Diamond Dawgs Host Gonzaga In Home Opener

Feb. 21, 2006

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THIS WEEKEND: The Washington baseball team, 5-2 after taking three of four last weekend at Cal State Northridge, opens the home schedule this weekend as Gonzaga (7-3) visits Husky Ballpark for a three-game series. Game time Friday has been moved to 2:00 p.m. (it was originally 6:30). Saturday, first pitch is slated for 2:00 p.m. and Sunday's game begins at 1:00 p.m. Fans can listen to a live audio broadcast and check out live stats of each game via the Dawg Channel at gohuskies.com. The UW is expected to start RHP Tim Lincecum (Fri.), RHP Kyle Parker (Sat.) and LHP Tyler Cheney (Sun.). After the Gonzaga series, the Dawgs travel to Honolulu to participate in a six-game tournament at the University of Hawaii. The tournament features the UW, Hawaii, Arkansas and Texas-Arlington.

Fri., Feb. 24: Gonzaga at UW, NEW TIME: 2:00 p.m. - live audio & stats at gohuskies.com
Sat., Feb. 25: Gonzaga at UW, 2:00 p.m. - live audio & stats at gohuskies.com
Sun., Feb. 26: Gonzaga at UW, 1:00 p.m. - live audio & stats at gohuskies.com

BROADCASTS ON THE WEB: Once again this year, gohuskies.com and the Dawg Channel hope to provide either live video (home only) or live audio of every UW baseball game, presuming that the technical needs can be met at all of the various venues. A schedule for those web-only broadcasts will be posted as it comes along, but if not every game, nearly every game will be available. For information on how to listen to/watch the games, go to gohuskies.com, and click on the multimedia link. Also, 20 Husky games will air live on KKNW AM-1150. Those broadcasts will also be available via the internet. The first scheduled radio broadcasts are the series at California (Mar. 24-26).

SERIES HISTORY: Washington and Gonzaga have squared off 114 times during the two programs' histories, with the UW holding a 64-50 edge in the all-time series. Last year was the first time since 1979 that the Bulldogs and Huskies did not meet on the Diamond. From 1982 to 1995, Gonzaga was a member of the Pac-10's Northern Division in baseball, meaning that the two teams were league foes for those 14 seasons. Since then, they've been regular non-league opponents. The Huskies have won six straight in the series. In 2004, the Dawgs swept the Zags (7-5, 4-3, 3-0) in a sereis played Feb. 20-22 at Husky Ballpark and then won twice in Spokane (10-9, 12-5) later in the season. In 2003, the Zags took the first two (13-2, 16-1) in a series at Husky Ballpark Feb. 21-23, but Washington won the third, 7-3.

COACH 'K': Two seasons ago, Husky 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 13-plus 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 and six NCAA Regionals. His career record now stands at 466-297-2 (.610). Before becoming the head man in 1993, Knutson served as the UW pitching coach for eight seasons. In 1985, his staff led the NCAA with a 2.80 ERA. Knutson holds a 227-97-2 (.699) record in home games. He is 194-136 (.588) in Pac-10 games. He's coached 46 first-team All-Pac-10 selections in 13 seasons, and has been named league coach of the year three times. A 1981 All-Pac-10 pitcher at the UW, he is joined by assistants Joe Ross, Donny Harrel, Tighe Dickinson and undergrad assistant Mike Rundle.

