Diamond Dawgs Open 2002 Slate In Phoenix

Feb. 11, 2002

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THIS WEEKEND: The Washington baseball team, ranked No. 24 in Baseball America's preseason rankings, takes to the road to open the 2002 season this week as the Huskies play five games in the Spring Training Tournament in Phoenix, Ariz., site of the Oakland Athletics' spring training complex. The season gets underway Thursday as the Dawgs take on Missouri at Municipal Stadium at 7:00 p.m. (all times Mountain Standard). Friday, the Huskies square off against Northwestern at 3:00 p.m. at Papago Park. Saturday, Washington plays Northwestern at 10:00 a.m. and the University of British Columbia at 2:00 p.m. -- both at Papago. Sunday, the weekend comes to a close as the UW faces Missouri once again at 12:30 p.m. at Municipal Stadium. All three opponents are playing their first games of the year this weekend. Next weekend (Feb. 22-24), the Huskies travel to Beiden Field to face Fresno State in a three-game series. After a road game Feb. 26 at Portland, the Dawgs open the home slate vs. Utah at Husky Ballpark March 1-3. Here's a look at this weekend's games in Phoenix, with probable UW starting pitchers (2001 statistics):

Thu., Feb. 14: UW vs. Missouri, 7:00 p.m. -- RHP Shawn Kohn (6-2, 2.57)
Fri., Feb. 15: UW vs. Northwestern, 3:00 p.m. -- RHP Clay Johnson (4-4, 6.16)
Sat., Feb. 16: UW vs. Northwestern, 10:00 a.m. -- RHP Sean White (3-3, 5.80)
Sat., Feb. 16: UW at British Columbia,, 2:00 p.m. -- TBA
Sun., Feb. 17: UW at Missouri,, 12:30 p.m. -- RHP Randy Vanderplow (2-1, 8.38)

SERIES HISTORY: Washington has never played vs. either Missouri or British Columbia, though the Huskies will play Missouri again later this season when they travel to Columbia for a three-game series April 5-7. The Huskies are 1-1 vs. Northwestern. In 2000, the Dawgs faced the Wildcats in this same tournament at Papago Park, losing 2-1 in a scheduled seven-inning game. The Huskies were held to only two hits while NU managed only five behind a complete-game effort from Gabe Ribas. Michael Done drove in the Huskies' only run with a single in the fifth. In 1991, the Huskies beat the 'Cats, 4-1, in Seattle's Kingdome.

COACH 'K': In nine 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 314-208 (.601). With those 314 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 153-62 (.712) record in home games. He is 137-97 (.585) in conference games. Knutson has coached 35 first-team All-Pac-10 selections in nine 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, Travis Jewett, and Gregg Swenson and undergraduate assistants Daniel Jahn and Duggan Moran.

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

Pos. Player, Year      '01 Avg.-HR-RBI Notes C - Ben Johnson, So.      .229-2-8   Started 21 games at C as a freshman     Aaron Hathaway, Fr.    1st year  All-state player at Columbia River HS1B - Bryan Johnson, Jr.    .289-4-33  Started all but three games in 2001     Kyle Larsen, Fr.       1st year  14th-round draft pick by Florida in 20012B - Michael Done, Sr.     .342-7-36  Moves to 2B after starting at 3B last two yearsSS - Tila Reynolds, Jr.    .286-6-31  Rated No. 48 jr. prospect by Baseball America3B - John Otness, So.      .301-0-15  Started 26 at 2B last season, only two E in '01     Mike Wagner, So.      .226-0-8   Saw action in 23 games last yearOF - Tyler Davidson, Jr.   .337-6-42  Cape Cod League all-star last summerOF - Jay Garthwaite, Jr.   .303-5-46  Started 50 of 52 last year, mostly in LFOF - Brandon Jacobson, Jr. .277-3-9   Was batting .409 before injury in 2001DH - Steve Ramsey, So.     .308-0-2   Three of his four hits in '01 were doubles

TRAVEL INFO: The Huskies' 30-player travel squad leaves for Phoenix Wednesday evening, departing Sea-Tac Airport at 6:51 p.m. and arriving in Phoenix at 10:35 p.m. While in Phoenix, the Huskies will stay at the Chaparral Suites Resort in Scottsdale (phone: (480) 949-1414). The Huskies return to Seattle on Sunday, Feb. 17, arriving at Sea-Tac at 7:52 p.m.

