UW Continues 12-Game Road Stretch At A&M

Feb. 22, 2005

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THIS WEEKEND: The Washington baseball team (2-4) continues a stretch of 12 straight road games to open the season this weekend when the Dawgs play six games in four days at the Dominos Pizza Aggie Baseball Classic in College Station, Texas. The UW, ranked No. 19 by Baseball America and No. 25 in the Sports Weekly/ESPN coaches' poll, will play two games each against San Diego, Evansville and host school Texas A&M, which is currently ranked No. 11. Live audio for all six games will air on gohuskies.com. After the tournament concludes, the Dawgs will play seven straight at home, beginning with a 6:30 p.m. game March 2 vs. St. Martin's. Here's this weekend's schedule:

Fri., Feb. 25: UW at Texas A&M, 5:00 p.m. PST -- RHP Kyle Parker (1-1, 2.25)
Sat., Feb. 26: UW vs. San Diego, 8:00 a.m. PST -- RHP Tim Lincecum (0-2, 7.59)
Sat., Feb. 26: UW vs. Evansville, 11:00 a.m. PST -- LHP David Dowling (0-0, 7.36)
Sun., Feb. 27: UW vs. Evansville, 8:00 a.m. PST -- RHP Keaton Everitt (0-0, 0.00)
Sun., Feb. 27: UW at Texas A&M, 6:00 p.m. PST -- RHP Matt Kasser (1-1, 2.84)
Mon., Feb. 28: UW vs. San Diego, 11:00 a.m. PST -- RHP Jordan Ponzoha (0-0, 3.86)

SERIES HISTORY: Washington has previously faced two of its three opponents this weekend. The Huskies are 0-7 all-time vs. Texas A&M, 4-2 all-time vs. San Diego and have never faced Evansville. All seven games vs. A&M have come at Olsen Field. In 1991, the Dawgs played in the Aggies' tournament, losing twice to the hosts, 4-3 and 13-3. The UW opened the 1993 season (Ken Knutson's first) with four games at A&M, losing all four (3-2, 8-4, 7-4, 6-5). In the 1998 NCAA Regional at College Station, the Aggies eliminated Washington with a 6-4 win. Last season, the Huskies took two of three in a season-opening series at San Diego (lost 5-1; won 10-6 and 13-3). In 2003, the UW lost 5-0 to USD in a game in Lancaster, Calif. The UW also picked up a win at USD in 1994 (6-4), a loss vs. the Toreros (3-2) in a game played at San Diego State in 1998, and a win at San Diego in 1981 (6-2).

COACH 'K': Last season, Husky baseball coach Ken Knutson became the winningest baseball coach in the history of the program. That accomplishment is just one item on Knutson's impressive resume. In his 12 seasons at the helm of his alma mater's baseball team, Knutson has led the Dawgs to two Pac-10 championships, four Pac-10 Northern Division titles, two other second-place finishes and six NCAA Regionals. His career overall record now stands at 430-277-2 (.608). 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 210-90-2 (.699) record in home games. He is 182-124 (.595) in Pac-10 games. Knutson has coached 44 first-team All-Pac-10 selections in 12 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 assistants Joe Ross, Donny Harrel, and Gregg Swenson and undergrad assistant Ty Kuehl.

PROBABLE STARTERS: Here's a look at the probable starters at each position, with stats and notes:

Pos.  Player, Year        Avg.-HR-RBI Notes C -- Matt Lane, So.         .150-0-2 Has started 5 of 6 at C; opponents are 4-8 stealing against him1B -- Kyle Larsen, Sr.       .286-0-0 Now in fourth season as Huskies' starter at first base2B -- Mike Rundle, Sr.       .095-0-1 Transfer from Gonzaga took over for 3-year starter IsaacsonSS -- Brent Lillibridge, Jr. .200-0-5 Entered junior season with .347 career avg., 6th in UW history3B -- Nick Batkoski, Sr.     .423-0-3 Started all six at 3B; leads UW with .423 avg., 11 hits, 5 runsOF -- Zach Clem, Jr.         .250-0-0 First-team All-Pac-10 in `04; started all three at SCUOF -- Taylor Johnson, Sr.    .333-2-5 Started all six in RF; has only two HRs of the season for UWOF -- Nick Burnham, Jr.      .294-0-3 Has hit safely in last four games: 5-for-13 (.385)DH -- Curt Rindal, So.       .300-0-3 Has started 5 of 6 at DH; no previous career starts

Broadcasts on the Web: All of Washington's 12 road games to begin the season will air live on internet-only audio broadcasts. For information on how to listen to the games, go to gohuskies.com, and click on the audio/video link. Also check gohuskies.com for any future web broadcasts. Additionally, 20 regular season games will air live on KKNW 1150-AM. Those broadcasts will also be available via the internet. The first scheduled radio broadcasts are the series at Arizona March 24-26. When additional games are added to the internet-only schedule, an announcement will be posted to gohuskies.com.

