UW Baseball NCAA Regional Notes
May 28, 2002
COMING UP: The Washington baseball team (15-9 in the Pac-10 (tie-3rd), 30-25-1 overall) returns to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1998, but for the fifth time in the last 11 seasons. The Huskies, a No. 3 seed, will travel to face second-seeded Texas Tech (16-11 in the Big 12, 41-18 overall) in their first-round game Friday night at Reckling Park in Houston, Texas. Regional host Rice (28-2 in the WAC, 47-11 overall), the top seed in the regional and the No. 4 national seed, hosts fourth-seeded Harvard (14-7 in the Ivy, 20-24 overall) in the other first-round game, which is slated for Friday, May 31, at 3:00 p.m. CDT (1:00 p.m. PDT). The Huskies' game vs. the Red Raiders will start at 7:00 p.m. CDT (5:00 p.m. PDT). All postseason games will air live on KKNW AM-1150. The winner of the double-elimination regional will play the winner of a regional in Baton Rouge, La. (participants: LSU, Southern, Tulane and Louisiana-Lafayette) in a best-of-three Super Regional the following weekend, with the winner of that advancing to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. The Huskies enter the regional having won 10 of their last 15, 14 of their last 20, and 17 of their last 25 after having posted a 13-17-1 record over the first 31 games of the season. Here's a look at the upcoming games (Washington will start RHP Shawn Kohn in its first game and RHP Sean White in its second):
Fri., May 31 -- Game 1: #4 Harvard vs. #1 Rice, 3:00 p.m. CDT Game 2: #3 UW vs. #2 Texas Tech, 7:00 p.m. CDTSat., June 1 -- Game 3: Loser G1 vs. Loser G2, 11:00 a.m. CDT Game 4: Winner G1 vs. Winner G2, 3:00 p.m. CDT Game 5: Winner G3 vs. Loser G4, 7:00 p.m. CDTSun., June 2 -- Game 6: Winner G4 vs. Winner G5, R 1:00 p.m. CDT(if neccesary): Game 7: rematch of game six if both teams have one loss
COACH 'K': In his 10th season 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, now, four NCAA Regionals. His career overall record stands at 344-233-1 (.596). With those 344 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 168-76-1 (.688) record in home games. He is 152-106 (.589) in conference games and 9-6 (.600) in NCAA Regional play. Knutson has coached 35 first-team All-Pac-10 selections in nine seasons, and has been named league coach of the year three times. A 1981 All-Pac-10 left-handed pitcher at the UW, he is joined by assistant coaches Joe Ross, Travis Jewett, and Gregg Swenson and undergraduate assistants Daniel Jahn and Duggan Moran.
PROBABLE STARTERS: Here's a look at the probable starters at each position, with current stats and notes:
Pos. Player, Year Avg.-HR-RBI Notes C -- Aaron Hathaway, Fr. .329-4-29 Started 26 of last 28 at C; hit in 16 of last 20 Ben Johnson, So. .211-1-4 Made 12 starts at C after 19 starts in 20011B -- Kyle Larsen, Fr. .363-5-36 True freshman leads Huskies in batting average2B -- Greg Isaacson, So. .321-1-24 Started 39 of last 41 at 2B; .355 as 9 hitterSS -- Tila Reynolds, Jr. .339-2-30 Leads team with 5 triples, 15 HBP and 17 steals Nick Batkoski, Fr. .182-0-4 2 doubles in start vs. Gonzaga (May 14, game 2)3B -- Michael Done, Sr. .288-11-33 11-game streak: 17-for-44 (.432) with 13 RBIOF -- Tyler Davidson, Jr. .336-13-47 First Husky to hit 3 HRs in game May 11 at USCOF -- Jay Garthwaite, Jr. .313-15-60 Second on UW career home runs chart with 32OF -- Brandon Jacobson, Jr. .259-1-11 1st start in more than month May 14 vs. GonzagaOF -- Taylor Johnson, Fr. .291-4-12 Started 16 of last 28 in RF; UW is 12-4 in thoseOF -- Mike Wagner, So. .290-2-16 Has become regular starter in LF vs. LHPsDH -- Bryan Johnson, Jr. .255-7-33 Hit HRs from both sides of plate Apr. 13 . John Otness, So. .327-2-16 Has hit safely in 22 of 27 games he's started
NCAA POSTSEASON HISTORY: See pages 8-13 of this guide for a complete rundown of Washington's history in the NCAA, complete with all box scores and individual postseason records.
