WSU Opens Pacific-10 Play Thursday At California

March 22, 2005

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THIS WEEK: *Thursday, March 24 - WSU vs. California, 2 p.m., Evans Diamond, Berkeley, Calif.
*Friday, March 25 - WSU vs. California, 1 p.m., Evans Diamond, Berkeley, Calif.
*Saturday, March 26 - WSU vs. California, 1 p.m., Evans Diamond, Berkeley, Calif.
*Indicates a Pacific-10 Conference game.

NEXT WEEK: #Monday, March 28 - WSU vs. University of British Columbia, 3 p.m., Bailey-Brayton Field
Tuesday, March 29 - WSU vs. Gonzaga, 6 p.m., Bailey-Brayton Field, Pullman
*Friday, April 1 - WSU vs. Stanford, 6 p.m., Bailey-Brayton Field, Pullman
*Saturday, April 2 - WSU vs. Stanford, 1 p.m., Bailey-Brayton Field, Pullman
*Sunday, April 3 - WSU vs. Stanford, Noon, Bailey-Brayton Field, Pullman
# - Exhibition game; does not count in WSU record, but counts in UBC record.

LAST WEEK: Friday, March 18 - WSU 11, Utah Valley State 2, Bailey-Brayton Field, Pullman
Saturday, March 19 - WSU 9, Utah Valley State 3, Bailey-Brayton Field, Pullman
Saturday, March 19 - Utah Valley State 14, WSU 4, Bailey-Brayton Field, Pullman
Sunday, March 20 - WSU 16, Utah Valley State 13, Bailey-Brayton Field, Pullman

The Washington State Cougars, winners of seven of their last nine games, open Pacific-10 Conference play at California this week in a three-game series beginning Thursday.

WSU takes a 15-10 record into league play after winning three of four games last weekend at home against Utah Valley State.California, meanwhile, is 16-9 overall after winning three of four games at Hawaii-Hilo last weekend.

Thursday's series opener is slated for 2 p.m. at Evans Diamond on the California campus, while single games Friday and Saturday begin at 1 p.m. each day.

Junior Jay Miller earned Pac-10 Player of the Week accolades after hitting .688 in the UVSC series. Miller collected 11 hits in 16 at-bats, belted three doubles, one triple and one home run last weekend. The Bellevue native drove home six runs and stole three bases. He also took the team batting lead hitting .376 overall.

Five other Cougar regulars are hitting over .300. As a team WSU is ranked third in the Pac-10 hitting .315.

Jim Murphy, the Cougars' freshman first baseman, is hitting .367 and has hit five home runs. Third baseman Zach McAngus is hitting .356, outfielder Kaeo Rubin .354, catcher Brady Everett .345 and designated hitter Zach Kosturos .307.

WSU outfielders Miller, Rubin and Jason Freeman are hitting a combined .333.

Wayne Daman Jr. and Jimmy Freeman continue to pace WSU pitchers. They are a combined 10-0, with Freeman 6-0. Daman Jr. boasts a 2.04 earned run average and Freeman is at 2.05.

Freeman tops the mound staff with 42 strikeouts and just 18 walks in a team-leading 44.0 innings, while Daman Jr. has struck out 26 batters and walked 12 in 39.2 innings of work.

Eric Dingwall, a junior transfer, has thrown 12.0 innings in six relief appearances and has a 0.75 earned run average with 13 strikeouts.

COACH MARBUT TALKS ABOUT COUGS: 'We are anxious to start Pac-10 play. Our level of play needs to pick up to be successful in California.

We are playing in the best conference in the nation so it's time for us to sharpen up our game.'

NOTEWORTHY COUGARS
Jay Miller: Miller regained the team batting lead after hitting .688 against UVSC...batting .376 this season and .353 for his career...went 11-for-16 in the four-game series last weekend, including three doubles, one triple and a home run...scored six runs, while driving home six for a 1.188 slugging percentage...went 4-for-5 Sunday, just a double short of hitting for the cycle...tied for sixth among Pac-10 batters with 32 hits, which leads the team, and seven stolen bases...tied for second on team in doubles (7) and triples (1)...scored 20 times and driven home 20 runs...currently riding a six-game hitting streak...leads team with 11 multiple hit games, fourth with five multiple RBI contests...started all 25 games this year and 130 of 135 career games...led Cougar batters the last two-years...in career has 183 hits, 103 runs, 41 doubles and 98 RBI.

Jim Murphy: The freshman has hit over .400 the last three weekends, including .417 against UVSC...went five-for-12 with three homers, while scoring five runs...drove home four runs for a 1.167 slugging percentage...leads team with .714 slugging percentage....second on team with .367 batting average and five home runs, tying him for eighth among Pac-10 batters...scored 13 runs and plated 13 Cougs in 17 games...has 15 starts, all at first base, with 132 putouts.

