Diamond Dawgs Return To The Road

Feb. 27, 2001

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THIS WEEK: The Washington baseball team (2-1) returns to the road this weekend as it travels to Riverside, Calif., to take on UC Riverside (4-10) in a three-game series. Last week, the Huskies opened the season with three-one run games at the Illini Desert Classic in Tucson, Ariz. Washington beat Brigham Young (6-5) and Kentucky (3-2) before falling 10-9 to Illinois in 12 innings. This Friday's series opener vs. UC Riverside is at 3:00 p.m. while Saturday and Sunday's games both begin at 1:00 p.m. Next week, the Dawgs travel to Corvallis, Ore., to face Oregon State in a pair of non-conference games next Tuesday and Wednesday. Both of those games are slated for 2:00 p.m. starts. The Huskies' home-opening weekend is March 9-11, when Southern Utah comes to Husky Ballpark for a three-game series. Here's a glance at the week's games (with UW starting pitchers):

Fri., March 2: UW at UC Riverside, 3:00 p.m. -- RHP Tyler Shepple (0-0, 3.00)Sat., March 3: UW at UC Riverside, 1:00 p.m. -- RHP Sean White (1-0, 0.00)Sun., March 4: UW at UC Riverside, 1:00 p.m. -- RHP Clay Johnson (0-0, 18.90)

SERIES HISTORY: Washington and UC Riverside have played one another seven times, with all seven meetings over the years coming at the Riverside Invitational Tournament. The Huskies are 2-5 all-time against the Highlanders. The first-ever UCR-UW game took place at the tournament in 1967, with Riverside taking a 2-1 contest. In 1980, the Huskies won the tournament title, beating Riverside 7-4 that time around. The Dawgs would return to the tourney in 1982 and lost to UCR, 7-6. In 1986, Washington fell 10-9. The following year was another Riverside victory, this time 5-2. The last two games between the two foes were both at the 1991 tournament. In the first game, Washington prevailed 5-2 before losing three days later, 8-5. Washington coach Ken Knutson is 0-0 vs. UC Riverside and 8-12 all-time against UC schools.

COACH 'K': In eight seasons as the head coach of his alma mater, Ken Knutson has led the Dawgs to two Pac-10 championships, four Pac-10 Northern Division titles, two second-place finishes and three NCAA Regionals. His career overall record stands at 287-186 (.607). With those 286 wins, he is the second-winningest coach in UW history, trailing only Bob MacDonald (422). 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 139-52 (.728) record in home games. He is 130-80 (.619) in conference games. Knutson has coached 35 first-team All-Pac-10 selections in eight seasons, and has been named league caoch of the year three times. A 1981 All-Pac-10 left-handed pitcher at the UW, he is joined by assistant coaches Joe Ross, Ed Gustafson, and Joe Weis and undergraduate assistant Daniel Jahn.

PROBABLE STARTERS: Here's a look at the probable starters at each position, with 2001 stats and notes:

 Pos. Player, Year         Avg.-HR-RBI  Notes C -- Jefferson Thiel, So.   .500-0-4   1st-team Freshman All-America last season1B -- Bryan Johnson, So.     .200-0-3   Batted .327 with wood bat last summer2B -- Marc Rittenhouse, Sr.  .083-0-0   Co-captain, 12 HRs last yearSS -- Tila Reynolds, So.     .333-0-1   Hit .302 over last 35 games in 20003B -- Michael Done, Jr.      .538-0-2   Batted .538 (7-for-13) last weekendRF -- Tyler Davidson, So.    .000-0-0   Hon. mention freshman All-America in 2000LF -- Jay Garthwaite, So.    .385-0-2   12 HR last season set a UW freshman recordCF --  Ben Miller, Jr.       .400-0-2   Eight hits in last 16 at bats of 2000 seasonCF --  Justin Drake, So.     .000-0-0   Made 20 starts in center field in 2000CF --  Brandon Jacobson, So. .167-0-0   Hit .393 at Bellevue CC in 2000CF -- Andre Marshall, Jr.    .200-0-1   Started first two gamesDH -- Duggan Moran, Sr.      .143-0-1   Switch hitter also plays first base

TRAVEL INFORMATION: The Huskies will depart for the Ontario, Calif., airport Thursday on a 4:30 p.m. flight. While in Riverside, the Dawgs will stay at the Holiday Inn Select -- phone: (909) 784-8000. The Washington team is scheduled to reutrn to Seattle at 10:12 Sunday evening.