HISTORY vs. NCAA REGIONAL OPPONENTS: Washington has only played one of its three possible regional opponents. The Huskies beat Rice, 20-11, in a 1998 NCAA Regional game at Texas A&M, but the Huskies have never faced Harvard or Texas Tech in 102 seasons of intercollegiate baseball. Here are some related breakdowns of Husky series history, starting with a recap of the 1998 game vs. Rice:
WASHINGTON vs. RICE, May 22, 1998, at Olsen Field, College Station, Texas: Washington met Rice in both teams' second game of the NCAA Central Regional at Texas A&M, with the Huskies winning, 20-11. Rice broke an NCAA record (regular or postseason) by hitting 10 Husky hitters with a pitch in the game. Rice got off to a strong start, scoring six runs in the bottom of the first inning off of UW starter Jeff Carlsen. But the Huskies scored a run in the third and then took the lead with six in the fourth. Jim Na hit a three-run homer and Kevin Miller a two-run shot in the inning. Washington scored five more in the fifth -- four on a Nick Stefonick grand slam -- and went on to score in every inning from the third through the ninth. Na went 4-for-5 in the game while Miller was 1-for-2 with four walks and a hit by pitch. Stefonick finished the day with a UW postseason record seven RBI. Reliever Bryan Williamson threw four and two-thirds innings for the win while Jesse Kurtz-Nicholl suffered the loss for the Owls.
HUSKIES IN TEXAS: Washington has only travelled to play in the state of Texas three times in its history, and all three of those trips were to College Station. In 1991, the Huskies played in a regular-season tournament at Texas A&M. In that tourney, the Huskies lost twice to Texas A&M, but beat Kansas State twice and Illinois once. In 1993, the UW returned to Texas A&M to open the season with a four-game weekend series vs. the Aggies -- the first four games of Ken Knutson's career as the UW head coach. The Aggies, who spent much of that season ranked No. 1, swept the Huskies in four straight close games, winning 3-2 (in 10 innings), 8-4, 7-4 and 6-5 (in 10 innings). The only other Husky trip to Texas was for the 1998 Central Regional at College Station, where the Huskies went 2-2, beating Rice and Oral Roberts and losing to Mississippi State and Texas A&M.
HUSKIES vs. THE CONFERENCES: Washington is 9-19 all-time against current members of the Big 12 Conference, including a 1-4 mark in five games this season against Missouri (1-1 at a season-opening tournament in Phoenix and 0-3 in a mid-season series at Columbia). Washington is: 4-1 vs. Kansas State, 1-4 vs. Missouri, 0-1 vs. Oklahoma, 1-2 vs. Oklahoma State, 3-4 vs. Nebraska and 0-7 vs. Texas A&M. Washington has played five of the six current members of the Western Athletic Conference, all except Louisiana Tech, compiling an all-time record of 15-29 against WAC foes: 6-5 vs. Fresno State (including 2-1 this season at Fresno), 5-11 vs. Hawaii, 1-5 vs. Nevada, 1-0 vs. Rice and 2-8 vs. San Jose State. The Huskies have played four of the eight members of the Ivy League and lead their all-time series with each Ivy opponent for a composite record of 10-2: 3-0 vs. Cornell, 1-0 vs. Columbia, 4-2 vs. Yale and 2-0 vs. Dartmouth.
