Baseball Hits The Road For Wichita
April 20, 2000
THIS WEEK: The Washington baseball team (16-20overall, 3-9 Pac-10) travels to face regular non-league rival Wichita State (27-10, ranked No. 23 by Baseball America) in a three-game series at the new Eck Stadium in Wichita. Friday's opener begins at 5:00 p.m. Pacific time, Saturday's game two is at noon and Sunday's wrap-up is set for an 11:00 a.m. start. The Huskies have faced the Shockers 12 times over the last seven seasons, playing them in each of the last seven years except 1995. Next week, the Huskies take on St. Martin's in a Wednesday non-conference game before travelling to Corvallis, Ore., to take on Oregon State in Pac-10 play. Here's a brief look at this weekend's games, with probable starting pitchers:
Fri., April 21, 5 p.m. -- UW at Wichita State -- RHP Jeff Carlsen (5-1. 5.49)
SERIES HISTORY: Washington won the first three games it played against Wichita State, but has lost nine straight since then. The Huskies picked up a win in the teams' only meeting in 1993 and then took the first two games of a three-game series in Wichita in 1994. But, WSU won game three of that series, swept three games in 1996, won two in a tournament in Hawai'i in 1997, won one in 1998 (the other two of the series were snowed out) and then last season came to Seattle and swept a pair of games. Last season, the Shockers rolled over the Huskies with ease at a rain-soaked Husky Ballpark. In game one, they scored nine runs in the first inning and rolled to a 15-1 win. In game two, first-round draft pick Ben Christensen fanned eight of the first nine Husky batters and the Shockers rolled to a five-inning 5-2 win. Tyson Boston's two-run homer accounted for the UW runs. Only six current members of the UW roster -- Ed Erickson, Marc Rittenhouse, Matt Hollod, Matt Gardner, Zack Daniels and Randy Vanderplow -- have played against Wichita, and one of those was in 1998 only.
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 275-175 (.611). With those 275 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 132-47 (.737) record in home games. He is 126-72 (.636) 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. .253-2-14 Freshman has started 28 of 36 games Tim Rice, So. .167-0-1 JC transfer has made eight starts 1B -- Ed Erickson, Sr. .323-6-34 UW's career home runs leader with 37 2B -- Marc Rittenhouse, Jr. .266-9-26 Hit safely in 15 of last 19 Brent Robertson, So. .178-0-2 Started at second base last Sunday SS -- Tila Reynolds, Fr. .306-1-14 Last 19 games: 24-for-62 (.387) 3B -- Michael Done, So. .285-6-26 14-game hitting streak broken Wed. OF -- Todd Linden, So. .366-5-34 Leads team in batting, hits and RBI OF -- Justin Drake, Fr. .203-1-5 Has started 18 of last 22 games OF -- Tyler Davidson, Fr. .273-3-12 Has started 9 of last 10 in RF OF -- Matt Hollod, So. .265-0-7 2-for-4 as CF Wednesday vs. USF OF -- Daniel Jahn, Jr. .211-1-10 2-for-7 in two starts as DH at Stanford DH -- Jay Garthwaite, Fr. .240-4-13 Started 29 of 36 as DH
EARLIER THIS WEEK: The Huskies won a pair of games against San Francisco on Tuesday and Wednesday. In game one, the Huskies jumped out to a 7-1 lead after three innings and rolled to a 10-5 win. Starter Matt Gardner allowed only one run on seven hits through six innings of work for the win. Marc Rittenhouse and Todd Linden both hit home runs for Washington. Wednesday, Ed Erickson went 2-for-4 with a solo home run and a three-run triple as Washington won, 6-4. With the score tied at 2-2 in the seventh inning, Tila Reynolds drew a walk with the bases loaded to break the tie and Erickson cleared the bases with his first career triple. Sophomore starter Zack Daniels had the longest outing of his career, working eight innings and allowing only two earned runs for the win. Brian Barton picked up his first save, striking out the final batter with the bases loaded and a two-run lead in the ninth.
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-), UW has posted a 178-77 (.698) record against all teams from the Northwest (Washington, Oregon and Idaho) and is 141-72 (.653) 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).
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 132-47 record in home games, good for a .737 mark. In 1998, the Huskies moved into Husky Ballpark and have notched a 53-26 (.671) 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 79 games at Husky Ballpark, the Huskies have belted 128 home runs, an average of 1.6 per game, while visitors have hit 98 home runs, or 1.2 per game. In 79 games, a total of 1,113 runs have been scored (both teams combined), an average of 14.1 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.
LINDEN: 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. Linden still leads the Huskies in batting with his .366 mark. He also is tops in hits (48) and RBI (34), steals (12) and second in doubles (9). Linden has hit safely in nine straight and 11 of the last 12. Over the 12 games: 18-for-49 (.367) with 13 runs, nine RBI and 10 steals in 10 tries.
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 37. 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 (fifth with 139), strikeouts (sixth with 106) and hit-by-pitch (third with 30). Erickson currently leads the Huskies with 12 doubles, is second in batting (.323), hits (43), runs batted in (28) and homers (6). He has hit safely in 21 of the last 24. Over the last three games, he's 7-for-13 with three doubles and five RBI.