Brady Everett: Hitting .345 this season...leading team with 32 RBI and six home runs...has 30 hits, including five doubles and 25 runs...ranked in several categories among Pac-10 batters, including RBI (2nd), home runs (t-4th), runs scored (t-6th), and total bases (t-10th)...went 5-for-15 against UVSC with two home runs, nine RBI and four runs...has hit three two-run home runs this year and one grand slam...the catcher leads the team with 148 putouts, making two errors for a .989 fielding percentage.

Kaeo Rubin: Rubin's bat is warming up as he heads into Pac-10 play after hitting .385 against UVSC and .714 the series before...he is batting .354 this season, improving from a .278 average two weeks ago...drove home seven runs against Wolverines, going 5-for-15, including three doubles and one long ball...leads team with 35 hits and is tied for first with 25 runs...tied for tenth among Pac-10 opponents with seven doubles...is second on team with 10 multiple hit games...started all 80 games played wearing the crimson pinstripes.

Jimmy Freeman: WSU is 7-0 when Freeman (6-0) starts on the mound...allowed one run against UVSC in 6.0 innings, posting a 1.50 ERA...gave up four hits and walked four...fanned 42 batters this season, ranking seventh among Pac-10 hurlers...has struck out 42 and allowed 30 hits...holding opponents to a .192 batting average...has a 3.32 career ERA with 59.2 innings of work.

Wayne Daman Jr.: Daman Jr. (4-0) posted a 1.50 ERA Saturday against the Wolverines, allowing two runs, one earned in 6.0 innings...struck out four batters, allowing seven hits...started six games in eight appearances this season...No. 9 in Pac-10 with 39.2 innings pitched...struck out 26 batters this season, allowing 29 hits and 13 runs, nine earned.

Zach Kosturos: Leads team with 13 extra base hits, including team best 10 doubles and two triples...recorded four hits, including two doubles, hitting .333 last week...batting .307 this season with 23 hits, 16 RBI and 14 runs scored...holds longest team hitting streak at 12 games, has made 21 starts in 22 appearances.

WITH FREEMAN AND DAMAN Jr. ON THE MOUND: WSU starting pitchers Jimmy Freeman and Wayne Daman Jr. are a combined 10-0...the Cougs are 7-0 when Freeman starts and 5-1 when Daman starts...the two are ranked fifth and sixth, respectively, among Pac-10 pitchers, with Daman Jr. posting a 2.04 ERA and Freeman at 2.05...Freeman is ranked first in the conference with six wins, Daman is tied for third with four...the pair account for 83.2 of the 222.2 innings the Cougar bullpen has pitched this season....opponents are hitting .192 against Freeman and .203 against Daman Jr., placing them sixth and eighth among Pac-10 pitchers...when Freeman sets the tone of the game the WSU bullpen has held opponents to a 1.83 ERA, allowing 17 runs, 13 earned, and 42 hits...Cougar pitchers are posting a 2.85 ERA when Daman Jr. starts, allowing 47 hits and 21 runs, 17 earned, while fanning 32 batters...Daman Jr. has two shut out appearances this season (1.0 inning Feb. 4 and 6.0 innings March 12) and one save...Freeman pitched one scoreless game this season, going 7.0 innings March 3 against Gonzaga.

FREEMAN IN GOOD COMPANY: Jimmy Freeman has started 6-0...five WSU pitchers have started the season with a 6-0 record since 1988, including John Olerud, Aaron Sele, Bryce Chamberlin, Ed Gustafson, and David Wainhouse...last year Chamberlin started 6-0, finishing 8-3 overall...Sele started 7-0 in 1990 and finished 12-3...Gustafson went 8-0 in 1989, recording a 8-2 overall record...Olerud went 15-0 in 1998, while Wainhouse finished 7-0 the same year.

BATTLE FOR THE BATTING TITLE: The Cougar regular with the best overall batting percentage the Monday after a weekend series has changed four times this season...Zach McAngus and Jay Miller have battled back and forth for the lead...McAngus is edging out Miller, leading the team for four weeks to Miller's three...Miller led WSU after its first weekend of play, boasting his highest average of the year, .429... McAngus took the lead the following weekend, hitting .500, which is the highest batting average of any regular this spring...when McAngus has led he's hit .415 (2/21/05), .364 (3/07/05 and 3/14/05)...Miller led with .404 (2/28/05) and .376 (3/21/05) averages...McAngus is currently third among Cougar regulars with a .356 average...Jim Murphy jumped to second on the team with a .367 batting average...the freshman was in the lead after Saturday's doubleheader, hitting .378, but Miller's 4-for-5 performance Sunday pushed him past the rookie.

