WSU Opens 2002 Baseball Season At CS-Northridge
Feb. 5, 2002
Friday, February 8 - WSU at Cal State-Northridge, 2:30 p.m., Matador Field, Northridge, Calif.
Saturday, February 9 - WSU at Cal State-Northridge, 1:00 p.m., Matador Field, Northridge, Calif.
Sunday, February 10 - WSU at Cal State-Northridge, 12:00 p.m., Matador Field, Northridge, Calif.
Friday, February 15 - WSU vs. Gonzaga 1:00 p.m., CBC Field, Pasco, Wash.
Saturday, February 16 - WSU vs. Gonzaga 1:00 p.m., CBC Field, Pasco, Wash.
Sunday, February 17 - WSU vs. Gonzaga 1:00 p.m., CBC Field, Pasco, Wash.
COUGAR DIAMOND NOTES
NEWCOMERS DOT WSU LINE-UP: Bookie Gates, who hit .327 last year while anchoring second base, may feel like the Lone Ranger when Washington State opens the 2002 baseball season Friday at Cal State Northridge.
Second year coach Tim Mooney will anchor his infield with Gates, but surrounding the Cougar senior will be newcomers at first base, shortstop and third base, plus left and right field. And if that's not enough, two of Mooney's expected starters on the mound will also be first-year Cougars.
While Gates will be the infield leader, senior Evan Hecker will take on the same role in the WSU outfield. Hecker hit .321 last season while patrolling center field. Transfer Jeremy Farrar is the expected right fielder, while Justin Hart, another junior transfer, will begin the season in left field.Joining Gates in the infield will be junior transfers Steve Mortimer at first base and Jeffrey LaRue at third. The new Cougar shortstop is expected to be freshman Derek Bruce.
WSU's designated hitter is expected to be Wes Falkenborg, a junior who started as the DH in last year's first series, but was injured and missed the rest of the season.
'Falkenborg is a pure hitter,' says Mooney. 'He might be a tougher out than Stefan Bailie last year. Now the question is who is going to hit behind him so he sees quality pitches.'
Mooney believes his club is well ahead of where they were a year ago when he had been on the job just five months prior to the season opener.
'Having players who have been thru it once is like having 11 assistants,' he says.
'Tool wise, I can't say that we are that much different than last year,' offers Mooney. 'I think the top two pitchers can make a significant difference and the other difference is we are better because we understand what we are doing and how to do it.'
'In the fall we thought we might be one player short of being a good defensive club, but so far third base has stepped up and that's what we needed,' Mooney says about the Cougar defense.
While the Cougs will go with junior college players at the corners, a true freshman opens at short. 'Putting Bruce at shortstop is a big challenge, but he is a very mature individual and that will help him on the field,' according to the Cougar head coach.
Last season the Cougars also opened the season against CS-Northridge. WSU's lone win in the four-game series went to Garrett Alwert, who worked four innings and gave up two runs in an 11-4 Cougar win. CSUN won the other games 7-2, 4-3 and 6-4. Gates and Wes Falkenborg each hit .333 against the Matadors last year.
COUGS ON RADIO/WEB: WSU's opening six games of the 2002 season, three-game series with CS-Northridge and Gonzaga, will not be broadcast by the Cougar Sports Properties radio or the web (www.wsucougars.com)...the first Cougar baseball broadcast will be the tournament at Texas A&M.
ALWERT PITCHES AND HITS: Garrett Alwert came on strong over the last half of the 2001 season...he ended the year with 15 mound appearances and eight starts and finished with the best ERA among Cougar regulars at 5.40...he posted a 2-6 record and threw 58.1 innings...in addition he settled into the designated hitter role for the Cougars and hit .284, although his average was well over .300 until the final two weeks of the season.
BAEDER HOT: During his late-season 11-game hitting streak last season Jon Baeder hit .400 and raised his average from .219 to .266...as a starter Baeder hit safely in 13 straight games before being blanked in the finale.
COUGS KEEP IT CLOSE: In 54 games in 2001, nearly half, 22, were determined by one or two runs... the outcome of 17 games were by one run and five more by two runs... only 20 games were determined by five or more runs...WSU was 6-11 in one-run games, 1-4 in two run games, 1-7 in three-run games, 1-3 in four-run games and 6-13 in margins of five or more runs.
TOP OF ORDER HITS: WSU's leadoff batters hit .339 in 2001 and the number two spot hit .292, then .292 in the number three slot and .348 in cleanup...then the averages dipped sharply, with the number five batters hitting .232, followed by .258, .244, .289 and .249 in the next four spots in the batting order...overall, the Cougs hit .318 through the top four spots in the order and .254 combined for the bottom five sports.
TO START OR NOT TO START: Figure this one out...WSU batters, when starting, hit .284 during the 2001 season, while the non-starters hit almost as well at .279...the opponents were more conventional, with their starters hitting .331 and the non-starters .293...on the mound, Cougar starters had an ERA of 8.07 and the non-starting pitchers were at 6.35...for opponents, the starters had a 4.96 ERA and the relief pitchers 6.12.
HITTING STREAKS: Jon Baeder boasted the longest hitting streak of the 2001 season at 11 games, while Bookie Gates was one of three Cougs who had nine-game hitting streaks...he also had 21-multiple-hit games and drove home two or more runs in 13 games.
WSU NEEDED TO START PLAYING EARLIER: WSU was outscored by 108 runs during the 2001 season, 35 (71-36) in the first inning alone...for the other eight regular innings WSU trailed by 69 runs, 376-307, with the opponents also holding a 4-0 lead in extra innings...WSU's best inning was the sixth when they outscore their opponents 43-31...WSU outscored opponents in the sixth and ninth innings.
GATES NAMED PAC-10 POW: Junior Bookie Gates was named the Pac-10's Player of the Week April 2 for his performance against UCLA last year...Gates hit 10-14, had seven RBI, scored five times, hit three doubles and one home run.
BAILIE GOES PRO: Stefan Bailie, WSU's sophomore first baseman from a year ago who hit .352 and belted 18 home runs, opted to sign a professional contract with Boston, rather than return for his junior season at WSU...Bailie's 18 home runs ranks seventh on the Cougar single-season list, while his 30 home runs in two years ranks seventh on the Cougar career list.
COUGS DRAFTED: Three members of WSU's 2001 baseball team were selected in the Major League Baseball draft in early June...the Cougars' top hitter, Stefan Bailie, was taken by the Boston Red Sox in the fourth round after leading WSU with 18 home runs and a .352 batting average...pitcher Tyson Thompson was selected by Tampa Bay in the 33rd round, while second baseman Bookie Gates was tabbed by Minnesota in the 35th round.
105 YEARS OF COUGAR BASEBALL: Baseball, the first sport played at Washington State University in 1892, completed its 106th season of diamond action in 2001...during its first 106 seasons, WSU baseball teams won 63.9% of their games, posting a 2,261-1,276 record...the Cougars did not field baseball teams in 1893-94-95-97.
WSU ON THE RADIO/INTERNET: WSU's baseball games will be broadcast by KCLX (1450 AM) in Colfax, Wash., during the 2002 season...WSU radio broadcasts are handled by Cougar Sports Properties, a sub-division of Learfield Communications...Alex Webster will call most of the WSU games...games broadcast on radio also were heard on the internet at the WSU web site, www.wsucougars.com.
COUGAR BASEBALL RANKS FIFTH IN ALL-TIME NCAA VICTORIES: Washington State University ranked sixth in all-time NCAA Division I baseball victories with 2,261 prior to the 2002 season.