LID-LIFTERS: The Huskies have fared only marginally well in season-opening games over the last 10 seasons, winning four and losing six. Last year, Washington opened the season at a tournament in Tucson, Ariz., with a barn-burner. Down 5-1 to Brigham Young, the Huskies scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh and two more with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to pull out a 6-5 win. This season's Feb. 14 date for the opener is relatively typical for the UW in recent seasons. Last year's Feb. 22 opener was the Huskies' latest in 11 years. Here's a look at Washington's season openers over the last 10 years:

Feb. 22, 2001   W, 6-5     BYU (at Tucson)Feb. 17, 2000   L, 10-12   Creighton (at Phoenix)Feb. 11, 1999   W, 14-13   BYU (at St. George, Utah.)Feb. 13, 1998   W, 18-4    Florida Atlantic (at Viera, Fla.)Feb. 7, 1997    L, 10-12   at UNLV Feb. 1, 1991 W, 8-5 at HawaiiFeb. 16, 1996   L, 2-5     at Long Beach StateFeb. 17, 1995   L, 8-9     at Cal Poly SLOFeb. 18, 1994   W, 8-4     Toledo (at San Diego, Calif.)Feb. 12, 1993   L, 2-3     at Texas A&MFeb. 12, 1992   L, 10-19   Oklahoma (at El Paso, Texas)

DOMINATING THE NORTHWEST: During the decade of the 1990s, the UW baseball program grew to be the unquestioned dominant team in the Pacific Northwest. During the decade, the Huskies won five Pac-10 North titles, two overall Pac-10 championships and went to four regionals. No Northwest team besides UW has gone to an NCAA Regional since 1991. In the 1990s, Washington posted a 355-218 (.620) overall record and 167-85 (.663) in Pac-10 play. Under coach Ken Knutson (1993-), Washington posted a 163-67 (.709) record against all teams from the Northwest (Washington, Oregon and Idaho) and went 128-62 (.674) against Division I teams from the Northwest. Knutson has a winning record against every Northwest foe (12) he has ever faced.Through the 2001 season, Knutson is 205-85 (.661) vs. all Northwest teams and 160-79 (.669) against Division I squads.

VETERAN SQUAD: After fielding rather youthful squads in each of the last two seasons, the 2002 Husky team is all grown up. Offensively, Washington returns players that made a total of 378 individual starts last year, 80.8 percent of the possible total of 468 (nine players times 52 games). Returning hitters accounted for 429 of last seasons' 531 total hits (also 80.8 percent) and 39 of the Huskies' 46 home runs (84.8 percent). On the mound, returning pitchers accounted for 359.2 of the Huskies' 455.2 innings pitched last year (78.9 percent) and started 44 of last season's 52 games (84.6 percent). In all, current members of the Washington baseball team have earned a total of 43 varsity letters and have started a total of 742 college games.

PRESEASON ACCOLADES: College baseball's preseason publications predicted a solid season for the 2002 Huskies. Baseball America ranked the Dawgs No. 24 in their preseason issue and counted the Huskies among the five Pac-10 teams it predicts will make it into the NCAA tournament. Shortstop Tila Reynolds was tabbed the preseason All-Pac-10 shortstop and was ranked the best defensive SS in the league. RHP Shawn Kohn was listed as the league's No. 1 control pitcher. Baseball America also listed Reynolds as the No. 48 junior prospect in the country and 1B Kyle Larsen as the nation's No. 42 freshman prospect. Neither Collegiate Baseball nor USA Today Baseball Weekly ranked the Huskies in the preseason, though the Huskies were among those receiving votes in USA Today's preseason coaches' poll (ranked No. 38, counting past the 25 ranked teams).

SPRING TRAINING TOURNAMENTS: Washington has opened three of the last four seasons with trips to spring training sites of various major league teams. Last year, the Huskies played in Tucson at the Diamondbacks' and White Sox' spring training home (a shared facility). Two years ago, the Dawgs played at Oakland's home in Phoenix (to which they return this week). And in 1998, Washington opened the year with three games at the Florida Marlins' spring training complex in Viera, Fla. In those three tournaments, the UW has posted a combined record of 6-5. In 1998, the Huskies won all three, beating South Florida, Central Florida and Florida Atlantic. In 2000, the Dawgs managed only one win in five games, beating Northern Iowa while falling to Creighton (twice), Nevada and Northwestern. Last season, the Huskies picked up thrilling one-run wins over Brigham Young (6-5) and Kentucky (3-2) before losing to Illinois by a run in a 12-inning marathon.

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