WSU Opens Pacific-10 Play With Three Games At California

March 22, 2001

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COUGARS Set FOR PAC-10: The Washington State Cougars, 8-16 following a pair of non-conference losses to Washington, open Pacific-10 Conference play this weekend with three games at California. The Bears are 14-11 overall and 1-2 in league play after a series with Arizona State.

Friday's first game at Evans Diamond begins at 2 p.m., with single games Saturday and Sunday set to begin at 1 p.m.

Cougar head coach Tim Mooney will send Tony Banaszak (2-4) to the mound in the first game at California, with Justin Cayetano (1-1) and Zach Fisher (0-3) expected to start Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

Sophomore Stefan Bailie and senior Mike Knight continue to lead the Cougars at the plate with .368 and .356 batting averages, respectively. The two share the lead with 32 hits, while Bailey's 31 RBI, nine home runs and 25 runs scored all pace WSU batters. Bailie and Bookie Gates also lead the team with seven doubles each.

No other Cougar regular is batting over .300, with the team average at .253. Opponents, meanwhile, are hitting .302 off Cougar pitching.

Tony Banaszak, a junior, is WSU's top starter on the mound with a 4.46 ERA and a 2-4 record. He leads the team in innings pitched with 36.1 and is coming off a four-hit, nine inning complete game win over Oral Roberts.

Zach Fisher also a junior, has a 4.50 ERA in 32.0 innings, but is winless in three decisions. Fisher has made seven mound appearances, with three starts.

In WSU's Pac-10 opening series at California, Cougar head coach Tim Mooney will be looking for a faster start by his Cougar squad, and more hitting from the bottom half of the batting order. WSU, through 24 games, has been outscored 101-62 over the first five innings, while over the final four frames WSU has outscored its opponents 82-52.

Meanwhile, the first four batters in the Cougar lineup are hitting a combined .290, while the last five spots in the order are hitting a .222 clip.

Tuesday, March 20 - Washington 8, WSU 3, Husky Ballpark, Seattle
Wednesday, March 21 - Washington 7, WSU 4, Husky Ballpark, Seattle
*Friday, March 23 - WSU at California, 2:00 p.m. PT, Evans Diamond, Berkeley
*Saturday, March 24 - WSU at California, 1:00 p.m. PT (FOX Sports Net), Evans Diamond, Berkeley
*Sunday, March 25 - WSU at California, 1:00 p.m. PT, Evans Diamond, Berkeley

*Friday, March 30 - WSU vs. UCLA, 3:00 p.m. PT, Bailey-Brayton Field, Pullman
*Saturday, March 31 - WSU vs. UCLA, 1:00 p.m. PT, Bailey-Brayton Field, Pullman
*Sunday, April 1 - WSU vs. UCLA, 1:00 p.m. PT, Bailey-Brayton Field, Pullman

Friday, March 16 - Oral Roberts 4, WSU 1, Johnson Stadium, Tulsa, Okla.
Saturday, March 17 - WSU 7, Oral Roberts 3, Johnson Stadium, Tulsa, Okla.
Sunday, March 18 - WSU 14, Oral Roberts 9, Johnson Stadium, Tulsa, Okla.

* = Pacific-10 Conference game

COUGS ON THE AIR: The remainder of WSU's 2001 baseball schedule will be broadcast on KCLX radio and will also be available via the internet by accessing WSU's web site at Alex Webster will call the action for WSU's games this week at Washington and California.

BAILIE KEEPS HOT PACE: Sophomore Stefan Bailie had an outstanding freshman season last year, hitting a school record 12 homes runs while batting .315 and earning freshman All-America honorable mention honors...this year he has nine home runs in 24 games and a .368 batting two seasons he has 21 home runs, just four short of WSU's Top 10 list, and a .332 batting average, going 90-271.

KNIGHT NEARLY DOUBLES AVERAGE: Senior Mike Knight, who joined WSU last year after stints at Odessa College and Laney College, has nearly doubled his batting average of a year a junior he hit .227 for the Cougs and had no home runs...this year he is batting .356 and has two home runs...he had five RBI last year and has 12 so far this season.

COUGS KEEP IT CLOSE: In 24 games this season, 10 have been determined by more than two runs...WSU is 3-5 in one-run games, 0-3 in two-run games, 1-4 in games determined by three or four runs and 4-4 in games determined by five or more runs...earlier this week WSU lost by five and three runs to Washington.

TOP OF ORDER HITS: WSU's leadoff batters are hitting .286 and the number two spot hits .323, but after that the averages dip...WSU hits .270 in the number three slot and .280 in cleanup, while the number five batters are hitting .236...WSU hits .198 in the number six spot, then .205, .238 and .235 in the next three spots in the batting order...overall, the Cougs hit .290 through the top four spots in the order and .222 combined for the bottom five positions.

TO START OR NOT TO START: Figure this one out...WSU batters, when starting, are hitting .248, while the non-starters are hitting .312...the opponents are more conventional, with their starters hitting .303 and the non-starters .286...on the mound, Cougar starters have an ERA of 6.73 and the non-starting pitchers are at 4.53...for opponents, the starters have a 4.38 ERA and the relief pitchers 6.19.

HITTING STREAKS: Tyson Boston boasts the longest current hitting streak at three games, while Stafan Bailie's nine-game streak earlier in the season is the year's longest for WSU...Evan Hecker, Bookie Gates and Mike Knight have all had seven-game hitting streaks this year... Bailie has 10 multiple-hit games and Knight nine, while Hecker and Gates have seven each...Bailie has had two or more RBI in eight games.