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 21-5 career won-lost record, including a 9-1 overall mark and 4-1 Pac-10 record last season. He is only the fifth Husky ever to win 20 games in a career. 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 fifth in UW history with his 21career wins, six victories short of Mike Smith's Husky record (27). He also has worked his way onto the career strikeouts list, where he ranks sixth with 175. This season, he has left the game with the Huskies in front in eight of nine starts, good for a 5-1 record. April 1 against California, he fanned a career-high 10 batters. Two Fridays ago against Arizona, he threw a four-hit complete game in a 3-2 win. He walked only one and struck out seven as he faced only four batters over the minimum. He earned the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week award for his efforts.
RITTENHOUSE: Like many members of the Husky roster, junior Marc Rittenhouse had his 1999 season cut short by injury. The Huskies' leadoff man 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. After struggling and dropping to .178, Rittenhouse has responded and has raised his average to .278 and leads the team in runs (32), walks (26) and home runs (8). Over his last 62 plate appearances, he has reached base 35 times (.565). With nine home runs already this year, he has nearly tripled his career total, which was five coming into this season. Rittenhouse has also moved back to the infield from center, as he has started the 10 of his last 11 games at second. Rittenhouse has hit safely in 15 of his last 18 games, going 21-for-64 (.328) over that stretch.
DONE: After a sluggish start, sophomore third baseman Michael Done has begun to turn into the player that the Husky coaches thought he would be. Done (pronounced like "Cone") is a transfer from Seward County CC in Kansas, and had to sit out last season after having burned the year by playing in a fall game at Seward. After missing last season, he got off to a slow start in 2000. Before going on his current 14-game hitting streak, he was batting only .235 on March 27. After getting the streak up to 14 games, he had it broken by going 0-for-4 Wednesday vs. USF. But he has brought his average up to .285 and over the last 15 games has batted 22-for-63 (.349) with 11 runs, 15 RBI, two doubles, four homers and four stolen bases. With the glove, Done has been perhaps the best fielding UW third baseman in at least five years. Since making four errors over a three-game span (March 7, 17 and 18), he has made only one in the last 21 games (42 chances).
THE FRESHMEN: Five true freshmen have become regulars in the Husky starting lineup. Here are some notes on each: Tila Reynolds has started all but two games at shortstop for the Huskies. He was batting only .167 on March 21, but has hit safely in 16 of 19 games since then and is now hitting .306. Over the last 19 games, he is batting .387 (24-for-62) with 22 runs, 11 RBI, 18 walks, three hit by pitch and five stolen bases. He has made only two errors over his last 14 games (55 chances) ... Jefferson Thiel has started 28 of 36 games behind the plate and performed admirably. Currently batting .253, Thiel has remained a consistent .250 to .300 hitter all season. Last week at Stanford, he threw out three of five would-be base stealers ... Jay Garthwaite has been the Husky designated hitter in 29 of 36 games. Known as a power hitter at the prep level, Garthwaite has started to show power in college, belting three home runs over the last nine games. He has hits safely in 13 of the last 16 games ... Tyler Davidson has started the last 10 games in right field. In his first start of that stretch (April 5 at Washington State), he fell a single short of hitting for the cycle. He has played error-free defense all season and robbed a home run from a Lewis-Clark State hitter last Tuesday ... Justin Drake is called by coach Ken Knutson the fastest Husky ever. Drake has started 18 of the last 22 in center field.
BULLPEN NOTES: RHP Brian Barton leads the team with 15 appearances ... his ERA hasn't been over 3.71 this season ... has yet to allow a home run in 21 innings and picked up his first career save Wednesday ... LHP Matt Gardner worked six innings in a start vs. USF on Tuesday, allowing only one run on seven hits, all singles ... LHP Taylor Grant is second in appearances with 14 ... Grant is second in the Pac-10 with six saves, two behind Stanford's Jeff Bruksch ... took the loss last Friday at Stanford ... had gotten a save in four straight outings prior to that ... RHP Shawn Kohn made his first appearance since March 5 Tuesday vs. the Dons, allowing a walk and striking out one in one inning (the ninth) ... LHP Cam McCoy has been solid over his last seven outings, allowing only one run in 7.2 innings (1.17 ERA) with five hits and five Ks ... seven of his 11 earned runs came in one outing ... his ERA minus that one appearance would be 3.72 ... ... RHP Tyler Shepple's top outing was April 5 at Washington State when he allowed only two hits and one run over 5.2 innings ... RHP Randy Vanderplow has fanned 19 and walked only three ... his top outing was in relief vs. Cal, going 6.1 innings and allowing five hits, two runs and no walks while fanning seven ... RHP Sean White made his first career start last Sunday at Stanford ... after allowing only one walk run through the first four, Stanford scored the first two of a six-run fifth off of him.
RANDOM NOTES: Junior RHP Matt Massingale has two complete games this year ... unfortunately for him, both have been losses -- 2-1 at UCLA on March 25 and 3-2 last Sunday vs. Arizona ... 21 of Washington's 36 games have finished at three hours or less, including seven under two and a half hours ... the Huskies are 6-2 in night games this season, with Jeff Carlsen posting a 3-0 mark in such games ... over the last 11 games, Washington has stolen 22 bases and has been caught only six times ... before making six errors over the last three games, Washington had made only four in eight games.