Cougars Play Portland In First Home Series Held In Pasco

Feb. 15, 2005

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The Washington State baseball team is scheduled to play its first home series this weekend, hosting Portland (1-1), which will take on WSU Pacific-10 foe, Oregon State, Tuesday before battling the Cougars in Pasco, Wash. The three-game series begins Friday, at 3 p.m. at Dust Devil Stadium and will continue with noon starts for both Saturday's doubleheader and the finale, Sunday.

The Cougars (3-3) return to the West Coast after traveling to Hammond, La., taking the series against Southeastern Louisiana (1-2). WSU won its first game Friday, 2-1 behind the 13 strikeout performance of starting pitcher Jason Freeman. The two teams played a doubleheader Saturday because of the possibility of rain Sunday. The Cougars took the first game 14-7, but fell 13-5 in the second.

WSU pitchers lead the opposition in earned run average, 4.61 to 5.89, strikeouts, 46-41, walks, 27-31, and hit by pitches, 6-14. The opposition leads Cougar batters in runs scored, 43 to 45, batting average, .280 to .319, and hits, 58 to 68. However the Cougars lead the opposition in home runs, 4-2 and earned runs, 31-27.

Freeman is 1-0, boasting a 1.50 earned run average after allowing just five hits and one run, which was earned, while striking out 13 Lions over seven innings Friday. Dane Renkert earned the save after relieving Freeman in the eighth, allowing just one hit while fanning three batters.

Zach McAngus leads Cougar regulars with a .500 batting average, in slugging percentage, .667, runs, eight, and hits with 12. He went 7-for-9 in Saturday's doubleheader, going 5-for-5 in the first game with a double, while driving home three runs and scoring four. He has had multiple hits in four games this season.

In the second game of the series two of Brady Everett's three hits were doubles. He leads WSU in runs batted in with nine, plating multiple runners in three games. The cleanup hitter leads WSU with two home runs and hit a grand slam in his first weekend as a Cougar, which hasn't happened since 1975.

Freshmen are making an impact for the Cougars this year, combining for 10 hits, eight runs and six runs batted in. Rookie hurlers have pitched 18.2 innings for WSU, allowing 21 hits while striking out 11 batters.

MARBUT TALKS ABOUT COUGS:
'Although we have to travel it's nice not to have to get on a plane.

'We're just excited to play a game somewhat near home and near our Cougar faithful.'

WSU VS. PORTLAND: The following is a statistical comparison of how Washington State matches up against this weeks' opponent, the Portland Pilots.

WSU VS. PORTLAND AND WEST COAST CONFERENCE: WSU is 62-32-1 against Portland, adding a win over the Pilots in 2004...the Cougs won 9-4 in the annual Banana Belt Tournament, which they swept in four...WSU is 252-125-4 vs. West Coast Conference foes...in 2004 the Cougars were 7-3 against the conference.

STEPPING UP TO BAT: WSU's .280 team batting average is the fifth-best among the Conference of Champions and its .402 on-base-percentage is third...last weekend five Cougars, four starters, hit .300 or better...leading WSU regulars is Zach McAngus who is hitting .500 this season, placing him in a four-way tie for sixth place among Pac-10 batters...he was 7-12 last week, batting .583...went 5-5 in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader, 7-12 on the day...he batted in three runs and scored four, boasting a .667 slugging percentage...he also leads WSU regulars with 12 hits, eight runs, and 16 total bases this season...Brady Everett hit .333 against Southeastern Louisiana, going 4-12, including two doubles, while driving home two runs...he leads the team in runs-batted-in with nine, placing him in a two-way tie for 10th among Pac-10 players in that category....he leads WSU with two home runs, ranking him sixth in the conference...Jay Miller hit .308, plating three Cougars...he is hitting .370 overall and is next behind Everett in runs-batted-in with seven...Jason Freeman hit .300 against the Lions, plating one runner and scoring twice...freshman Kyle Henselman is batting 1.000, recording a hit in his first at-bat...Miller and Freeman battled for the top-hitter position in 2004...Miller took the batting title for the second year in a row, hitting .355 to Freeman's .344.