SQUAD BREAKDOWN: Washington's 36-man roster is pretty well balanced for a college baseball roster. The team includes six seniors, nine juniors, seven sophomores and 14 freshmen. Nineteen players are returners while 17 are new (14 of those 17 are true freshmen). Washington's returning players have competed in a total of 857 UW baseball games, and have combined for 2,168 career at bats and 572 and one-third career innings pitched in a Husky uniform.

TOUGH SCHEDULE: Counting those in the 'others receiving votes' category, the preseason Sports Weekly/ESPN coaches' poll ranked 66 teams this season. Washington, which tied with Pac-10 foe Arizona for the No. 12 spot in that poll, will play a total of 31 games against teams that received votes in the preseason ranking. Those 31 games come against 11 different teams, including six conference opponents. The Huskies will play a total of 11 games against four teams ranked in the top 12 in the preseason poll -- three each against No. 6 Stanford, No. 9 Arizona State and No. 12 Arizona, plus two at No. 10 Texas A&M. Well-respected baseball website boydsworld.com ranks the Huskies' schedule as the ninth-toughest in the nation. Also as regards the schedule, the Huskies will play 24 home games this season (plus an exhibition vs. the University of British Columbia) and 32 on the road. Washington's first 12 games will be on the road.

NORTHWEST FLAVOR: As is usually the case, the Husky baseball roster is made up primarily of players from the state of Washington. This year, however, it's nearly unanimous as 35 of the 36 players on the preseason roster are from the state of Washington. The only non-Washingtonian on the team is senior second baseman Mike Rundle, from Bend, Oregon. However, Rundle, in his first season with the Huskies, played last season at Gonzaga, which is located in Spokane, Wash. Of the 35 in-state players, 29 are from the western part of the state (west of the Cascades).

PRESEASON ACCOLADES: Perhaps more than in any other season since the 1999 merger of the Pac-10's two divisions, the preseason publications have a lot of good things to say about the 2005 Husky baseball team. The Huskies were ranked no lower than 17th in the various preseason polls: No. 8 in Baseball America, No. 12 (tied) in the ESPN/Sports Weekly coaches' poll and No. 17 in Collegiate Baseball. Baseball America, in its extensive preview edition, tabbed the UW for a second-place Pac-10 finish, and included the Dawgs in its postseason projections as a No. 1 seed. The Huskies were represented by three players -- SP Tim Lincecum, RP Richie Lentz and SS Brent Lillibridge -- on the preseason All-Pac-10 team while Lincecum was also a Collegiate Baseball preseason All-American first-teamer and Lillibridge made the third team. Baseball America additionally tabbed several Huskies in its top-50 prospects by class. Lincecum was the No. 9 sophomore with Lentz close behind at No. 11. Starting pitcher Kyle Parker was listed as the No. 18 sophomore. Lillibridge was named the No. 36 junior in the nation while first baseman Kyle Larsen was named the No. 14 senior. In its 'best tools' listings for the Pac-10, Baseball America stated that Lincecum has the conference's best breaking ball and Lentz its best fastball. Larsen, also named the preseason 'Gold Glove All-America' team, repeated as the best defensive first baseman in the league while Nick Batkoski was named best defensive third baseman. Finally, Baseball America listed Lincecum as the No. 8 prospect in the Pac-10 for the 2005 draft and listed Lillibridge right behind him at No. 9.

POSITION PLAYER NOTES (in alphabetical order):
Ryan Anderson, Freshman IF:
Latest in a long line of Kamiakin HS products to play baseball at the UW ... backs up in the middle infield ... hit .430 as a junior and .420 as a senior in HS.

Nick Batkoski, Senior 3B: For the first time in his career, entered the season as a starter ... has played 2B, 3B, SS, OF and DH during his career, including 29 stats at SS last year .. hit .500 (6-for-12) in the series at UC Irvine, scoring three of the UW's six runs on the weekend ... 3-for-4 opening day ... 5-for-14 in Santa Clara series ... hit .346 in 81 at bats in 2003 and .303 in 165 at bats last season ... named the Pac-10's top defensive third baseman by Baseball America.

