UW Continues Homestand Vs. Pilots, Tigers

March 7, 2005

THIS WEEK: The Washington baseball team (8-7), riding a four-game winning streak after four straight home games, continues a stretch of seven straight at home with games against Portland and Pacific this week. Tuesday, the Dawgs host Northwest rival Portland (6-8) in a 6:30 p.m. game. Wednesday (6:30 p.m.) and Thursday (3:00 p.m.), the Huskies play host to Pacific (10-7) in the first-ever meetings between the two schools. After this week's games, the UW will have eight days off before facing Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo on the road March 18-20. Here's this week's schedule:

Tue., March 8: UW vs. Portland, 6:30 p.m. -- LHP David Dowling (1-0, 3.29)
Wed., March 9: UW vs. Pacific, 6:30 p.m. -- RHP Tim Lincecum (2-2, 3.42)
Thu., March 10: UW vs. Pacific, 3:00 p.m. -- RHP Matt Kasser (1-2, 3.24)

SERIES HISTORY: Washington leads its all-time series with Portland 74-39-1 and the UW has won the last 10 straight against the Pilots, a former member of the Pac-10 Northern Division. Last year, Washington won three games against Portland, one at Pilots Stadium and two in Seattle. The Huskies won 8-5 on April 6, in Portland with Richie Lentz throwing four innings of one-hit relief for the win. On May 11, the UW beat the Pilots, 20-4, as five Huskies notched three or more hits. Keaton Everitt got the win in that one. The following day, Washington won, 5-1, as Jordan Ponzoha picked up his first career victory. Husky head coach Ken Knutson is 37-11 all-time against Portland. The Huskies have never played a game against the University of the Pacific as the two teams had a scheduled game rained out during the 1998 season.

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 436-280-2 (.609). 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 214-90-2 (.703) 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.          .200-0-4 Has started 12 of 15 at C; hit .308 in four starts last week      Joey Dunn, Fr.          .333-0-1 Has started three games at C; 3-for-9 at the plate so far1B -- Kyle Larsen, Sr.       .312-2-11 Now tied for sixth in UW history with 26 career homers2B -- Mike Rundle, Sr.        .182-1-2 3-for-4 with a homer and a double Sunday vs. UCSB      Andy Lentz, Fr.         .120-0-0 Started six of last seven games at second baseSS -- Brent Lillibridge, Jr. .321-1-13 5-for-5 in Sunday's UCSB game; 13-for-31 over last nine3B -- Nick Batkoski, Sr.      .340-0-6 Started 14 of 15 at 3B; has also started at LF, RF, 2B, SS, DHOF -- Zach Clem, Jr.          .265-2-7 6-for-15 with two homers, 7 RBI in four games last weekOF -- Taylor Johnson, Sr.    .400-3-10 Reached base 12 straight times vs. UCSB; 8-for-9, 5 BBsOF -- Nick Burnham, Jr.       .184-0-4 Has started 12 of 15 games; 4-4 stealing basesOF -- Cory Rickard, Jr.       .143-1-1 Four starts in left and center field; first career HR SundayOF -- Matt Stevens, So.       .312-1-2 First homer Sunday; two starts in LF, one each at 3B, DHDH -- Curt Rindal, So.        .295-0-6 Has started 13 of 15 at DH; all-tournament at Texas A&M

BROADCASTS ON THE WEB: Live audio of all of Washington's games this year will be available either over the radio, on the internet or both. For information on how to listen to the games, go to gohuskies.com, and click on the audio/video link. 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.

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).

HOME, SWEET HOME: After opening the 2005 season with 11 straight games away from home, the Huskies' return to the new FieldTurf surface at Husky Ballpark was evidently very comforting. The Huskies opened their seven-game homestand with four wins last week, beating St. Martin's 10-1 before sweeping a three-game series from UC Santa Barbara (6-1, 6-5, 17-4). In those four games, the Huskies batted .379 with 13 doubles and eight home runs. By contrast, the Dawgs allowed opponents to hit only .178 with three doubles and five homers. The UW pitching staff compiled a 2.75 team earned run average over the four games while opponents pitched at a 9.09 rate. Finally, the UW made only one error in four games on the new surface, good for a .993 fielding percentage. Individually, the Huskies were led by right fielder Taylor Johnson, who hit .692 (9-for-13) over the four games while shortstop Brent Lillibridge was 8-for-16 (.500) and first baseman Kyle Larsen went 6-for-14 (.429) with two homers and nine runs batted in.