FANNING THE COMPETITION: Cougar pitchers have struck out 46 batters this season, ranking WSU 6th among the Pac-10...leading the Cougar bullpen is James Freeman (1-0), boasting a 1.50 ERA...he's fanned 16 batters and allowed only nine hits over 12.0 innings...he is ranked among Pac-10 hurlers in the batters struck out (t-4th), innings pitched (9th) and earned run average (9th) categories...13 of his strike outs came Friday in a seven-inning, winning performance against Southeastern Louisiana...senior relief pitcher Dane Renkert (0-0) is second on the team with six punch outs and freshman Matt Oye (0-0) has five...both Nick Cebula (1-1) and Reese Baker (0-2) have four apiece...the Cougars have walked 27 batters which ranks them 6th in the conference.

FRESHMEN CONTRIBUTIONS: The freshmen class has been making an impact this season with 11 newcomers seeing playing time...seven rookies have played on the field and four have seen mound time...both the first base and shortstop starting positions are occupied by freshmen...Jim Murphy, and Nick Hall both made starts at first base...Matt Thomas has started five games at shortstop...Scott Suttmeier made starts at short and second base...Kyle Henselman pinch-hit in one game, going 1-1 to lead the Cougars with a 1.000 batting average...freshmen have tallied 10 of WSU's 58 hits...they've scored eight of the Cougars' 43 runs and driven home six...four newcomers have pitched for the Cougars working 18.2 out of 52.2 innings...Jayson Miller is fourth on the team with a 2.84 ERA over 6.1 innings...Matt Oye has five strike outs this season...Dustin Willis is 1-0, boasting a 1.80 ERA with three punch outs this season...there are 13 freshmen on the WSU roster and all hail from Washington.

MARBUT IN GOOD COMPANY: First-year head coach Donnie Marbut joined the ranks of great WSU coaches before him by winning his first game at the helm of the program...the last Cougar coach to win his first game as a head coach was Charles 'Bobo' Brayton, who recorded a 9-4 win March 22, 1962 against Gonzaga...eight other WSU head coaches won their first games including Jack Friel (1943), Arthur 'Buck' Bailey (1927), Harry Applequist (1923), Frank Barber (1921), J.R. Bender (1907), Everett Sweeley (1905) and J.N. Ashmore (1904).

IMPROVEMENT EARNS NATIONAL RANKING: Between the 2003 and 2004 seasons, the Cougars were the 15th most improved team in the nation...in 2003 WSU finished the season with an 19-37 overall record...in 2004 it finished the season 29-26...the Cougars improved 10.5 games in 2004...the most improved team in the nation following the 2004 season was Prairie View, which improved its final record by 19.5 games.

EXTRA INNINGS FIRST SINCE 1975: The 10-inning opening game of the 2005 WSU baseball season against Sacramento State Friday, February 4, was the first time since 1975 a Cougar team has played extra innings in its first game of the season...the Cougars took Lewis-Clark State into the 10th inning before losing 7-6 March 2, 1975.

COUGS HIT FIELD EARLY: In past years Washington State was limited in early-season outdoor practice time, but with WSU's new FieldTurf baseball diamond, Cougar players have been enjoying mild weather while holding intrasquad games and practices outdoors since the middle of January. 'We have been on our new field every day since January 19,' says new head coach Donnie Marbut.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: During the first five weeks of the 2005 season, the Cougars will play 18 games in five different states...WSU started the season in California, taking one game in the series against Sacramento State...the Cougars went 2-1 in the Pelican State, taking their first two games against Southeastern Louisiana...this week they return to Washington to host Portland for a home series in Pasco...WSU then travels to starting third baseman Zach McAngus' homestate of Hawaii...they will finish their road-trip series in Lewiston, Idaho for the annual Banana Belt Tournament beginning March 3...in the first five weeks the Cougars will travel roughly 16,000 miles round trip...the last time the Cougars traveled to five states in the first five weeks was in 2000 when they traveled roughly 10,000 miles.

PAC-10 TEAMS RANK AMONG BEST: Four of WSU's conference opponents are ranked in the top 25 in both the Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball Newspaper polls...Stanford is ranked sixth in both polls, the highest of any Pac-10 team...behind the Cardinal in the Baseball America poll is Arizona (10th), Arizona State (11th) and Washington (12th)...in the Collegiate Baseball rankings, following the Cardinal are Arizona (10th) and Arizona State (23rd).