PROBABLE STARTERS: Here's a look at the probable starters at each position, with 2005 stats and notes:

Pos. Player, Year    2006 Avg.-HR-RBI Notes C - Matt Lane, Jr. (1B)    .320-3-9  8 RBI in CS Northridge series; started at 1B on Mon.     Joey Dunn, So.         .200-0-0  Started Sun. at NMSU; doubled in four at bats     D.J. Neyens, Sr.       .000-0-0  Got 1st start of 2006 Monday at CS Northridgel1B - Curt Rindal, Jr.       .227-1-3  Started 6 of 7 at 1B; Started 39 at DH last season2B - Ryan Anderson, So.     .333-1-1  Started all 3 at NMSU, going 6-for-11 at the plate     Bradley Boyer, Fr.     .400-1-4  First Husky hit was a homer Feb. 18 at CS Northridge3B - Matt Stevens, So.      .280-3-6  First Husky since `94 to hit for the cycle Feb. 18 at CSUNSS - Danny Cox, Fr.         .261-0-0  Started all 7 so far at SS; 4-10 in series at NMSUOF - Zach Clem, Sr.        .333-5-12  Five homers in seven games so far; two HRs at CSUNOF - Matt Hague, So. (1B)   .385-0-7  Lack of ABs (14 short) kept him from `05 Pac-10 batting titleOF - Michael Burgher, So.   .190-0-2  Started all three at NMSU as at two at CSUN in centerOF - Brett Kaluza, Fr.      .250-0-1  First Husky hit was an RBI single Sunday at CS NorthridgeOF - Cory Rickard, Sr.      .000-0-0  Senior can play LF, CF, RF, all-league in summer ballUT - Andy Lentz, So.        .176-0-1  Has seen action at third base, center field, first base, DHDH - Jake Rife, Fr.         .154-0-1  Started all four games at CSUN as leadoff hitter; 5 walksDH - Kyle Conley, Fr.       .167-0-1  Started as designated hitter Sunday at NMSU

SQUAD BREAKDOWN: UW's 36-man opening day roster was relatively young this year. The team includes six seniors, six juniors, 11 sophomores and 13 freshmen, meaning 24 of 36 are freshmen or sophomores. Twenty players are returners while 16 are new (13 of those 16 are true freshmen). The UW's returning players have competed in a total of 699 Husky baseball games, and have combined for 1,326 career at bats and 642.1 career innings pitched in a UW uniform.

TOUGH SCHEDULE: Counting those in the 'others receiving votes' category, the preseason Sports Weekly/ESPN coaches' poll ranked 54 teams this season. Washington, which tied with Oklahoma for the No. 38 spot in that poll (if you count into the 'others receiving votes), will play at least 24 games against teams that received votes in the preseason ranking. Those 24 games come against nine different teams, including six conference opponents. The Huskies will play a total of 10 games against four teams ranked in the top 25 in the preseason poll - three each against No. 6 Oregon State, No. 11 Arizona State and No. 18 USC, plus at least one against No. 23 Arkansas. Well-respected baseball web site boydsworld.com ranks the Huskies' schedule as the 20th-toughest in the nation. Also as regards the schedule, the Huskies will play 31 home games this season and 30 on the road. Thirteen of the first 17 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 33 of the 35 players on the preseason roster are from the state of Washington. The only non-Washingtonians on the team is are freshman pitchers Bryce Mooney (Lake Oswego, Ore.) and Geoff Nichols (Portland, Ore.). For those unfamiliar with Northwest geography, both Lake Oswego and Portland are within a few miles of the border with Washington. Of the 33 in-state players, 28 are from the western part of the state (west of the Cascades).

PRESEASON ACCOLADES: The preseason publications offered a mixed forecast for the 2006 Husky Baseball season, but that's not all bad. After all, the Pac-10 preseason coaches' poll, which selected the Dawgs to finish seventh in the conference, made the same prognositcation in 2003, when the Dawgs took third. In 2004, the preseason poll slotted the UW fifth, but the Huskies took second. The Huskies earned 10 points in the Sports Weekly/ESPN coaches' poll, good for a No. 37 ranking. Washington was ranked No. 38 in the Collegiate Baseball preseason top-40. Collegiate Baseball also selected Tim Lincecum a third-team preseason All-American. The NCBWA chose Lincecum as a second-team All-American, while Baseball American put him on the third time. Lincecum also made the Roger Clemens Award watch list. Baseball America, in its lengthy season preview, had a lot to say about the Huskies. Lincecum, along with the All-America recognition, was a preseason-All-Conference pick, the league's No. 9 2006 draft prospect in the Pac-10 and the No. 31 college draft prospect in the nation. Lincecum's breaking ball was also recognized as the best in both the conference and the nation. Fellow junior pitcher Kyle Parker was chosen as the No. 92 draft prospect in the nation while sophomore OF/P Matt Hague was tabbed a preseason All-Pac-10 first-teamer and the No. 39 sophomore player in the country. Finally, SS Danny Cox was listed as the nation's 42nd-best freshman.

