WSU Returns To Pac-10 Action At UCLA

May 11, 2004

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WSU RETURNS TO PAC-10 PLAY AT UCLA: The Washington State Cougars, 25-20 overall and 5-10 in Pacific-10 Conference action, return to conference play this week with a three-game series at UCLA, beginning Friday at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

The Cougars are coming off two wins against Sacramento State, 17-3 Saturday and 6-5 Monday. The visiting Hornets captured the middle game 3-1 Sunday.

Senior Aaron Trolia is slated to start on the mound for WSU Friday in the 6 p.m. game, while Aaron MacKenzie will get the starting assignment Saturday at 1 p.m. Garrett Alwert is scheduled to start Sunday's game at noon against the Bruins, who enter this week's action with a 26-23 overall record and an 8-7 mark in league play. Tuesday UCLA hosts CS-Fullerton.

The race for WSU's batting title got as tight as it could last week, with junior Jason Freeman and sophomore Jay Miller both boasting a .353 batting average. Miller holds a slight edge in most categories, having played in two more games.

Kaeo Rubin, hitting .349, is tied with Miller for the lead in hits with 61, and has scored the most runs, 55. Rubin also has a team-leading 15 doubles, while Freeman, Miller and Zach McAngus each have 11 two-base hits. Grant Richardson's 11 home runs are WSU's best, as are his 57 runs-batted-in.

Freeman leads the Cougars with 11 stolen bases in 15 attempts, while Rubin has drawn the most walks, 30, and has been hit by pitches 15 times.

Aaron Trolia has the best ERA among Cougar pitchers, 4.58, and takes a 5-4 record into this week's action.WSU's pitching unit was boosted by the return of former starter Bruce Chamberlin last week, the Cougar junior who had been sidelined with a broken jaw since April 16. He recorded the final out Monday against Sacramento State and recorded the win.

WSU hit .379 last weekend against the Hornets, led by Rubin's .583 average. Miller hit .455 and Freeman .444, while Trolia (no runs, two hits, eight innings) and Aaron MacKenzie (two runs, four hits, eight innings) had excellent outings on the mound.

FREEMAN HAS HOT BAT: Junior second baseman Jason Freeman is WSU's leading hitter, carrying a .353 batting average into this week's action...he is even hotter in Pac-10 games, hitting .441 in 15 outings...Freeman has hit safely in 23 of his last 25 games...during that span he is hitting .433 (42-of-97), has 15 multiple-hit games and eight multiple-RBI games...nine of his 11 doubles have come in that span.

COUGS HIT SAC STATE: In the Sacramento State series eight Cougar regulars hit .333 or better...Kaeo Rubin hit .583 and went 7-for-12...Jay Miller went 5-for-11 with two doubles and hit .455...Jason Freeman hit .444 while driving home three runs...Grant Richardson hit .364 and drove home six runs...Justin Hart hit .333, drove in two runs and scored twice, going 3-for-9...players that contributed off the bench were Collin Henderson, Zach Kosturos and Jeremy Farrar...Henderson went 2-for-2, scored twice and drove home three Cougs...Kosturos hit .600 and scored twice in one start and three games...Farrar started twice and hit. .333.

STREAKING COUGARS: Three Cougars have had hitting streaks of 11 games or longer, topped by Jason Freeman's 14-game streak that was snapped by USC...Kaeo Rubin had a 12-game streak earlier in the season and Jeremy Farrar had an 11-game streak...Jay Miller has the longest current streak at five games.

ALWERT STEPS UP: Senior left-handed pitcher Garrett Alwert was WSU's savior on the mound in the third game of two tough Pac-10 series, first against USC, then ASU...in each case WSU had lost the first two games of the series, but won the third...against USC he threw eight innings of four-hit, no-run ball...in WSU's win over ASU he threw 7.1 innings, allowed four runs and scattered 12 Sun Devil hits...after having a tough outing against No. 2 Stanford when he allowed six earned runs, he threw 8.1 innings against Sacramento State and allowed five runs, four earned, while striking out seven Hornets.

MULTIPLE HITS: Kaeo Rubin, Jay Miller, Grant Richardson, and Jason Freeman all have had two or more hits in 18 games this year...Rubin leads WSU with 20 multiple-hit games, Miller and Richardson are second with 19, followed by Freeman at 18...Miller and Zach McAngus have had games with five or more hits...McAngus, who has 13 multiple-hit games, went 5-for-5 against Birmingham-Southern April 5.

RICHARDSON TOPS IN RBI: Grant Richardson leads WSU batters with 14 multiple-RBI games...Jay Miller and Jason Freeman have 10 and Kaeo Rubin has eight...Collin Henderson drove home a team-best seven runs against Texas Pan-American Feb. 28.