Michael Burgher, Freshman OF: Enters the season as a backup in the outfield ... drafted by the Dodgers in the 36th round of the 2004 draft ... captained his summer team (Shockers) to three state championships.

Nick Burnham, Junior OF: Entered the year as the starting center fielder after a strong fall and spring practice season ... started first two games at UC Irvine, going 1-for-8 with a double ... started two at Santa Clara, going 4-for-9 with a double and three RBI ... started on opening day last year, but made only two more starts during the season ... saw action in 24 games in 2004 ... hit .398 over the summer for the San Francisco Seals.

Zach Clem, Junior OF: The UW's starting left fielder saw only one pinch hit at UC Irvine due to a groin pull ... started all three last weekend at Santa Clara, two in LF, one at DH ... 3-for-11 with a double in Santa Clara series ... after only three at bats as a freshman in 2003, became an everyday starter in left field last year and earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors after batting .336 with a team-high 13 home runs ... hit third most of the season ... played on the Aloha (Ore.) team that won the National Baseball Congress World Series title over the summer.

Joey Dunn, Freshman C: One of three new catchers on the Husky rosters ... started game two at UC Irvine, going 0-for-2 ... also played in game two (off the bench) of the Santa Clara series and got first career hit, a single ... three-time team MVP at Inglemoor High ... hit .450 as a senior and then .468 for his summer team last year.

Matt Hague, Freshman IF/OF: Multi-position player backs up at third base and in the outfield and should also see action out of the bullpen ... hasn't had an AB yet, but has appeared twice on the mound ... first-team all-state pitcher and second-team infielder at Kentwood High.

Nick Jiles, Soph. OF: Enters his first season at the UW as a backup outfielder and profiles as a center fielder ... started in CF in game three at UC Irvine, going 0-for-3 ... two-time All-Big-9 pick at Davis High in Yakima ... twin brother, NaCoubi, plays baseball at Yakima Valley CC.

Taylor Johnson, Senior OF: Entered the 2005 season as starting right fielder ... started all six so far ... went 7-for-15 (.467) in Santa Clara series with mulitple hits in each game ... homered and drove in two runs in the 3-2 win Monday at Santa Clara ... has both of UW's home runs this season, including an eighth-inning solo shot on opening day at UC Irvine ... 1-for-9 in series at UCI ... has been an off-and-on starter in CF and RF the last three seasons ... expected to pitch out of the bullpen this season for his first time ever in college ... taken in 39th round of 2001 draft (Pittsburgh) ... named No. 8 prospect in his summer league by Baseball America.

Matt Lane, Soph. C: Starts at catcher in 2005 after having backed up there last season ... started two of three at UC Irvine and all three at Santa Clara ... 3-for-11 at Santa Clara ... has thrown out 4-of-8 would-be basestealers in 2005 ... made only one start behind the plate last year, but made 36 starts at DH ... hit .301 with six homers as a freshman ... was a member of the National Baseball Congress World Series champion Aloha (Ore.) team over the summer.

Kyle Larsen, Senior 1B: In his fourth year as the everyday starting first baseman ... has made only four errors in 1,580 career chances ... went 2-for-10 in UCI series and 4-for-11 with two doubles at Santa Clara ... for the third straight year, named top defensive 1B in the Pac-10 by Baseball America ... also made Baseball America's all-Gold Glove team and was tabbed as the No. 14 senior prospect in the nation ... ranks ninth in UW history in hits (203), ninth in RBI (133) and 10th in homers (24) ... started all 60 last season, 59 of 60 in 2003, and 47 of 61 as a freshman ... drafted by the Mets in the 14th round of the 2001 draft.

Andy Lentz, Freshman OF/IF: Younger brother of UW sophomore P Richie Lentz and former third baseman Ryan Lentz ... started in LF Feb. 13 at UC Irvine, going 0-for-3 with an HBP ... four walks in lone start at Santa Clara ... backs up in the outfield and infield ... two-time all-league and a high school All-American at Woodinville HS.

Brent Lillibridge, Junior SS: Has earned first-team All-Pac-10 in each of his two previous seasons ... a preseason third-team All-American (Collegiate Baseball) ... preseason All-Pac-10 and the No. 36 junior in the nation by Baseball America ... started all three at SS at UC Irvine, going 4-for-11 with a triple ... had another triple in the 13-2 win over Santa Clara, when he drove in five runs ... .347 career average entering the season ranked sixth in UW history ... also tied for 10th in UW history with 243 home runs ... seven of 11 home runs last season came to lead off a game ... started all 60 games last year at either SS or CF ... played center field much of the last two seasons, but returns to shortstop this year ... started in center for the U.S. National Team in 2003 ... all-tournament at the NCAA Regional the last two years ... .388 average in 2003 was No. 2 in the nation among freshmen and his .699 slugging mark was best among Division I frosh.