COMMON OPPONENTS: The Huskies have at least one common opponent with each of their possible regional opponents this year. Washington and Texas Tech both played Missouri and Brigham Young this season, but relatively opposite results. The Red Raiders swept a season-opening series with BYU (8-6, 6-5, 1-2) while the Huskies split three games (a 15-8 win, a 7-5 loss and a 12-12 tie). Tech took two of three from Missouri in Lubbock, winning 7-4 and 13-6 before losing 7-1 in the finale. Washington won its season opener in Phoenix over Missouri (10-6), but then lost two days later (10-9) and were swept in a miserable three-game series in Columbia (11-9, 5-3, 12-11). The Huskies and Rice both played a three-game series vs. Fresno State. The Huskies took two of three at Beiden Field in the season's second weekend (5-1, 9-13, 10-7) while Rice swept the Bulldogs (9-2, 12-5, 16-4) in a late March series. Harvard lost a pair of games to Northwestern (5-1, 9-4) in a tournament in Florida in March while the Huskies beat Northwestern twice (8-7, 2-0) in a tournament in Phoenix in February.
THE BIG TURN-AROUND: There is little debate that the UW season hit its low point in an error-filled three-game sweep at Missouri April 5-7, but since hitting bottom, the Huskies turned it around, playing for the Pac-10 championship into the final day of the season and earning an NCAA regional berth after starting 12-15-1. Since the end of the seven-game losing streak, which was capped by the sweep at Missouri, the Huskies have gone 18-10, including 14-7 in Pac-10 games. Here's a breakdown of the UW' statistics through the first 28 games of the season and through the last 28:
Statistical Category First 28 Games Last 28 GamesBatting Average .310 .304Opp. Batting Average .308 .288Errors / Fielding Pct. 54 / .952 23 / .979Earned Run Average 6.45 4.39Walks (by UW pitchers) 131 59Walks (by UW hitters) 116 111Strikeouts (by UW hitters) 195 149Stolen Bases Allowed 38-53 22-34Passed Balls 16 3Wild Pitches 28 11
POWER SHOW: Blame it on the new ballpark if you must (Husky Ballpark opened in 1998), but the Huskies have three players with double-figure home runs for the fourth time in the last five years, and for only the fourth time in history. In fact, prior to 1997, the Huskies had never had more than one player with more than 10 home runs in a season on the same team at the same time. This year, Jay Garthwaite, Tyler Davidson and Michael Done have all hit 10 or more home runs. Garthwaite's 15 are fourth-most in Washington history while Davidson's 13 rank No. 8 in UW single-season lore. Done, with 11 round-trippers, is 14th in Husky history. As a team, the Huskies' 70 total home runs are the fourth-highest total in school history ranking behind 1998 (110), 1999 (89) and 1997 (84). Last year, the Huskies hit only 46 home runs.
SPEED SCHOOL: Washington's 93 stolen bases this year are the most in the Pac-10 and rank as the sixth-highest total in Washington history. Three Huskies have reached double figures in stolen bases this season -- Tila Reynolds (17-20), Tyler Davidson (10-14) and Greg Isaacson (10-13) -- and three other players have either eight or nine steals as the team heads into postseason. In 1994, the Huskies stole a school-record 150 bases and had four players in double figures, including three with 20 or more. In 1997, five different Huskies stole at least 10 bases, led by Chris Magruder's school-record 43.
PRO PROSPECTS: Washington is likely to have one of its most prolific years ever in the upcoming Major League draft. As many as eight Husky players are likely to be drafted this season, and according to Baseball America, three of them should be among the top 150 players selected. In its most recent draft prospect update, Baseball America rated RHP Sean White the No. 87 overall prospect (high school and college), tabbled SS Tila Reynolds as the No. 145 player and had OF Tyler Davidson ranked No. 150. Additionally, the Huskies had six players selected among the top 20 prospects in the state of Washington: White (4), Reynolds (6), Davidson (7), OF Jay Garthwaite (9), RHP Tyler Shepple (11) and IF Bryan Johnson (20). Two seniors -- 3B Michael Done and RHP Shawn Kohn -- will also expect to be drafted this year. Done was selected last season, but elected to return for his senior year. The Huskies' previous best draft day was in 1998, when four Huskies were selected in the first five rounds of the draft.