CHAMBERLIN RETURNS: WSU starting pitcher Bryce Chamberlin (7-1) returned to action Monday to record the win in relief after missing nearly three weeks with a broken jaw suffered April 16...prior to a loss against Washington April 9, WSU was 8-0 when Chamberlin started...all but one of his nine appearances have been as the starter.

CAREER NOTES: Jay Miller is hitting .346 in his first two seasons, with 134 hits, 32 doubles, 72 RBI and 76 runs scored in 387 at-bats...Grant Richardson's career average is .312 with 26 home runs, while Justin Hart's is .348...Aaron MacKenzie is now 10-11 with 176.0 innings pitched, 156 strikeouts and a 5.47 ERA.

MISC. COUGAR NOTES: Grant Richardson, Jay Miller, and Kaeo Rubin have started all 45 games this season...WSU has a young infield with Justin McClure (shortstop) a freshman, Zach McAngus (third) a sophomore and both Richardson (first) and Jason Freeman (second) juniors...in the outfield, the five primary players include three seniors, Justin Hart, Collin Henderson and Jeremy Farrar, while Miller is a sophomore and Rubin a junior.

THREE COUGS EARN PAC-10 HONOR: Three Cougars have won Pacific-10 Conference POW honors this season...the latest was senior Garrett Alwert, who was named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week April 19 after holding USC scoreless over eight innings in WSU's 5-1 victory April 18...he allowed Trojan batters four hits and one walk while striking out five...Aaron MacKenzie won pitching honors Feb. 17 after allowing no runs and just two hits over 7.0 innings against San Francisco...Grant Richardson won hitting honors April 6 when he hit .583 in four games against Gonzaga and Birmingham-Southern...he was 7-for-12, scored six runs and drove home 12 runs...he had four home runs in those four games.

WIN STREAK HITS SIX: Earlier this season WSU won six straight games, the final two contests at Texas-Pan American, and all four games at the Banana Belt tournament...the last time WSU won six straight games was in mid-March, 1999...the last time WSU won eight straight was in late April, 1997.

STEALING BASES: In the fifth inning against Utah Valley State, WSU stole a school record eight bases, which also tied the NCAA Div. 1 record set in 1991 and equaled in 1993...WSU's record in a game is 11, set in 1917 against Montana...WSU has attempted to steal 63 bases this season and has been successful 36 times...junior Jason Freeman leads the Cougs in stolen bases with 11...WSU stole six bases against USC Sunday including two by Freeman...Freeman stole both second and third base in the first inning.

TWO TOURNAMENT TITLES: The Cougars have won two tournament championships in 2004, the first time in school history the feat has been accomplished...in February, WSU won the River City Tournament, sweeping games against Santa Clara, Saint Mary's and host Sacramento State...the Cougs also won the Banana Belt Tournament in Lewiston, Idaho, for the 19th time...the Cougars swept the four-game, five-team tournament with victories over Portland, Utah Valley State, Gonzaga and LCSC.

AN ALL NEW PLAYING FIELD: When WSU opened play in Bailey-Brayton Field March 19, the Cougars become the first NCAA Division I team to have FieldTurf as its playing surface...WSU joins the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the Minnesota Twins as part of the exclusive group of baseball teams to use FieldTurf as their playing field...the Cougar baseball diamond is ringed with a brownish red warning track and base paths of the same color...the only dirt on WSU's baseball field is the pitching mound and around home plate...included in the renovation project are new dugouts for both teams.

MOMS BRING GOOD CROWD: The WSU-USC game April 17 drew 3,153 fans, the fourth largest Cougar home crowd since 1989...WSU's largest-ever crowd was 4,666 for a Washington doubleheader in 1990.

COUGAR BASEBALL RANKS SEVENTH IN ALL-TIME NCAA VICTORIES: Washington State University ranked seventh in all-time NCAA Division I baseball victories with 2,302 at the end of the 2003 season

TOUGH SCHEDULE: WSU's 2004 baseball schedule features eight teams that received votes this week in at least one of the four major college baseball polls, Collegiate Baseball, Baseball America, Sports Weekly/ESPN (baseball coaches) and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association...the Stanford Cardinal, who swept WSU last week, is currently ranked number two or three in all polls...ASU, Washington and Oral Roberts, WSU opponents early in the season, are ranked in all four polls as well...UC-Irvine, Oregon State, Arizona and Birmingham-Southern all have received votes in at least one of the polls...WSU's schedule this year includes 23 games against the 10 teams.

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