GOING THE DISTANCE: Brady Everett leads the Cougars with six home runs, but freshman Jim Murphy is right behind him with five...Everett hit a two-run long ball the first game of the season and then hit a grand slam two days later, recording three in the first month of play...Murphy hit his first and second home runs March 3 and 4...went yard in each of first three games last weekend...Everett and Murphy were tied with four home runs apiece after the first game Saturday...both hit long balls in the nightcap, but the senior catcher regained the lead with a two-run long ball Sunday.

PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Bellevue, Wash. native, Jay Miller was named the Pacific-10 Conference Player of the Week for his .688 hitting performance last weekend...went 11-for-16 against Utah Valley State, including three doubles, a triple and a homer...scored six runs, while driving home as many and stole base three times...with his performance he improved his overall batting average from .318 to .376, which leads the team...he is the first Cougar to receive the weekly honor this season.

IN THE CLUTCH: Nine Cougars are hitting .300 or better with runners on base, including Jay Miller, who is hitting .448 to lead the team...Jim Murphy is batting .417 and Zach Franklin is hitting .400 with runners on base...Brady Everett and Jay Miller are hitting .500 with the bases loaded...Jay Miller is hitting at a .526 clip with runners in scoring position, while Murphy is hitting .467...Cougar hitters are scoring runners from third with two out situations 69.8 % of the time...in that position, Everett has plated runners 11 out of 13 times and Jeff Miller has done it 11 of 14 opportunities...with two outs Jay Miller has plated runners 10 times and Kosturos eight times...McAngus is perfect in that position, scoring runners five times....WSU is successful advancing runners 52.9% of the time and Murphy is the leader 64% of the time.

RUBIN SETS AND TIES WSU RECORDS: During the course of the Banana Belt Tournament and the following series against Northern Colorado Rubin set a school record with hits in nine consecutive trips to the plate...tied a school record set in 1992 with hits in 10 consecutive at bats, not counting walks...the record was originally set by current Cleveland Indian Mike Kinkade...went 6-for-6 March 11 tying a school record for hits in a game set in 1907...Rubin used hits over three-game span to set and tie school records...had two hits sandwiched around a walk March 6...hit in first two plate appearances, going 3-for-4 March 12 against Northern Colorado...had 11 hits with three doubles and five RBI in the three-game span.

PAC-10 TEAMS RANK AMONG BEST: Five of WSU's conference opponents are nationally ranked in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper poll...four are on the Baseball America top-25 list...Collegiate Baseball Newspaper ranks conference opponents as follows; Stanford 11th, Oregon State 14th, Arizona 16th, USC 27th and Washington 32nd...the Cardinal are also the highest ranked Pac-10 team in the Baseball America poll, placing No. 12...Arizona is No. 13 according to Baseball America, while Oregon State is ranked 18th and USC is No. 23 on the list...Arizona State received votes in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper poll.

WSU ALL-TIME BANANA BELT CHAMPS: Since the Banana Belt Tournament started in 1950 WSU has won the title 20 times, including the last two...host LCSC has captured the tournament title 19 times...the last time WSU won the Banana Belt Tournament in consecutive years was 1979 and 1980...the longest WSU streak for consecutive Banana Belt titles is four years, 1963 through 1966...WSU has placed second 11 times...and won titles in 1950, 1951, 1961, 1963-66, 1969-71, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1979-80, 1982, 1988, 1990, 2004 and 2005.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: During the first five weeks of the 2005 season, the Cougars played 18 games in five different states...WSU started the season in Sacramento, Calif., going 1-2 against Sac State...WSU then went 2-1 against Southeastern Louisiana in Hammond...played in Pasco, splitting the series 2-2 against Portland...then traveled to Hawai'i, splitting the four-game series...finished in Lewiston, Idaho, taking the Banana Belt Tournament championship with a 3-1 record...in the first five weeks the Cougars traveled roughly 16,000 miles round trip.

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 outing of the season...the Cougars lost 7-6 to LCSC at the start of the 1975 season.

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.

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.

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 Donnie Marbut.

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

THE EDMONDS CC 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.

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 this season has returned to his natural position in the outfield.

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.

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.

MARBUT IN GOOD COMPANY: Don Marbut is the ninth WSU head coach to win his first baseball game as a Cougar and the first since Bobo Brayton beat Gonzaga 9-4 March 22, 1962, beginning his illustrious 33-year WSU career...Marbut beat Sacramento State 8-7 to open his WSU career...the eight other WSU head coaches who won their first games are 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).

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