WSU NEEDS TO START PLAYING EARLIER: WSU would be in much better shape if they opened up the offense early in the game...the Cougs have been outscored 101-62 over the first five innings, including 21-9 in the first frame...over the last four innings WSU has an 82-52 run advantage...the Cougs' best innings are the sixth with a 20-11 advantage, and the ninth at 22-5.

ORU SERIES REVIEW: The Cougs hit .245 in the three games at Oral Roberts and won was not a long-ball series, with each team hitting just one home run...the Cougars only had two doubles and one triple among 25 hits...Mike Knight continued his excellent hitting with a .500 average, while Aaron Smith started two games and was 2-for-4 at the plate...Bookie Gates hit .308 while starting all three games, while four other Cougars who played in two games hit .300 or better...on the mound Zach Fisher posted a 1.50 ERA in six innings and Tony Banaszak a 3.00 ERA in his nine-inning outing.

UW SERIES REVIEW: The WSU bats went silent in two losses at Washington, with five errors the Cougar downfall...WSU pitchers had their best series stats of the year...Bookie Gates was the only regular to hit well, going a team WSU hit .133 with just eight hits, while Washington hit .266...only six of Washington's 15 runs were earned...Tyson Thompson started Wednesday and did not allow an earned run while striking out five...Zach Fisher threw five innings Tuesday and struck out six with just one walk...WSU did go 4-for-4 in stolen bases, including two by Knight...Tyson Boston had WSU's only home run.

FROM TIM MOONEY . . . (3/19/01)

OPENING PAC-10 PLAY: 'In some ways, it is exciting because we are 0-0 in the Pac-10. It is a new season. In this league every series, every game, will be a battle. You have to play perfect, make every pitch and every play on defense.'

CALIFORNIA: 'California is playing pretty well right now. They played tough against both Stanford and ASU. Their pitching has been very good and while they may not have the power hitters some of the Pac-10 teams have, they make it real tough to score on them.'

WASHINGTON LOSSES: 'We made errors, but the timing of the errors was critical against Washington. The timing really hurt us. However, we never stopped playing hard. In the first game I thought we hit the ball as hard as Washington, but we hit right at people. In the second game we didn't get as many good at-bats as I thought we would. I expected us to hit better against Washington.'

PITCHING: 'Our pitching has gotten better and better every week. Some of it is they are buying into our philosophy of not beating yourself. We also, as coaches, are doing a better job of getting the right people in the game at the right time. It is a learning curve for the (new) coaches as well as it is for the players.'

COUGS KEEP BATTLING: 'I was real proud of the character of the team at Oral Roberts. They have really done that all year, but it hasn't always turned into wins. We have battled back in every game. We never have quit competing. I was happy they got those wins because they deserved them. '

NEW FACES: 'We used a lot of players in the Oral Roberts series and I think it in some ways made us better. It is not like we have this guy or that guy who clearly is a starter. Each player adds something different to the team and what we have to do is get the right players in the game at the right time.'

FLU HITS TEAM: Evan Hecker, WSU's starting centerfielder, was sick with the flu last week and only played in the first game against Oral Roberts...he returned for the Washington games and will play against addition several other Cougars have been battling the flu, among them Stefan Bailie. 'I think Hecker is out of sync because of the at-bats he has missed,' says Tim Mooney. 'Being a good hitter is like being a good shooter in basketball. Evan needs some good practice at-bats to get back into rhythm.'

SMITH PULLS HAMSTRING: Just when freshman Aaron Smith thought he was going to see action, the Cougar shortstop pulled a hamstring...Smith started the first two games at ORU last week, but was pulled because of the injury during the second his limited duty he was 2-for-4 with one RBI...he saw limited action against Washington and should be ready for California.

THE ASSISTANTS: Tim Mooney's new WSU staff includes Gary Picone, a 1976 graduate of LCSC, and Bobby Lee, who finished up at WSU in 1991 after three years at Eastern Washington. Picone handles the pitchers, while Lee coaches the outfielders and catchers.

105 YEARS OF COUGAR BASEBALL: Baseball, the first sport played at Washington State University in 1892, completed its 105th season of diamond action in 2000...during its first 105 seasons, WSU baseball teams won 64.9% of their games, posting a 2,246-1,237 record...the Cougars did not field baseball teams in 1893-94-95-97.

WSU ON TV: WSU and California will square off March 24 in a regionally televised Pac-10 baseball game from Berkeley. FOX Sports Net will air the addition, FOX Sports Net Northwest will televise a pair of Cougar baseball games, April 6 when WSU hosts Arizona and April 22 when the Cougs visit Oregon State.

WSU ON THE RADIO/INTERNET: The majority of Washington State's baseball games will be broadcast by KCLX (1450 AM) in Colfax, Wash., during the 2001 season...WSU radio broadcasts are handled by Cougar Sports Properties, a sub-division of Learfield Communications...airtime is 20 minutes before the start of the game...Alex Webster or Troy Hirsch will call most of the Cougar broadcast on radio can also be heard on the internet at the WSU web site,

COUGAR BASEBALL RANKS FIFTH IN ALL-TIME NCAA VICTORIES: In a list compiled by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA), Washington State University ranks fifth in all-time NCAA Division I baseball victories with 2,246 prior to the 2001 season.

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