Wes Whisler Named Pac-10 Freshman Of The Year
May 28, 2002
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - UCLA's Wes Whisler (Noblesville, IN/Noblesville HS) has been named Pac-10 Freshman of the year, it was announced by Commissioner Tom Hansen. The left-handed pitcher/first baseman led the Pac-10 in home runs with 18, and he finished his first year with a .320 batting average. On the mound, he led the Bruins with a 4.06 ERA and a 5-2 record.
Whisler was named the All-Pac-10 team as well. Six other Bruins were named honorable mention today. Josh Arhart, Adam Berry, Ben Francisco, Casey Grzecka, Mike Kunes and Ryan Rasmussen were all honored as well.
Whisler had one of the most impressive conference seasons in recent UCLA history. He hit .388 with 13 home runs in conference games, despite only hitting in 20 of UCLA's 24 games. For the first four conference series, Whisler did not hit on the days that he pitched. Whisler had a .950 slugging percentage in the Pac-10 games. In addition to the impressive hitting, Whisler was also UCLA's Saturday starting pitcher. He finished with a 4-1 conference record and a 3.62 ERA. He pitched a four-hit complete game win over Oregon State and limited hitters to just .271 in conference games. His .388 conference batting average was eighth in the conference, and his 3.62 ERA was fourth.
Arhart (Tustin, CA/Foothill HS) was among UCLA's top hitters, batting .363 with a team-leading 18 doubles and seven home runs. Catcher Arhart's batting average was ninth in the Pac-10, and his 18 doubles ranked fifth. He hit 10 doubles in Pac-10 play to lead the league.
Berry (Richardson, TX/J.J. Pearce HS) led the conference in home runs (tied with Whisler) and finished the season with a .308 batting average. His .611 slugging percentage was eighth in the conference and he led the team in RBIs. Berry is also a semifinalist fot the Dick Howser Trophy, given to the top player in college baseball. Berry had three multi-home run games, and was named Pac-10 Player of the Week on March 11.
Francisco (Anaheim, CA/Servite HS) was one UCLA's top all-around players until a broken collarbone cut his season short by five weeks. Despite playing in just 38 of UCLA's 61 games, Francisco led the team and conference with 20 stolen bases (tied with Rasmussen). The outfielder finished with a .368 average, with 11 doubles, six home runs, 37 RBI, 56 hits, and 42 runs.
Grzecka (Laguna Niguel, CA/Rancho Santa Margarita HS) served as a designated hitter and catcher. He hit .346 with 13 doubles and two home runs. In conference play, Grzecka was on fire in the last few series, finishing with a .442 conference average with 12 RBI and 10 runs despite only starting eight games. He was 5-for-6 against Arizona, finishing with three RBI and five runs scored, with a home run and a double on May 12.
Kunes (Chatsworth, CA/Chatsworth HS) was one UCLA's top pitchers, leading the team in wins, innings pitched, appearances and strikeouts. He appeared in 27 games, starting 13 and finished with a 7-4 record. He had a 4.55 ERA and had 71 strikeouts in 89.0 innings pitched. He pitched a three-hit complete game over Washington, striking out seven in the 8-1 win, and earned Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honors.
Rasmussen (Chino Hills, CA/Ayala HS) was UCLA's starting second baseman, leading the team in hits, runs, stolen bases, triples, sacrifice flies, at-bats, and games played. The leadoff batter for most of the year, Rasmussen reached base safely in all but two Pac-10 games, and hit ,330 in conference play. He finished the season with a .304 overall batting average and his average never dipped below .300 the entire season.