POSITION PLAYER NOTES (in alphabetical order):
Ryan Anderson, Sophomore IF:
Started all three at second base at NMSU and twice at CSUN ... went 6-for-11 with five runs during NMSU weekend ... hit first career homer opening day at NMSU ... played in 13 games last season and went 5-for-12 at the plate ... batted .390 with the Everett (Wash.) Merchants during summer ball.

Brian Bauer, Senior IF: Returns to the team after taking last year off ... made two appearances off bench at 3B at NMSU and at CSUN ... 4-for-14 combined in two previous UW seasons ... played at San Diego State in 2002.

Bradley Boyer, Freshman 2B: Started two games at Northridge at 2B, going 4-for-9 with a homer and 4 RBI ... first college hit was a homer Feb. 18 at CSUN ... tripled in next AB that same game ... played in one game at NMSU ... three-time all-area selection at Enumclaw High ...

Michael Burgher, Sophomore OF: Started all 3 games at NMSU and 2 more at CSUN ... had two-run single to tie the game at 3-3 in the fifth Feb. 10 at New Mexico State ... played in 26 games, starting seven, as a freshman last year, seeing time in CF and as a pinch runner ... srated twice in USC series.

Nick Burnham, Senior OF: Has already scored four runs in only two games and three at bats ... started three games in 2004 and 19 last year, primarily in center ... went 6-for-20 over the first three weekends of last season.

Zach Clem, Senior OF: Hit two more homers during Northridge series and has five in season's first seven games ... hit HRs Feb. 19 and 20 at Northridge, including a ninth-inning, two-run shot Feb. 20, which gave UW a 7-6 lead ... had a big weekend at New Mexico State, hitting three homers and driving in nine runs ... hit a grand slam and a three-run homer opening day (Feb. 11) ... provided the winning run with an RBI single Feb. 11 and the winning run with a solo homer Feb. 12 ... the most veteran offensive player on the team, Clem will start in left field again this season ... batted .332 with team-high (tied) eight homers last year despite battling injuries ... started 107 of a possible 118 games the last two-plus years (2004-06) ... holds UW single-season and career records for hit by pitch with 24 and 40, respectively ... an All-Pac-10 first-teamer in 2004 and an honorable mention selection last year.

Kyle Conley, Freshman OF: Got first start as the DH Feb. 12 at NMSU ... played in two games in the series and in two more at CSUN ... first hit was a single Feb. 20 ... along with fellow freshman Tyler Cheney, led Richland High to the 4A state title last year ... all-state first-teamer as a senior outfielder and pitcher ... national runner-up in summer ball.

Danny Cox, Freshman SS: Started all seven thusfar at shortstop ... went 4-for-10 in the NMSU series and played error-free defense ... hit .438 with 28 RBI and 10 doubles as a senior at W.F. West High ... drafted by Minnesota in the 34th round of the 2005 draft.

Joey Dunn, Soph. C: Started Feb. 12 game at New Mexico State and also played on Feb. 10 ... doubled in four at bats on Feb. 12 ... started 29 games last year, all behind the plate ... due to an injury to Matt Lane, started 21 of the season's last 22 games, including 19 Pac-10 games ... won a league title with Wenatchee (Wash.) over summer.

Jesse Ferguson, Junior OF: Spent last two years at Clemson after one season at Bellevue (Wash.) CC ... helped Clemson to NCAA Super Regionals last year ... all-NWAACC at BCC in 2003 ... redshirted 2004 season.