POSITION PLAYER NOTES (in alphabetical order):
Ryan Anderson, Freshman IF:
Notched first career hit (a single) in Mar. 6 win over UCSB ... has played in two games ... 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 .. 4-for-12 in four home games last week ... 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 ... 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 ... saw action in three games last week, going 1-for-3 at the plate in his first career action ... 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 all five at Texas A&M tourney ... four steals in four tries ... started on opening day last year, but made only two more starts during the season ... saw action in 24 games in 2004.

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 at Santa Clara, two in LF, one at DH ... 3-for-11 with a double in Santa Clara series ... started 3 of 5 at Texas A&M tourney ... had a solid week last week, going 6-for-15 with two homers and seven RBI ... homered in back-to-back games Mar. 2 and Mar. 4 ... 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 ... got first hit (RBI single) in loss to Evansville ... started two at A&M tourney ... played in two games last week, but didn't start ... singled Mar. 6 vs. UC Santa Barbara ... three-time team MVP at Inglemoor High.

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 four times on the mound ... first-team all-state pitcher and second-team infielder at Kentwood High.

Nick Jiles, Soph. OF: Enters his second 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 ... played in two games last week, but went 0-for-2 ... 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 15 so far ... went 8-for-9 with five walks in three games vs. UC Santa Barbara ... reached base his first 12 plate appearances vs. UCSB ... leads team in batting (.400), hits (20), runs (13), homers (3), walks (12), slugging (.620) and on-base pct. (.516) ... 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 Feb. 28 at Santa Clara ... hit an eighth-inning solo shot on opening day at UC Irvine ... 3-for-13 at Texas A&M series ... has been an off-and-on starter in CF and RF the last three seasons ... also a reliever ... saw first mound action (1 inning) at Texas A&M Feb. 25 ... 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 all four last week, going 4-for-13 (.308) with two doubles ... started two of three at UC Irvine and all three at Santa Clara ... 3-for-11 at Santa Clara ... has thrown out 3-of-11 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 1,647 career chances ... had a big day March 6 vs. UCSB, when he went 3-for-5 with two homers (including a grand slam) and six RBI ... ranks sixth in UW history in hits (218), seventh in RBI (144) and sixth in home runs (26) ... went 2-for-10 in UCI series and 4-for-11 with two doubles at Santa Clara ... 3-for-13 in Texas A&M tournament ... 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 ... 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 ... started last three games at Texas A&M tournament, all at second base and No. 1 in the batting order ... also started at 2B vs. St. Martin's and twice in three games vs. UC Santa Barbara ... four walks in lone start at Santa Clara.

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 ... has started all 15 at SS and has yet to make an error ... hit .500 in four games last week, going 8-for-16 with eight runs scored ... 5-for-5 in March 6 win over UC Santa Barbara ... 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 ... made all-tournament team at Texas A&M, going 5-for-15 with five RBI ... had a three-run double vs. Evansville and a two-run homer vs. San Diego ... .347 career average entering the season ranked sixth in UW history ... also tied for ninth in UW history with 25 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 ... 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 career hit was an RBI single vs. St. Martin's Mar. 2 when he pinch hit for his brother.

D.J. Neyens, Junior C: Had first AB in loss at Texas A&M Feb. 25 ... first UW hit was a single vs. St. Martin's March 2 ... played last two seasons at nearby Edmonds CC, helping Tritons to the NWAACC title his freshman year.

Cory Rickard, Junior OF: Started the season opener in LF (0-for-4) ... started Feb. 20 at Santa Clara ...1-for-2 in start Feb. 28 vs. San Diego ... started one vs. UCSB and hit first homer March 6 ... transfer from Spokane Falls CC.

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) ... made all-tournament team at Texas A&M, going 5-for-15 in five starts ... got a medical redshirt season last year after dislocating his left elbow in a practice.