CUBA TRIP: Last September, the Husky baseball team travelled to Cuba for a week of baseball. The Dawgs were to play four games against the Cubans, with a fifth game pitting two mixed teams (half Huskies, half Cubans) against one another. Washington went 2-2 against teams made up of Cuban pros and the mixed game was rained out. Washington was the first major college team to play in Cuba.

FRESHMAN HONORS: Throughout the second half of last season, Washington's everyday lineup included four freshmen: RF Tyler Davidson, DH Jay Garthwaite, SS Tila Reynolds and C Jefferson Thiel. All four closed out the year by earning some level of freshman All-America honors for their strong play. Thiel was named the first-team Freshman All-America catcher by USA Today Baseball Weekly. Davidson, Garthwaite and Reynolds each earned honorable mention Freshman All-America by Collegiate Baseball and were also named honorable mention All-Pac-10.

ONE YEAR OLDER: Washington fielded its youngest team since 1996 last season, with four freshmen in the everyday starting lineup and only one senior on the roster. The Huskies are hoping that they can repeat what happened with that young '96 squad, which went on to win Pac-10 Championships in 1997 and 1998. This season, Washington returns 24 players that played last season, plus two redshirts. Offensively, returning players started 66 percent of last year's games, and accounted for 64 percent of the Huskies' at bats, runs and hits. Returners hit 46 of the Dawgs' 67 home runs (69 percent) and stole 51 of 88 stolen bases (58 percent). On the mound, the Huskies are even more experienced. Members of the 2001 roster made 156 appearances last season and accounted for 77 percent (20) of the Huskies' 26 wins and 73 percent of starts (41 of 56). Returning pitchers worked 382 innings (79 percent) and fanned 300 (76 percent).

ONE-RUN FUN: All three of the Huskies' games this year have come down to the wire. In the season opener, the Dawgs entered the bottom of the ninth trailing BYU 5-4. With two outs and runners at first and third, Michael Done singled to drive in the tying run and Jefferson Thiel singled to win it. The following game, vs. Kentucky, the Huskies entered the bottom of the ninth up 3-2. A single, an error and a wild pitch put runners at second and third with no outs, but reliever Scott Robertson got a strikeout, an intentional walk, another strikeout and a groundout to end the game. In the Illinois game, the Huskies had very nearly worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the 12th, but a two-out error allowed the Illini to score the winning run in a 10-9, 12-inning win.

POSITION PLAYER NOTES (in alphabetical order):Tyler Davidson, Soph. OF: Expected to be the Huskies' everyday starter in right field ... began his freshman year last season on the bench, but ended up starting 28 of the last 30 ... cracked the starting lineup April 5 at Washington State, when he went 3-for-4 with a double, a triple, a home run, and an intentional walk in his last at bat ... top batting average (.345) among returning players ... 17 of 38 hits last year were for extra bases ... recorded 34 RBI in only 36 games played ... named honorable mention freshman All-America by Collegiate Baseball.

Michael Done, Junior 3B: Off to a strong start in 2001, leading the team with his .538 (7-for-13) average ... drove in the tying run in the ninth vs. BYU ... started all but two games at third base last season and should hold down that spot again in 2001 ... stole 10 bases on 11 tries last year ... made only 14 errors in 54 games last year.

Justin Drake, Soph. OF: One of several candidates for the starting spot in center field ... started in left vs. Illinois ... scored winning run in 6-5 win over BYU, appearing as a pinch runner ... perhaps the fastest runner on the team ... spent a good portion of last season as the starter in center, starting a total of 20 games.

Jay Garthwaite, Soph. OF: After spending last season as the everyday designated hitter, will start in left field this season ... had a solid opening weekend, going 5-for-13 (.385) with two doubles ... broke the UW freshman home runs record with 12 last season, four more than the old mark ... had off-season surgery to repair the shoulder that had relegated him to DH duties in 2000 ... finished the 2000 season on a nine-game hitting streak, going 13-for-33 (.394) over that span ... known mostly for his power hitting, but also stole nine bases in 12 tries last year ... honorable mention Freshman All-America by Collegiate Baseball.

