Husky Baseball Receives Seven Letters Of Intent

Nov. 27, 2001

SEATTLE - The University of Washington has received National Letters of Intent from seven high school baseball prospects who signed during the early signing period, which concluded last week, head baseball coach Ken Knutson announced today.

The seven players will enroll at the UW in the fall of 2002 and be freshmen on the 2003 Husky team. They are: Nick Burnham (Bellevue, Wash./Eastside Catholic HS), Zach Clem (Burlington, Wash./Burlington-Edison HS), Grant Gerrard (Castle Rock, Colo./Douglas County HS), KC Jones (Eatonville (Wash.) HS), Matt Kasser (Issaquah (Wash.) HS), Brent Lillibridge (Everett, Wash./Jackson HS) and Matthew Tucker (Highlands Ranch, Colo./Smoky Hill HS).

Burnham is an outfielder who Knutson calls, 'big and fast. He's got a chance to hit in one of the top three spots in the lineup.' Clem, the son of longtime Burlington-Edison coach Jim Clem, is a third baseman. 'Zach is an offensive player with a good chance to develop some power. He should hit in the middle of the order.'

Gerrard, one of two signees from Colorado, plays first base, outfield and is also a left-handed pitcher. 'Grant is another big, fast kid. He's a left-handed hitter with the potential to be a two-way player.' Jones, a right-handed pitcher, is considered a solid prospect to be taken in next June's draft. 'KC has the potential to be an excellent power pitcher with his size and arm strength.'

Kasser is another right-handed pitcher who reminds Knutson of former UW ace Jeff Heaverlo. 'We think Matt will develop into a strikeout pitcher. His curveball is a real swing-and-miss kind of pitch.'

Knutson says that Lillibridge is the state's top defensive shortstop. 'He could hit at the top of the order and steal some bases,' Knutson said, 'and he's got tremendous arm strength.' Finally, Tucker is the younger brother of current UW third baseman Michael Done and the stepson of former UW pitcher Dave Tucker. 'He's actually a lot like his brother as a player,' said Knutson, 'except that he's bigger. He's a switch hitter with perhaps more power. We'll try him at all three infield spots.'

Knutson expects the 2002 team to lose a large number of players to the professional ranks, and says that this class should help to offset those losses. 'These guys satisfy our needs at a number of spots,' he said. 'We expect that they should be able to come in and compete for playing time right away.'

The 2002 Husky team opens practice next Jan. 12 before travelling to Phoenix, Ariz., to open the season in a tournament on Feb. 14.

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