TOUGH SCHEDULE: The Cougars will face six teams that played in the post-season last year...five conference foes, Arizona, Arizona State, Stanford, UCLA and Washington, all made a regional appearance, with the Wildcats making it to the College World Series...Lewis-Clark State made it to the NAIA World Series.

THE WASHINGTON CONNECTION: The 2005 Washington State team consists of 31 Washington natives including head coach Donnie Marbut and associate coach Travis Jewett...four Cougar players hail from Bellevue...Kennewick, Woodinville and Spokane are each home to a pair of players...other Washington cities that made the Cougar geographic roster are Beaver, Bellingham, Burien, Des Moines, Enumclaw, Federal Way, Issaquah, Longview, Moses Lake, Olympia, Renton, Richland, Sammamish, Spanaway, Tacoma, Vancouver and Walla Walla...Marbut is a Aberdeen native and Jewett calls Tacoma home.

MARBUT AND THE EDMONDS CONNECTION: Four current Cougars played for WSU Head Coach Donnie Marbut during his tenure as head coach at Edmonds Community College...former Tritons new to the squad this year are Eric Dingwall and Brady Everett...Kaeo Rubin and Zach Kosturos both played under Marbut at Edmonds before coming to WSU last season...all four players won a NWAACC Championship under Marbut....Everett and Rubin were freshmen on the 2002 championship squad....Everett was named to the NWAACC All-Star team and Rubin earned NWAACC Northern Division second team and all-tournament team honors...Rubin, Kosturos and Dingwall helped set a league record 43 wins and another championship in 2003...both Kosturos and Rubin earned first team all-league honors...Rubin was named the MVP of the NWAACC Northern Division league tournament...Marbut was named NWAACC Coach of the year in both 2002 and 2003.

'All the players we have from Edmonds are impact players,' Marbut said. 'Playing at WSU is a good opportunity to showcase their talent in the Pac-10, not just because I coached them at Edmonds. They are very capable players who will play a big role in our teams' success this year.'

'It's been a good experience (playing for Marbut),' junior Zach Kosturos said. 'He's a good coach and I've learned a lot from him. He has a great coaching staff at WSU which allows him to delegate some coaching responsibilities, which is different from Edmonds.'

NO GAPS IN COUGAR OUTFIELD: Starting in the Washington State outfield are junior Jay Miller and seniors Jason Freeman and Kaeo Rubin...the three led the team in hitting last season with Miller edging out Freeman for first, .355 to .344...Rubin was third with a .341 batting average...all three earned Pac-10 honorable mention accolades...Miller also earned all-academic honorable mention kudos...Freeman played second base last season but will return to his natural position in the outfield for 2005.

COUGARS EXCELL IN SUMMER: WSU seniors Dane Renkert and Kaeo Rubin and sophomore Jeff Miller earned All-Pacific International League honors last summer...Rubin and Renkert were named to the first team of what is considered the Northwest's premier summer collegiate league...Rubin helped lead the Aloha Knights in winning the 2004 National Baseball Congress Championship and the All-American Invitational tournament where he was named MVP...Renkert posted six wins without a loss and recorded two saves for the Bellingham Bells...Miller was named to the All-PIL second team leading the Kirkland Kodiaks with 47 hits and 27 runs scored.

AN ALL NEW PLAYING FIELD: WSU is one of the few colleges in the nation to play on an artificial surface baseball field...in 2004 the Cougars became the first NCAA Division I team to have FieldTurf as its playing surface...WSU joined the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the Minnesota Twins as part of the exclusive group of baseball teams to use FieldTurf as their playing field...the Cougar baseball diamond is ringed with a brownish red warning track and includes base paths of the same color...the only dirt on WSU's baseball field is the pitching mound and around home plate...included in the renovation project completed before the 2004 season were new dugouts for both teams.

2005 CAPTAINS: The 2005 Washington State baseball captains are senior Dane Renkert and redshirt juniors Zach Kosturos and Zach Franklin.

COUGAR BASEBALL RANKS SEVENTH IN ALL-TIME NCAA VICTORIES: Washington State University is ranked seventh in all-time NCAA Division I baseball victories with 2,330 at the end of the 2004 season...a list of the top seven baseball programs appears below with their respective records and number of seasons played through 2004:

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