Matt Hague, Freshman OF/P/1B: Started all seven so far in RF and played some 1B late in the Feb. 10 game ... 5-for-13, 3 RBI in NMSU series; 5-13, 4 RBI at CSUN ...also a reliever, but has yet to appear in 2006 ... moved into the starting lineup at midseason last year and caught fire, batting .419 with eight homers and 34 RBI in 124 at bats ... needed 138 at bats to qualify for the Pac-10 batting rankings, but even with the requisite number of at bats (and no more hits), would have batted .377 (would have been fifth in Pac-10) ... a preseason All-Pac-10 selection by Baseball America ... a second-team freshman All-America and honorable mention All-Pac-10 last year.

Jeff James, Junior 1B: Expected backup at 1B and pinch hit in first season at UW ... originally attended Cal Baptist (redshirted) before two seasons at Bellevue (Wash.) CC ... grandson of former UW football coach Don James.

Brett Kaluza, Freshman OF: Started in CF Feb. 19 at CSUN and drove in one of two UW runs in a 2-1 win ... played in one game at NMSU (Feb. 10), but no ABs ... named Seattle Times' Eastside Athlete of the Year as a senior at Skyline High ... runner-up in state in football and baseball as a senior.

Matt Lane, Junior C: Started 2 of 3 games at NMSU and all four at CSUN (3 at C, 1 at 1B) ... 4-for-15, 2 HRs, 8 RBI in CSUN series ... five RBI in 7-3 win at CSUN Feb. 17 ... solo homer in first AB of the season ... 4-for-10 in NMSU series ... the Huskies' No. 1 catcher last year before a knee injury April 8 ... didn't return to lineup until May 14, and then as DH only ... closed out his sophomore year with a bang, belting three homers in the season-ending three-game series at UCLA ... had a two-homer, seven-RBI game vs. Arizona last year.

Andy Lentz, Soph. IF/OF: Started first two games of season at DH ... also pinch hit and played CF Feb. 12 at NMSU ... started at 3B and CF at CS Northridge and played some first Feb. 20 ... like last year, could see action anywhere but C or P ... started 13 games last year at 2B, LF an CF ... younger brother of UW sophomore P Richie Lentz and former third baseman Ryan Lentz.

Matt Miller, Freshman OF: Freshman will push for time in crowded outfield ... drafted by Atlanta in 25th round in 2005 ... batted .450 with six homers, 21 RBI and 20 runs in 20 games as a senior at Redmond High.

D.J. Neyens, Senior C: Got first start of '06 Feb. 20 at CSUN ... played in 16 games with one start last year, going 3-for-8 at the plate ... played previous two seasons at nearby Edmonds CC, helping Tritons to the NWAACC title his freshman year and a third-place finish his sophomore season.

Trevor Petersen, Freshman 1B: Three-time team captain at Seattle Christian High ... state 1A co-MVP as a senior, when he batted .609 with 11 homers and 33 RBI in 17 games.

Cory Rickard, Senior OF: Saw action off the bench Feb. 10 at NMSU and in 3 of 4 at CS Northridge ... played in 21 games, starting 10, last season ... top day was a 4-for-6 outing April 9 at UC Riverside.

Jake Rife, Freshman OF: Started all four at CSUN as leadoff and DH ... 2-for-12 with five walks in the CSUN series ... batted over .450 in each of his last three seasons at Lakewood High ... 2A state MVP as a senior.

Curt Rindal, Junior 1B: Started all 3 at NMSU and 3 of 4 at CSUN at 1B ... 2-for-4 with a solo homer in Feb. 11 win ... has emerged as the No. 1 choice at 1B after spending most of last season as the top-choice DH ... started 38 games at DH and one at first ... named Pac-10 Player of the Week after WSU series last year, (8-for-15, 3 HR, 12 RBI).