Kiel Lillibridge, Freshman IF: Backs up his older brother, Brent, at shortstop ... saw action at 2B in 13-2 win at Santa Clara ... first-team all-league SS as a HS senior after making the second-team as a catcher his junior year.

D.J. Neyens, Junior C: Played last two seasons at nearby Edmonds CC, helping Tritons to the NWAACC title his freshman year and a third-place finish his sophomore season ... hit .312 for his summer team in 2004.

Cory Rickard, Junior OF: Started the season opener in LF (0-for-4) ... started Feb. 20 at Santa Clara ... played last two seasons at Spokane Falls CC ... first-team All-Eastern Division as a sophomore when he hit .362 (tops on the team) with a wood bat.

Curt Rindal, Soph. 1B/DH: Started all three at DH at UC Irvine, going 4-for-11 with three of the UW's six RBI ... started two of three at Santa Clara (2-for-9) ... got a medical redshirt season last year after dislocating his left elbow in a practice ... got only one at bat last year, an RBI single off the bench at San Diego in third game of the season.

Mike Rundle, Senior 2B: Transfer from Gonzaga starts second base ... has started all six so far ... hit .221 with an HR and 16 RBI last season at Gonzaga ... played previously at Citrus JC in Glendora, Calif., where he batted .390 as a freshman and .373 as a sophomore ... summer all-league first-teamer, playing for his hometown Bend Elks.

Josh Showers, Junior IF: Played late in one game at UC Irvine at 2B ... didn't see any game action last season, due in part to injury ... played in four games, getting two at bats, as a freshman in 2003 ... backs up 2B, 3B and SS.

Matt Stevens, Freshman IF/OF: Started in LF in the second game of the season at UC Irvine (0-for-3) ... backs up at third base, first base and in the outfield ... two-time all-league first-teamer at Lake Stevens HS ... also all-area and all-state as a senior ... 6-1 on the mound as a senior.

PROBABLE STARTING PITCHER NOTES (in order):
Kyle Parker, Sophomore RHP:
Moved into the starting rotation partway through his freshman year and spent the last portion of the season as the UW's Friday starter ... finished the season with a 4-3 record and a 3.84 ERA over 75 innings ... .224 opponent batting average ranked third in the Pac-10 ... six shutout innings Feb. 20 vs. Santa Clara for first win ... allowed no runs on two hits over 6.0 in that one ... rough time in lone start this season, Feb. 12 at UC Irvine, allowing seven runs (only two earned) in two innings for a loss ... threw the UW's only complete game last year in a win over Ole Miss in the NCAA Oxford Regional last year ... led Aloha (Ore.) to the National Baseball Congress World Series championship over the summer ... threw a five-hit, complete-game shutout in the championship game ... Baseball America named him the No. 2 prospect in the Pacific International League (summer) and the No. 18 sophomore in the nation.

Tim Lincecum, Sophomore RHP: A preseason All-American after having been named the Pac-10 Pitcher and Freshman of the Year in 2004 ... struck out 161 batters in 112.1 innings last year, breaking the school record for Ks ... also second in the NCAA in strikeouts, behind only Long Beach State's Jered Weaver ... Collegiate Baseball's National Freshman of the Year ... 10-3 with a 3.53 earned run average last season ... suffered second loss Feb. 20 at Santa Clara (5.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 5 BB, 4 SO) ... took a loss on opening day of this season at UC Irvine, allowing four runs on six hits, one BB and four Ks over 5.2 innings ... No. 9 sophomore prospect in the nation and No. 35 college prospect for the 2005 draft by Baseball America ... also tabbed as having the best breaking ball in the league by BA ... named the national player of the week twice last year ... career-high 15 Ks came in a six-inning outing Mar. 12, 2004 vs. Loyola Marymount ... the Gatorade state player of the year for Washington in 2003 after an unbelievable senior year ... led Liberty High to the 3A state title and was the state's 3A MVP and first-team all-state pitcher ... as a senior, posted a 12-1 record and a 0.70 earned run average while striking out 183 batters in 91.2 innings ... drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 49th round of the 2003 draft.

