2 per game.
MORE COACH K FACTS: In only seven years as the head coach of the Washington baseball team, Ken Knutson has posted a list of accomplishments that already far outdistances any of his predecessors'. Aside from his outstanding won-lost record (see first page), Knutson has led the Dawgs to four Pac-10 North titles and two overall Pac-10 crowns. His teams have never finished below .500 in conference play and he earned the Pac-10 North Coach of the Year award three times. In seven seasons, he has coached 35 first-team all-league players, 11 different All-Americans and seven different USA National Teamers. Prior to his arrival, no Husky had ever tried out for the national team. Knutson has also seen 33 players move on to the professional ranks. Of those 33, all but one improved his draft standing compared to where he went prior to coming to the UW.
ONE-MAN SHOW: Sophomore first baseman Todd Linden was downright dominant in the opening weekend's Rawlings Spring Training Tournment. The switch hitter from Bremerton, Wash., finished the five-game weekend with a .750 batting average (12-for-16) and reached base safely in 16 of his 20 plate appearances (four walks). Linden also showed tremendous power and run production, tallying two doubles, a triple, three home runs and 11 RBI. He slugged 1.563 and struck out only once, and he even managed to throw out two baserunners from left field. Linden accounted for 11 of the Huskies' 25 RBI (44 percent) and 12 of their 38 hits (32 percent). For his efforts, Linden was named the first Pac-10 Player of the Week for the 2000 season.
ERICKSON: Senior first baseman Ed Erickson would like to finally put in a full season this year. After seeing action as a part-time starter his first two seasons, Erickson was a full-timer last year, starting at first base and hitting cleanup. However, his 1999 season was shortened when he suffered broken bones in his right wrist and hand in a collision at first base against UCLA on March 27. Erickson played 17 games after the injury, but wasn't the same. In the 21 games prior, he batted .325 with eight homers and 24 RBI. After the injury, he hit only one more home run and had nine RBI while his average dropped to .270. After extensive and delicate off-season surgery and an amazing 21 weeks in a cast, Erickson is once again healthy. The Huskies' only senior already holds the UW career home runs record with 32. With a good season, the Yakima, Wash., native should rank among the top-10 in UW history in runs, hits, runs batted in and doubles.
CARLSEN: At 6-foot-7, junior right-handed pitcher Jeff Carlsen is the tallest member of the Washington roster. He's also the most successful and experienced member of the Husky pitching staff. Carlsen, who has been a regular member of the Husky starting rotation since his arrival from North Kitsap High in Poulsbo, Wash., has compiled an impressive 17-4 career won-lost record, including a 9-1 overall mark and 4-1 Pac-10 record last season. Carlsen was a freshman All-America in 1998 and the only freshman on the All-Pac-10 North first team. Last season, he was a second-team Academic All-Pac-10 pick and was invited to try out for the U.S. National Team before going to the Cape Cod League, where he was an all-star for the second straight season. In two season with the Bourne Braves in the Cape, Carlsen has posted a 9-3 record. Carlsen ranks seventh (tied) in UW history with his 17 career wins, 10 victories short of Mike Smith's Husky record (27).
RITTENHOUSE: Like many members of the Husky roster, junior Marc Rittenhouse had his 1999 season cut short by injury. The Huskies' new starting center fielder was having a great season before fouling a ball of his foot and breaking a bone during a game in Arizona. In his second season as the Huskies' starting second baseman last year, Rittenhouse was hitting .375 before getting hurt. He played in 10 more games, still managing to hit .360 overall, but ended up missing 21 games due to the broken bone. Rittenhouse, from Belleuve's Newport High, started the year with a 15-game hitting streak during which he hit .400 and scored 23 runs. After having that streak broken with one hitless game, he went on to hit in 11 games in a row. In games in which Rittenhouse played last year, the Huskies were 24-11. Without him, they went only 9-12. This year, he has moved to center field after spending the last two seasons in the infield. As a good leadoff man should, he leads the team in runs (12) and walks (9).
WHO'S HOT: Two members of the UW bullpen have been quite impressive thusfar ... RS freshman RHP Brian Barton has yet to allow an earned run or a walk in four outings (6.1 innings) ... he's allowed six hits and fanned eight ... sophomore LHP Taylor Grant already has a win and two saves in four outings ... in 9.2 innings of work, he has allowed only five hits and has fanned 13 ... last weekend vs. Gonzaga, he got the save in both UW wins, allowing only one hit while striking out six in 3.2 innings ... only two Huskies had hot bats last weekend ... senior 1B Ed Erickson broke out, going 7-for-17 (.412) with three doubles, a homer and seven RBI ... freshman DH Jay Garthwaite went 5-for-14 (.357) with two doubles, two RBI and two steals.
NOTABLES: Over the summer, junior LHP Mike Bomar posted a 2.89 ERA for the Anchorage Glacier Pilots in the tough Alaska League ... sophomore LHP Zack Daniels closed out last season with seven consecutive shutout appearances (9.2 innings total) ... junior LHP Matt Gardner, who had off-season shoulder surgery, had a 2.53 earned run average over his first nine appearances last year before getting hurt ... sophomore LHP Taylor Grant starred for Grand Forks (N.D.) in the Northwoods League over the summer, compiling a 2.43 ERA and making all-league ... Grant had a 2.61 earned run average over his final 11 appearances last season at UW ... OF Matt Hollod, despite making only 23 starts last season, is the Dawgs' second-leading (tied) returning RBI man with 24 last season ... junior RHP Matt Massingale, who moved from the closer role into the starting rotation this season, was the Pac-10 co-leader in saves last season with eight ... a Husky has led the league in saves eight of the last 10 seasons ... after becoming the Huskies' starting second baseman late last season, sophomore IF Brent Robertson made only three errors in 111 chances (.982) and didn't commit an error over his last 79 attempts ... this year, he's error-free in 14 chances ... junior 1B Duggan Moran drove in the tying and go-ahead runs in the Huskies' win over Northern Iowa with a single, his first career base hit ... sophomore 3B Michael Done had a strong first weekend as a Husky, batting .333 (6-for-18) with six runs, a double, a homer and two triples.
RANDOM NOTES: Of the 36 players on the Washington roster, only five come from outside of the state of Washington -- 3B/P Michael Done (Colorado), 1B Duggan Moran (Colorado), RHP Tyler Shepple (Colorado), OF Steve DeClerck (Oregon) and RHP Randy Vanderplow (California) ... of the 31 Washingtonians on the roster, 25 are from western Washington (west of the Cascades) ... over the last three seasons, the Huskies have hit a total of 283 home runs ... 283 homers are more than the UW team had hit in the previous eight seasons combined (261 HR from 1989 to 1996) ... Ed Erickson's 32 career home runs are the most in UW history ... after him, the current Husky with the most career homers is Marc Rittenhouse, with six ... the last two times that the Huskies opened the season with an 0-3 record (as they did this year), they won the Pac-10 Northern Division championship (1993 and 1996) ... after stealing only one base in five attempts in five games at the Rawlings Spring Training Tournament two weekends ago, the Dawgs got their running game going against Gonzaga, stealing eight bases in nine tries.