Matt Stevens, Soph. 3B: Became first Husky since Jon Vander Griend (1994) to hit for the cycle Feb. 18 at CS Northridge ... went 5-for-6 with a single, double, triple, two home runs and four RBI in the game ... was 1-for-11 oon the season prior to that breakout day ... also homered in Feb. 20 game at Northridge ... Pac-10 Player of the Week (Feb. 21) ... has started 6 of 7 at 3B ... played in 14 games, starting seven, last year ... was just starting to become a regular when he broke a bone in his hand in late March ... started at 3B, RF, LF and DH ... 8-for-29 (.276) at the plate as a freshman.

PROBABLE STARTING PITCHER NOTES:
Fri. - Tim Lincecum, Junior RHP:
Broke the UW career strikeouts record Feb. 17 at CS Northridge when he fanned a career-high-tying 15 in 6.0 IP ... now has 312 career Ks, breaking the old mark of 303 (Jeff Heaverlo, 1997-99) ... got the win at CSUN, allowing one run on three hits ... named National Pitcher of the Week by Collegiate Baseball after performance at CSUN ... didn't figure in the decision opening day at New Mexico State: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K ... named either a second or third-team All-American by all the preseason publications heading into the 2006 season ... entered his junior year with a carer record of 18-9 and a 3.32 earned run average ... including first start in `06, has struck out 297 and allowed only 150 hits in 221.2 career innings ... already has the top two single-season totals in Husky history: 161 in 2004 and 131 last year ... also could break several other UW career marks this season as he ranks sixth in wins with 19 (record is 27), seventh in career starts with 36 (record is 49) and 10th in career innings with 227.1 (record is 283.1) ... drafted by the Cubs in 2003 and by the Indians last season ... led the Pac-10 last season with a .179 opponent batting average ... over the summer, led the Cape Cod League with a 0.69 ERA and a .104 opponent batting average ... allowed only 14 hits and 11 walks while fanning 68 in 39.1 innings for the Harwich (Mass.) Mariners ... All-Pac-10 first-team selection last year when he was 8-6 with 3.11 ERA ... Pac-10 Pitcher and Freshman of the Year in 2004 ... Collegiate Baseball's National Freshman of the Year in 2004 ... has the best breaking pitch in the nation, according to Baseball America's season preview ... career-high 15 strikeouts came in a six-inning outing Mar. 12, 2004 vs. Loyola Marymount ... had a 14-K outing last season vs. Pacific in which he fanned 10 in the first three innings ... the Gatorade state player of the year for Washington in 2003 ... led Liberty High to the 3A state title and was the state's 3A MVP and first-team all-state pitcher ... as a HS senior, posted a 12-1 record and a 0.70 ERA while striking out 183 batters in 91.2 innings.

Sat. - Kyle Parker, Junior RHP: Got the win Feb. 11 at New Mexico State: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 K ... no decision in UW win at CS Northridge Feb. 18, when he went only 1.2 ... has spent the better part of the last two seasons as a regular in the starting rotation ... has made 25 career starts and as a 12-10 career won-lost record ... 8-7 last year after a 4-3 freshman season ... opponents have batted only .248 off of him during his career ... had a solid summer with the Harwich Mariners in the Cape Cod League, going 3-3 with a 2.30 ERA ... named the nation's No. 92 college draft prospect by Baseball America magazine ... in summer, 2004, pitched a five-hit shutout in the championship game of the National Baseball Congress World Series to lift Aloha (Ore.) to the title.

Sun. - Tyler Cheney, Freshman LHP: Threw 7.2 shutout innings for win at CS Northridge Feb. 19, allowing five hits and no walks with two Ks ... pitched well in first career start Feb. 12 at NMSU, but no decision: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 1 K ... teamed with Husky classmate Kyle Conley to lead Richland High to the 4A (highest level) state championship last year ... in the state tournament, threw a two-hit shutout in the semifinal game before hitting a two-run homer in the championship, a 2-1 win over Skyline ... named the state's 4A MVP and was a first-team all-state pick as both a first baseman and pitcher.