STREAKING INTO POSTSEASON: Three Huskies head into the NCAA regionals on hitting streaks of 10 or more games. Freshman 1B Kyle Larsen is currently riding a 12-game hitting streak. During his hot spell, he's batted .500 (22-for-44) with nine runs scored, 10 runs batted in , four doubles and three stolen bases. Senior 3B Michael Done has hit safely in 11 straight games. During his streak, he has gone 17-for-44 (.432) with 10 runs scored, 13 RBI and four homers. Junior OF Tyler Davidson is on an 10-game streak, during which he has batted .373 (19-for-51) with 14 runs, 17 RBI, six doubles and six home runs. On the pitching side of things, junior RHP Sean White has won his last five decisions and his last four starts. Over his last four starts, White has worked 31.1 innings, allowing 23 hits, 10 runs and eight walks while striking out 24, good for a 2.87 earned run average.
YOUTH PREVAILS: While on the surface, the Washington team looks like a squad dominated by veterans, there's been more than a little contribution from the younger players this season. Two Huskies are likely Freshman All-America selections -- 1B Kyle Larsen and C Aaron Hathaway. All Larsen did was lead the team with his .363 batting average (and his .365 average in Pac-10 play). Plus, he didn't make an error in 398 chances at first base. Hathaway took over for injured returning starter Jefferson Thiel (who had Tommy John surgery in January) to start 43 of 56 games behind the plate, batting at a .336 clip. He also showed good speed for a catcher, stealing nine bases while throwing out 35 percent of would-be basestealers on the season. OF Taylor Johnson emerged as a regular starter in the last third of the season, starting everday against right-handed starters. He batted .291, stole six bases and threw out three runners from the outfield. On the mound, RHP Will Fenton was second on the team with 18 appearances and struck out 42 batters while allowing only 35 hits in 41.1 innnings. Freshman LHP David Dowling pitched in 12 games, starting four, and was a weekend starter for part of the season.
RANDOM NCAA NOTES: In its four modern trips to the NCAA regionals, the Huskies have yet to fail to win at least two games, despite being a No. 6 seed in 1992, No. 5 in 1994, No. 4 in 1997 and No. 3 in 1998 ... Washington has made it to the championship game of a regional twice, losing to Nomar Garciaparra-led Georgia Tech (after forcing a second championship game with a 14-inning win) at Wichita State in 1994 and to Mississippi State in Starkville (4-3 in front of a then-NCAA postseason record crowd of 10,688) in 1997 ... in their four trips to regionals in the 1990s, the Huskies were 3-1 in opening games, winning all three in which they were the lower seed ... the Huskies are the only team from the Pacific Northwest to make it into NCAA postseason play since 1991, when the University of Portland won the old Pac-10 North tournament and made it to a regional ... during that 11-season span (1992-2002), the Huskies have played in five NCAA tournaments while Oregon State, Washington State, Portland State (now a defunct program), Gonzaga and Portland (the other Division I teams in the Northwest) have not been to any ... the Huskies' 15-9 record in Pac-10 play marked their first over-.500 season in conference since the league got rid of its two-division format for the 1999 season ... in that first year, the Huskies went 12-12 ... no current members of the Washington team has ever been to a regional ... only head coach Ken Knutson, associate head coach Joe Ross and undergraduate coach Daniel Jahn (a member of the 1998 team) have been involved in NCAA postseason action ... only four of Washington's players come from outside the state of Washington (and only three of the 25-man NCAA travel squad): 3B Michael Done (Littleton, Colo.), RHP Tyler Shepple (Arvada, Colo.) and RHP Greg Colburn (Billings, Mont.) ... Colburn, however, attended Lower Columbia CC in Longview, Wash., and Done's stepfather Dave Tucker was a UW baseball player ... Done's younger brother Matthew Tucker has signed a letter of intent to play for the Huskies next season.
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