WSU Closes Out 2004 Season Hosting California Bears

May 25, 2004

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WSU ENDS YEAR HOSTING CALIFORNIA: The Washington State Cougars, 27-25 overall and 7-14 in Pacific-10 Conference action, close out the 2004 baseball season this weekend, playing host to the California Bears in a three-game series beginning at 6 p.m. Friday at Bailey-Brayton Field.

Saturday's contest is also slated for 6 p.m., while Sunday's finale will start at noon. The Bears, idle since May 12, enter play this weekend with a 24-29 overall mark and an 8-13 mark in Pac-10 play, putting them one game ahead of WSU.

One win this weekend would assure the Cougars of their first winning season since going 25-24 in 1998. A sweep of the Bears would give WSU outright possession of eighth in the Pac-10 standings, while one win gives the Cougars their best league win total since the Pac-10 went to a full-league schedule in 1999.

Jay Miller, Jason Freeman and Kaeo Rubin continue their hot battle for the WSU batting title. Miller, who led WSU at the plate last year with a .341 average, is currently hitting .351, while Freeman is second at .346 and Rubin right behind him at .345.

Last weekend against Oregon State Freeman and Rubin each hit .385 and Miller .300. WSU beat the Beavers, once, 4-2, and lost 3-2 and 5-3 contests.

Three other Cougar regulars are hitting above .300 for the season, Justin Hart at .316, Grant Richardson at .311 and Jeremy Farrar at .308. Zach McAngus is hitting .298, which also is the WSU team average.

Rubin's 70 hits, 60 runs scored and 15 doubles leads all Cougars, while Richardson is the team leader with 63 RBI and 12 home runs.

Freeman tops the team with 12 stolen bases, Miller has drawn 36 walks and Rubin has been hit by pitches 16 times.

On the mound, Bryce Chamberlin has seven wins and Aaron MacKenzie six victories. Aaron Trolia leads the team with a 4.31 ERA and a 4.09 ERA in Pac-10 games, while MacKenzie has pitched 100.2 innings and also has a team-leading 85 strikeouts.

WSU opponents are hitting just .244 off Trolia. Wayne Daman Jr. has now made 20 mound appearances, while MacKenzie's 15 starts and two complete games lead all WSU hurlers.

MILLER REGAINS FORM: Sophomore Jay Miller is leading Cougar batters with a .351 average...Miller and Jason Freeman, who is hitting.346, have been battling for first over the past three weeks of play...Miller hit .300 last weekend, scoring twice and driving home one Coug...he is second on the team in hits with 68 and RBI with 40... he led WSU at the plate last year with a .341 average as a rookie.

FREEMAN HAS HOT BAT: Junior second baseman Jason Freeman is second on the team in hitting, carrying a .346 batting average...he is even hotter in Pac-10 games, hitting .412...his performances in Pac-10 play rank him in several categories among conference leaders...he is ranked third in hitting and the doubles category with seven...he is fourth with 35 hits...Freeman has hit safely in 29 of his last 33 games...during that span he is hitting .395 (51-of-129), has 21 multiple-hit games and 10 multiple-RBI games...10 of his 12 doubles have come in that span.

COUGS vs. OSU: In typical Palouse fashion, the weather factored into the events of the series, forcing the final inning of Friday's game to be played Saturday, and Saturday's game being played in a doubleheader Sunday...the Cougars took one of three, with a 4-2 win in the first game of Sunday's doubleheader...OSU took the first game 3-2 and the third, 5-3...Grant Richardson led WSU hitters, going 4-for-9, including a solo home run Friday while driving home two runs and scoring a pair...Aaron MacKenzie earned the win after pitching a complete game in the opener of Saturday's doubleheader...he allowed two runs, one earned, while striking out five Beavers.

RICHARDSON TOPS IN RBI: Grant Richardson leads WSU batters with 15 multiple-RBI games...Richardson has six games this season with four RBI...other Cougars with multiple-RBI games include Jay Miller with 11, Jason Freeman with 10 and Kaeo Rubin with eight...Collin Henderson drove home a team-best seven runs against Texas-Pan American Feb. 28.

STARTING PITCHERS RANK: WSU: Starting pitchers Aaron MacKenzie and Aaron Trolia are ranked among Pac-10 pitchers in several categories for their performances in conference play...Trolia (1-3 in Pac-10) is seventh with a 4.09 ERA...MacKenzie (2-5 pac-10) is tied for ninth with 33 batters struck out and tied for seventh with 11 batters struck out looking...he is fourth in innings pitched with 44.2.

CAREER NOTES: Jay Miller is hitting .346 in his first two seasons, with 141 hits, 33 doubles, 76 RBI and 81 runs scored in 408 at-bats...Grant Richardson's career average is .307 with 27 home runs, placing the junior tied for ninth on the WSU all-time career leaders list...Justin Hart is hitting .346...Aaron MacKenzie is now 11-12 with 193.0 innings pitched, 166 strikeouts and a 5.18 ERA.

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.

MULTIPLE HITS: Kaeo Rubin leads WSU with 24 multiple-hit games, while Grant Richardson is second with 22, followed by Jason Freeman and Jay Miller at 21...Miller and Zach McAngus have had games with five or more hits...McAngus, who has 14 multiple-hit games, went 5-for-5 against Birmingham-Southern April 5.

MISC. COUGAR NOTES: Grant Richardson, Jay Miller, and Kaeo Rubin have started all 52 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 80 bases this season and has been successful 46 times...junior Jason Freeman leads the Cougs in stolen bases with 12...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, is currently ranked number two in all four 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.

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