Mike Rundle, Senior 2B: Transfer from Gonzaga starts second base ... started first 8 at DH ... after missing five straight starts, got back in the order March 6 vs. UCSB and went 3-for-4 with a double and a homer ... 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: Has played in three games and had two ABs ... 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) ... singled in loss at Texas A&M for first hit ... started in 4-1 win over San Diego ... started at DH March 6 and hit first career home run ... went 2-for-3 as starter at 3B March 5 vs. UCSB ... 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.

PROBABLE STARTING PITCHER NOTES (in order):
Tue. -- David Dowling, Senior LHP:
Threw complete-game three-hitter to beat San Diego on Feb. 28, making all tournament at Texas A&M tourney ... got a save Mar. 4 vs. UCSB with three innings (2 hits, 1 run) ... 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 ... 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 ...

Wed. -- 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 ... picked up second straight win Mar. 4 vs. UCSB, allowing no runs on only one hit over 6.0 innings ... struck out 11 vs. UCSB and took no-hitter into sixth inning ... brilliant in 1-0 win at Texas A&M Feb. 27, throwing a two-hit, complete-game (seven innings) shutout ... allowed only one walk while fanning eight and made all-tourney ... 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 over 5.2 ... No. 9 sophomore prospect in the nation and No. 35 college prospect for the 2005 draft by Baseball America ... 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 ... 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.

Thu. -- Matt Kasser, Junior RHP: Threw seven solid innings for no decision Mar. 5 vs. UCSB (7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 K) ... left UCSB game with 5-2 lead ... suffered loss to Evansville on Feb. 27: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 2BB, 2 K ... got a win Feb. 21 at Santa Clara: 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.

Not Starting this week -- Kyle Parker, Sophomore RHP: Won two straight last week, beating St. Martin's Mar. 2 and UCSB Mar. 6 ... vs. St. Martin's, threw four perfect innings for a win (pre-determined four-inning start) ... didn't allow a base runner and fanned five vs. St. Martin's ... got Mar. 6 win over UC Santa Barbara, allowing two runs on four hits over 6.0 innings ... finished last season with a 4-3 record and a 3.84 ERA over 75 innings ... .224 opponent batting average ranked third in the Pac-10 in 2004 ... 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 first start this season, Feb. 12 at UC Irvine, allowing seven runs (only two earned) in two innings for a loss ... took loss Feb. 25 at Texas A&M: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 5 BB, 4 K ... 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 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.

BULLPEN NOTES: Josh Conover (Jr. RHP) didn't allow a run in first 5.0 innings over first five outings in 2005 ... seven appearances leads team ... 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 ... Keaton Everitt (Jr. RHP) got no decision in first action this year, a four-innings start in the UW's 3-0 loss to San Diego ... allowed two runs and no hits in that one ... only managed a third of an inning in Mar. 5 win over UCSB, allowing a run on three hits ... started 10 games and appeared in relief once last year ... went 5-3 with a 5.66 ERA ... redshirted 2002 season ... Nick Hagadone (Fr. LHP) got first action in Mar. 2 win over St. Martin's ... gave up a leadoff homer, but then finished the rest of the inning hitless ... 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) got two big outs with the bases loaded and one out in the Mar. 5 win over UCSB ... pitched twice at Texas A&M tourney and suffered the defeat in the 3-0 loss to San Diego ... 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) ... 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) has been a starting OF for most of his career and starts in RF ... got lone inning thusfar in Feb. 25 loss at Texas A&M, allowing a single but facing the minimum ... walked in the tying run in the ninth Mar. 5 vs. UCSB, but scored the winning run in the bottom of that inning ... had never previously appeared on the mound ... Richie Lentz (So. RHP) saw first action in Feb. 25 loss at Texas A&M, allowing three runs on four hits over two innings of relief ... started eight games and appeared as a reliever in 12 last season ... 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 ... Brandon McKerney (Fr. RHP) played at Meadowdale High for UW baseball alum Ron Martin ... has pitched in four games, allowing two hits and no runs over 2.2 innings ... got a win Mar. 5 vs. UCSB, getting final out of the top of the ninth before UW won in the bottom ... Jordan Ponzoha (Soph. RHP) threw three shutout innings of relief in Mar. 2 win over St. Martin's ... 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.

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