Baseball Hits The Road For Spring Break
March 20, 2000
THIS WEEK: The Washington baseball team (6-9 overall, 0-0 Pac-10) heads out for its spring break trip today, fresh from a three-game sweep of Dayton last weekend at Husky Ballpark. Dating back to last Friday, the Huskies have a stretch that will see them play nine games in 11 days, and 15 games in the next 19 days. Washington will play 20 games in the month of April. This week, the Dawgs first travel to face Southern Utah (7-9) in a three-game series at St. George, Utah (note: games were originally scheduled to be played at Cedar City, but have been moved due to snow). Tuesday's game begins at 6:00 p.m. MST, Wednesday's is at 7:00 p.m. MST and Thursday's gametime is yet to be determined. Saturday, the Huskies open the Pac-10 Conference season against UCLA (14-10, 0-0) at Jackie Robinson Stadium. All three of those games (Saturday through Monday) are scheduled for 1:00 p.m. The Saturday and Sunday games will air live on KKOL AM-1300, as well as on www.broadcast.com.
SERIES HISTORY: Washington and Southern Utah have played only one time -- last season at a tournament in St. George, Utah. The Huskies, behind two home runs and five RBI from Dominic Woody, won the game, 16-13. Of the 15 UW players and pitchers that saw action in that game, only two remain this season: Ed Erickson (1-for-4, 2 runs) and Marc Rittenhouse (2-for-6, 2 RBI). UCLA holds a commanding 16-3 record in the all-time series. However, last year the Huskies swept a three-game Pac-10 series from the Bruins at Husky Ballpark, winning by scores of 8-6, 12-5 and 16-15. Jeff Carlsen threw a complete game for the win in the middle game while relievers Matt Gardner and Matt Massingale picked up victories in the first and third games. Only two current Husky hitters saw significant time against the Bruins. Daniel Jahn went 4-for-10 with a double, a homer and three RBI and Rittenhouse batted 6-for-14 (.429) with five runs, two doubles, a home run, five runs and two RBI. Husky coach Ken Knutson holds a 3-3 record against UCLA, with two losses in 1995 at UCLA and one in 1997 in Minneapolis.
COACH "K": In seven-plus 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 265-164 (.618). With those 265 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 126-43 (.746) 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. .310-0-2 Reached base five of 10 times vs. Dayton Tim Rice, So. .250-0-1 JC transfer has made four starts at catcher 1B -- Ed Erickson, Sr. .292-1-10 UW's career home runs record hold with 32 2B -- Brent Robertson, So. .286-0-1 Two errors in last 103 chances Josh Fulton, So. .059-0-0 Played one year at Brigham Young SS -- Tila Reynolds, Fr. .171-0-4 Three RBI and two SB in Dayton series 3B -- Michael Done, So. .220-2-9 Struck out two in shutout inning vs. Dayton OF -- Marc Rittenhouse, Jr. .208-2-8 15 walks, 16 runs lead team OF -- Todd Linden, So. .426-4-18 6-for-12 last weekend OF -- Matt Hollod, So. .214-0-3 Started all three vs. Dayton in RF OF -- Daniel Jahn, Jr. .278-1-7 Hit three-run HR Sat. vs. Dayton OF -- Justin Drake, Fr. .273-1-2 Hit first career HR March 7 OF -- Tyler Davidson, Fr. .250-1-4 First career home run in March 5 DH -- Jay Garthwaite, Fr. .214-1-4 Belted first career homer March 7
RECENT RESULTS: Washington, after 10 days off for final exams, swept a three-game series from Dayton at Husky Ballpark. Friday, the Huskies used seven stolen bases and three sacrifice bunts (they had nine all of last season) to beat the Flyers, 6-1. Jeff Carlsen worked eight innings for the win, allowing only one run on five hits and eight Ks. The win broke the Huskies' four-game losing streak, their longest since the start of the 1996 season. Saturday, lefty Mike Bomar pitched a no-hitter through the first seven and two-thirds innings and hung on for a 3-2 Husky win. Daniel Jahn provided the Husky runs with a three-run homer in the first inning. Bomar worked his first career complete game, allowing only two hits, one earned run and one walk while fanning 12, a career-high. Sunday, the Dawgs won 7-4, thanks in part to two-run home runs from Todd Linden and Marc Rittenhouse. Ed Erickson also provided two RBI. Matt Massingale got the win with seven innings of work and Matt Gardner recorded his first save by throwing two scoreless innings. Dayton finished the weekend having lost 13 consecutive games.
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 126-43 record in home games, good for a .746 mark. In 1998, the Huskies moved into Husky Ballpark and have notched a 47-22 (.681) 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 69 games at Husky Ballpark, the Huskies have belted 115 home runs, an average of 1.7 per game, while visitors have hit 82 home runs, or 1.2 per game. In 66 games, a total of 987 runs have been scored (both teams combined), an average of 14.3 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. Last weekend vs. Dayton, Linden had a strong showing, going 6-for-12 with two doubles, a home run and four runs batted in.
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. He already ranks in RBI (10th with 121), strikeouts (eighth with 95) and hit-by-pitch (fourth with 28)
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 18-4 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 in UW history with his 18 career wins, nine victories short of Mike Smith's Husky record (27). He also has worked his way onto the career strikeouts list, where he ranks ninth with 144. This season, he has left each of his four starts with the Huskies ahead.
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 after spending the last two seasons in the infield. As a leadoff man should, he leads the team in walks (15), runs (16) and steals (4).
WHO'S HOT: Two members of the UW bullpen have been quite impressive thusfar ... RS freshman RHP Brian Barton has allowed only two earned runs or in six outings (9.2 innings) ... he's allowed eight hits and fanned 10 ... sophomore LHP Taylor Grant already has a win and two saves in six outings ... in 10.2 innings of work, he has fanned 13 ... Todd Linden and Ed Erickson share the longest current hitting streaks on the Husky team, with four each ... Linden is 7-for-17 (.412) during his while Erickson has hit 4-for-13 (.308) over his brief streak.
NOTABLES: LHP Mike Bomar carried a no-hitter through seven and two-thirds innings Saturday agianst Dayton ... he finished with a nine-inning two-hitter, fanning 12 and walking only one ... 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 earned all three starts in right field last weekend vs. Dayton ... in Friday's game, he stole three bases on three tries ... 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, Robertson has made only two errors in 24 tries ... 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 seven ... 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) ... Washington has stared at least five newcomers in 10 of 15 games this year.