Greg Isaacson, Freshman IF: A backup at the two middle infield spots ... joined the team after the start of fall practice ... batted .418 with 10 doubles and 26 RBI as a senior at Aberdeen High School.

Bryan Johnson, Soph. 1B: After playing sparingly as a freshman, should be the starter at first base in 2001 ... batted No. 3 in the order in all three games last weekend ... had an outstanding summer with Athletes in Action, batting .327 with a wood bat and leading his team to a fourth-place finish at the NBC World Series ... saw time as a third baseman and as a catcher last year.

Brandon Jacobson, Soph. OF: A candidate to start in center field ... lone starting appearance last weekend came in right field ... batted .393 and led the league in runs and stolen bases last year at Bellevue (Wash.) CC, playing with a wood bat ... led team in runs, doubles, steals, on-base and slugging.

Andre Marshall, Junior OF: A transfer from Walla Walla (Wash.) CC, who will get a chance to start in center field ... started the first two games of this season in center and displayed excellent fielding ... tripled in the season opener vs. BYU ... known for speed and fielding ... drafted by the Oakland A's in the 29th round of the 1999 draft.

Ben Miller, Junior OF: A top candidate to start in center field ... started the Illinois game in center ... drove in the go-ahead run in the 10th vs. Illinois, but the Illini tied it in the bottom of the 10th ... closed out last season by collecting eight hits in his last 16 at bats after starting his career hitless in his first 23 at bats ... first career hit was a two-run homer vs. St. Martin's.

Duggan Moran, Senior 1B/DH: Switch hitter expected to be a regular at designated hitter ... started two of first three at DH ... first career hit (last season vs. Northern Iowa) drove in the tying and winning runs.

John Otness, Freshman IF: A backup at both second base and shortstop ... missed the fall practice season after suffering an injury to his kidney during summer ball ... batted .560 as a senior and was the Tacoma player of the year.

Matt Payne, Freshman IF: A backup at shortstop ... may not be available early due to a broken finger suffered in spring practice ... hit .400 and led the KingCo Conference in doubles as a senior at Issaquah High.

Jeremiah Porter, RS-Freshman OF: One of several players contending for time in the outfield ... red-shirted the 2000 season due to a back injury that eventually required surgery.

Steve Ramsey, Freshman 1B/OF: Will serve as a backup at first base and in the outfield, and also has a good shot to start at DH ... won the KingCo Confererence batting championship with a .517 average last year at Eastlake High School.

Tila Reynolds, Soph. SS: Started first two of 2001, but sprained an ankle and missed Illinois game ... double and triple in six at bats ... tripled in opening run of Kentucky game ... started 50 of 56 games at shortstop as a freshman last year ... honorable mention Freshman All-America ... over the last 35 games of 2000, batted .302 and made only six errors in last 32 games ... fourth in the Pac-10 with nine sacrifice hits ... second on the team with 33 walks and third with 10 stolen bases.

Tim Rice, Junior C: Started 12 games as the backup catcher in 2000 after transferring from Tacoma CC ... expected to vie for the No. 2 spot with Chad Yarbrough this season ... has yet to play in 2001.

Marc Rittenhouse, Senior 2B: Returns for his fourth season as a Husky starter ... co-captain along with Jeff Carlsen ... 12 home runs in 2000 shared the team lead ... had only five homers prior to last season ... second on team with 13 stolen bases and first with 47 walks ... 47 walks ranked third in the Pac-10 ... 10th in UW history in career walks and runs ... career .290 hitter.

Jefferson Thiel, Soph. C: Caught every inning of the opening weekend, and still managed to hit .500 with four RBI ... singled home winning run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth vs. BYU ... started 44 of 56 games as the Husky catcher in 2000 ... named first-team Freshman All-America by USA Today Baseball Weekly ... hit .556 (5-for-9) with two homers during trip to Cuba.

Mike Wagner, Freshman 3B: Will back up at third base and also has a shot to start at DH ... All-KingCo third baseman as a junior and senior at Woodinville High ... over the summer, once strung together 19 consecutive hits ... 0-for-3 in lone start.