BULLPEN NOTES: Elliott Cribby (So. RHP) got third save in 2-1 win Feb. 19 at CS Northridge ... earned a save with two no-hit innings Feb. 17 at CSUN ... took a tough-luck loss on opening day, allowing only one run in 3.1 relief innings ... picked up a save Feb. 12 at NMSU with two innings of hitless relief ... played one season (2004) at Columbia Basin CC, but missed 2005 due to injury ... 3-0 with 1.24 ERA in 2004 .. helped Wenatchee (Wash.) to the West Coast Collegiate Baseball League title last summer, going 3-0 with a 1.00 ERA after recovering from injury ... Jason Erickson (Fr. RHP) got the win at CSUN Feb. 18, allowing one unearned run over 2.2 IP ... Seamount League MVP as a HS senior ... two-time all-league pitcher and also an all-league SS ... drafted by the Reds in the 45th round in 2005 ... Adrian Gomez (Fr. LHP) saw first action Feb. 18 at CSUN (1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 4 Ks) ... was a four-time all-league selection at Prairie High ... league MVP as a junior and senior .. 6-2, 0.91 ERA as a senior ... Nick Hagadone (So. LHP) has four appearances in 2006, already double last year ... threw 2.2 IP Feb. 20 at CSUN, allowing an unearned run on one hit ... worked 0.2 scoreless innings in Feb. 11 win at NMSU and again Feb. 17 at CSUN ... pitched in games vs. Utah Valley State and St. Martin's last year (0-0, 4.50) ... 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 (So. RHP) saw action out of the bullpen during the first part of last year, but a hot bat moved him into the lineup and he saw little mound action in the second half of the year ... nonetheless, appeared in 13 games, going 1-2 with a 6.52 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 19.1 innings ... first-team all-state as a pitcher in high school, when he led Kentwood to the 2004 4A state title ... Nick Haughian (Fr. LHP) got a save Feb. 18 at CSUN with 2.1 hitless IP, 3 Ks ... pitched twice at NMSU, combining for two innings of scoreless relief ... earned the save in 5-3 win at NMSU on Feb. 11 ... posted a 20-1 career record in high school ... struck out 114 in 61.2 innings his senior year ... Matt Kasser (Sr. RHP) started Feb. 20 at CSUN (no decision, 4.1 IP) ... pitched twice in relief at NMSU ... the lone senior on the UW pitching staff ... started in 12 of 15 appearances last season ... had a solid summer with the Fairbanks (Alaska) Goldpanners, notching a 5-0 record with a 2.05 ERA ... Richie Lentz (So. RHP) threw only two innings last year before undergoing 'Tommy John' surgery ... won't be ready for the start of the season, but continues to progress and could return soon ... one of the nation's hardest throwers prior to surgery ... pitched in 20 games (8 starts) as a freshman, when he fanned 52 in 49.2 innings ... Brandon McKerney (So. RHP) has four appearances, good for 3.1 innings of no-hit relief ... led the Huskies with 25 appearances as a freshman last season ... started two games and relieved in 23 others ... 25 appearances tied for seventh-most in UW history ... earned All-Pac-10 honorable mention ... posted a 4-0 record and a 3.89 ERA as a true freshman in 2005 ... Bryce Mooney (Fr. RHP) allowed one run in an inning Feb. 20 at CS Northridge ... got the win Feb. 12 at NMSU, fanning four in 1.2 innings ... also worked one inning Feb. 10 at NMSU ... earned first-team all-league as a pitcher and infielder last year at Lake Oswego High outside Portland, Ore. ... posted an 11-2 record with a 1.22 ERA as a senior ... helped team to a state championship his junior year ... Geoff Nichols (Fr. RHP) saw his first action Feb. 20 at CS Northridge, facing one batter ... earned All-Metro first-team honors as a senior at Portland's Jesuit High last year ... notched an 8-2 record for his summer team, helping it to a regional championship.

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