UW Baseball Wraps Fall, Looks Forward To 2013 Season
Oct. 25, 2012
2013 Husky Baseball Schedule (subject to change)
SEATTLE - The UW baseball team wrapped up its official fall practice season and now turns to off-season mode before cranking things back up in the new year.
The Huskies, under fourth-year head coach Lindsay Meggs, begin the 2013 campaign next Feb. 15 with a four-game, three-day series at UC Davis. The schedule includes the always-rugged Pac-12 slate as well as trips to Lamar, LSU and Pepperdine for non-conference series.
Washington's home opener is March 1 vs. Cal Poly and the first home, conference game of the season is March 22 vs. USC.
The offseason saw some changes to the Huskies' baseball staff as two new assistant coaches were added to the team. Another assistant changed roles and a new baseball operations director was hired.
Last August, Jason Kelly was introduced as the UW's new pitching coach and recruiting coordinator. Additionally, third-year assistant Jordon Twohig was elevated from volunteer assistant into a full-time role. Tanner Swanson, who served as a manager last year, took over that volunteer assistant spot and former Husky outfielder Taylor Johnson was named the UW's new director of baseball operations.
"When Jordon came to be our volunteer assistant," explained Meggs, "it was with the idea that if he had a coach move on, he'd be a great fit on the recruiting trail. He's been out there not-stop. He's relentless and he'll do a great job finding us players."
"Tanner gave up a head coaching job at the JC level to be a manager last year," Meggs said of Swanson, "in the hope he'd somehow work his way onto the field. He did a nice job with the catchers this fall and also with the hitters."
On the field, the Huskies featured a large group of veterans in the batting order, but were keen to find newcomers to bolster what is a comparatively inexperienced pitching staff, a crew whose numbers were hurt by the loss to injury of veterans Jeff Brigham and Joshua Fredendall, who will both miss the 2013 season but should return in 2014.
Coach Meggs noted that the Huskies' middle of the order has a number of promising players who are both young and experienced, pointing to sophomores Robert Pehl, Trevor Mitsui and Branden Berry. He also has a seasoned outfield thanks to returners seniors Joe Meggs, Jayce Ray, Michael Camporeale and junior Will Sparks, plus the addition of highly-touted freshman Braden Bishop.
"I was happy with the fall in terms of seeing what we have out there as far as our ability to match up with right- and left-handers," Meggs said. "I think we have the right pieces in place. We have a long way to go between now and when we head to UC Davis, but I think we have enough in terms of power, speed, the ability to defend. I was pleased with the way we match up athletically."
One possibility at third, sophomore Andrew Ely, missed the fall due to injury, but JC transfer Alex Schmidt performed well there. Behind the dish, junior Ryan Wiggins, sophomore Parker Guinn and true freshman Austin Rei will head into the spring in competition for playing time.
" We have some big shoes to fill at third base in terms of Jake Lamb," Meggs said. "It's going to be a tough guy to replace, but we have some options there. Alex Schmidt comes in from Western Nevada and he was our most improved defensive player of the fall. He showed some signs of really getting better with the glove and we think there's some juice in his bat."
On the mound, the Huskies will miss those two injured pitchers and while the number of experienced pitchers may not be a large one, those veterans who are available are seasoned and can fill varieties of roles.
"I was particularly pleased with how Zach Wright threw," Meggs said of one of his juniors. "I think Zach is somebody we can use however we need. He could start. He could relieve. He could potentially even close.
"Tyler Kane is the same," Meggs continued. "He's a three-pitch guy who, for one inning, with his slider, could easily close in this league, but also with the ability to throw three pitches for strikes, is someone who you could start."
"Voth has started for us, as has Tyler," Meggs said. "Austin has developed a better slider as well as a good change-up, so that is exciting. That makes him pretty good."
Among the newcomers to the pitching staff, Meggs had the most positive things to say about a freshmen right-hander from California.
"I was pleasantly surprised with the way Troy Rallings performed," Meggs said. "Like most freshmen, he struggled for the first two weeks or so, but he got himself under control and the last three weeks of the fall, he was missing bats. He was throwing strikes. He fields his position well, he holds runners, he's a good competitor."
With that, the Huskies will have a few months to continue to work to prepare for the start of the season next February.