Chad Yarbrough, Soph. C: Will compete to back up Jefferson Thiel ... saw action in three games last year, but didn't get a plate appearance ... has yet to play in 2001.

PITCHER NOTES (probable starters first):Tyler Shepple, Sophomore RHP: Outstanding in first career start last Thursday vs. BYU ... threw six innings, allowing two runs on four hits, no walks and five strikeouts ... gave up a two-run homer in the first for only runs ... no decison ... spent last season as a reliever, making 13 appearances and no starts ... posted victories over Wichita State and Gonzaga.

Sean White, Sophomore RHP: Threw seven tremendous innings vs. Kentucky in first start of 2001 ... allowed no runs on three hits, three walks and three Ks ... two hits were infield singles .. made nine relief appearances and three starts as a freshman in 2000 ... first career start came at World Series-bound Stanford ... other starts came at Portland and Wichita State.

Clay Johnson, Freshman RHP: Earned first career start vs. Illinois ... threw 3.1 innings and got no decision ... had a very similar career to fellow Elma High grad Jake Kringen, one of the most successful pitchers in UW history ... like Kringen, led Elma to the state title as a senior and posted a 0.00 ERA as a senior ... league MVP, all-state and MVP of the Washington all-star game.

BULLPEN NOTES: Brian Barton (Soph. RHP) led the UW with 22 appearances in 2000 ... didn't allow a home run in 28.1 innings, while striking out 30 in that span ... may miss the early part of the season after undergoing elbow surgery ... Mike Bomar (Senior LHP) was outstanding in two appearances last weekend ... retired the one batter he faced vs. BYU and then threw 5.2 vs. Illinois ... allowed only two hits and one walk while fanning six ... first 4.2 innings were no-hit ... Jeff Carlsen (Senior RHP) is a likely starter, but may sit out the first week or two while recovering from off-season shoulder surgery ... second on the all-time wins list with 22 career victories ... also ranks in the top five in starts, innings and strikeouts ... 40 starts and only one relief appearances in three seasons ... Zack Daniels (Junior LHP) is another possible starter ... started eight and made only one relief appearance last year ... 4-2 with two wins over Portland and one each over San Francisco and St. Martin's in 2000 ... Matt Gardner (Senior LHP) is fully healthy again after shoulder injury ... came in to face a lefty vs. Kentucky and got a groundout in only appearance of 2001 ... outstanding as a lefty set-up man ... Trevor Gibson (Freshman RHP) was all-league and all-state at Enumclaw High School last season ... a probable future starter for the Huskies ... Taylor Grant (Junior LHP) made 16 relief appearances and four starts in 2000 ... led the Huskies and was third in the Pac-10 with six saves last season ... threw 2.1 relief innings in tough-luck loss to Illnois ... gave up one run (unearned) on one hit and three Ks ... Shawn Kohn (Junior RHP) has two innings over two outings without allowing a run ... made 11 relief appearances in 2000 and 19 in 1999 ... Cam McCoy (Soph. LHP) is a hard-throwing lefty that could go anywhere from starter to closer ... saw 21 relief outings in 2000 ... threw two scoreless innings at Washington State for lone decision (a win) in 2000 ... Jeff Petersen (Freshman RHP) led his team to AAAA state title in 2000 .. all-state as a senior and a 25th-round draft choice ... Scott Robertson (Soph. RHP) nearly had a dream weekend in Tucson ... made only two appearances in all of 2000, but pitched in all three games last weekend ... threw a scoreless ninth for the win over BYU ... worked out of a jam (second and third, no outs) vs. Kentucky for the save ... came in one run up in the 10th vs. Illinois, but gave up a run, ruining a shot at a two-save, one-win weekend ... Randy Vanderplow (Junior RHP) is another pitcher that could start or relieve ... made eight relief outings and one start last season ... has yet to record a decision in his Husky career.

RANDOM NOTES: Of the 40 players on the Washington roster, only five come from outside of the state of Washington -- 3B Michael Done (Colorado), 1B Duggan Moran (Colorado), RHP Tyler Shepple (Colorado), RHP Greg Colburn (Montana) and RHP Randy Vanderplow (California) ... Washington's 40-man roster includes 11 players that have been drafted.

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