David Dowling, Senior LHP: Returns after an injury-plagued junior year ... pitched in 3-2 win at Santa Clara (Feb. 21) ... retired the first five he faced before giving up a run with two down in the ninth ... threw twice at Irvine, allowing four runs (two earned) over two innings ... after seven wins and 56.1 innings in 2003, was limited by injury to only 22 innings last year ... high school classmate of fellow Husky pitcher Keaton Everitt ... 42 career appearances and five starts entering his senior year ...

Keaton Everitt, Junior RHP: Has yet to see any action in 2005 ... will start and relieve ... started 10 games and appeared in relief once last year ... went 5-3 with a 5.66 ERA ... redshirted 2002 season.

Matt Kasser, Junior RHP: Returns to his spot in the Huskies' weekend rotation, which he joined halfway through last season ... got a win Feb. 21 at Santa Clara with a seven-inning outing: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 Ks ... started Feb. 13 at UC Irvine, and took the loss, allowing three runs on seven hits, two walks and one strikeout over 5.2 innings ... held the Anteaters scoreless through the first five innings before giving up three in the sixth ... beat Western Kentucky in the NCAA Oxford Regional, allowing only one run over seven and two-thirds innings ... won the National Baseball Congress World Series title with the Aloha (Ore.) Knights, winning his start in the tournament ... holds a perfect 5-0 career record as he enters his junior year.

Jordan Ponzoha, Sophomore RHP: Will start and relieve after having filled a similar role last season ... threw three innings of relief in 13-2 win at Santa Clara (Feb. 20) ... struck out six in three innings, including six of last seven he faced ... got a save by throwing the final three innings, allowing two runs on two hits ... worked four innings in relief at UC Irvine on Feb. 12, allowoing only one run on four hits ... started three and relieved in seven others as a freshman ... struck out 24 in 23.2 innings last season ...

BULLPEN NOTES: Benji Brown (Fr. RHP) is one of two UW freshman pitchers from Bothell High School, along with Bollinger ... 5-1 with two saves as a HS senior ... son of former Husky outfielder Greg Brown ... Josh Conover (Jr. RHP) switched to a sidearm delivery halfway through last season ... got a save by getting the final out Feb. 21 at Santa Clara (3-2 win) ... pitched twice at UC Irvine, allowing no hits or runs over two innings ... has served as a reliever and spot starter during his career ... after switching to sidearm last year, threw 10 innings, allowing three runs on six hits with eight Ks ... got the win in the regular season finale vs. UC Irvine when the Huskies scored four in the bottom of the ninth ... Nick Hagadone (Fr. LHP) should see action as a late-inning reliever ... traveled to UC Irvine, but didn't pitch ... drafted by the Mariners in the 36th round of the 2004 draft ... first-team all-league and team MVP as a senior at Sumner High ... Matt Hague (Fr. RHP) plays third base and outfield besides pitching ... should see action as a late-innings reliever ... worked 2.2 scoreless in 5-2 loss at Santa Clara (Feb. 20) ... hasn't yet allowed a run in 4.2 IP ... threw two innings of relief Feb. 12 (game two) at UC Irvine, allowing no hits or runs while striking out two and walking none ... led Kentwood High to a second-place state finish last year ... first-team all-state pitcher and second-team all-state infielder in high school ... Taylor Johnson (Sr. LHP) as been a starting OF for most of his career and starts in RF ... worked as a pitcher in the fall and may see action as a reliever ... has never previously appeared on the mound ... Richie Lentz (So. RHP) started eight games and appeared as a reliever in 12 last season ... began last year as a starter (and started on opening day), but will be the UW closer as a sophomore ... hasn't pitched yet due to hand injury ... should pitch this week ... has the best fastball in the Pac-10, according to Baseball America ... had an outstanding summer as closer for the Newport (R.I.) Gulls, helping the Gulls to the final game of their league championship series ... had a 1.66 ERA and nine saves during the regular season and three more saves in the playoffs ... named the No. 11 sophomore prospect in the nation and the top prospect in his summer league by Baseball America ... struck out 52 in 49.2 innings last season ... Brandon McKerney (Fr. RHP) played at Meadowdale High for UW baseball alum Ron Martin ... fanned only hitter he's faced this year ... helped team to the state playoffs his junior and senior years ... Andrew Powell (Fr. RHP) played three seasons as a pitcher and hitter at Seattle's Blanchet High ... helped the Braves to the state quarterfinals his senior year ... will look for innings in a relief role.

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