Cougars To Defend Banana Belt Tourney Title

March 1, 2005

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THIS WEEK: *Thursday, March 3 - WSU vs. Gonzaga, 10:00 a.m., Harris Field, Lewiston
*Thursday, March 3 - WSU vs. Utah Valley State, 1:00 p.m., Harris Field, Lewiston
*Friday, March 4 - WSU vs. Portland, 4:00 p.m., Harris Field, Lewiston
*Saturday, March 5 - WSU vs. Lewis Clark State, 1:00 p.m., Harris Field, Lewiston
* - Banana Belt Tournament, Harris Field, Lewiston (WSU defending Champion; LCSC host)

NEXT WEEK: Friday, March 11 - WSU vs. Northern Colorado, 3:00 p.m., Bailey-Brayton Field, Pullman
Saturday, March 12 - WSU vs. Northern Colorado, 1:00 p.m., Bailey-Brayton Field, Pullman
Sunday, March 13 - WSU vs. Northern Colorado, Noon, Bailey-Brayton Field, Pullman

LAST WEEK: Thursday, February 24 - WSU 14,. Hawai'i 3, Honolulu, Hawai'i
Friday, February 25 - Hawai'i 6, WSU 1, Honolulu, Hawai'i
Saturday, February 26 - Hawai'i 10, WSU 9 (10i), Honolulu, Hawai'i
Sunday, February 27 - WSU 7, Hawai'i 1, Honolulu, Hawai'i

The Washington State Cougars, 7-7, hope to change a trend this week as the annual Banana Belt Tournament opens Thursday at Harris Field on the Lewis-Clark State College campus.

WSU, the defending BBT champion, opens the tournament with a 10 a.m. game against Gonzaga Thursday, then takes on Utah Valley State in a 1 p.m. game. Friday the Cougars meet Portland for the fifth time this season in a 4 p.m. contest, then close out their tournament play Saturday with a 1 p.m. game against host LCSC.

Cougar head coach Donnie Marbut would love to see his team win a few more than they lose this weekend. Through 14 early-season games WSU has won seven and lost seven. For the past two weekends, first against Portland in Pasco, then last weekend at Hawai'i, the Cougars have won the first game of a four-game set, lost the next two, then bounced back with a solid win.

In each of the past two four-game series, Jimmy Freeman, 3-0 with a 2.16 ERA, has provided the opening win, while Wayne Daman Jr., 2-0 with a 1.23 ERA, has slammed the door on opponents to capture the final game of each series.

Daman Jr., in his last two outings, has thrown 16 innings, allowed just one run and four hits, and has struck out 14 batters. Freeman has been almost as effective in giving WSU a quick series lead the past two weeks. In 13 innings, he has allowed eight hits, four runs and struck out seven.Jay Miller was on fire in Hawai'i, hitting .588 while collecting 10 hits, including three doubles. The junior outfielder and WSU's leading hitter the past two seasons is now hitting a team-leading .404 through 14 games.

Zach McAngus, who hit .300 against the Rainbows, is now hitting .377, the only other Cougar regular to hit over .300. Miller and McAngus lead the team in hits, 23, while McAngus tops Cougar batters with 15 runs scored. Senior Brady Everett has driven home a team-best 18 runs and also leads all Cougar hitters with four doubles and three home runs. Zach Kosturos also has four doubles and two triples to his credit.Against Hawai'i, Cougar batters hit a season-high .321 in four games, while limiting the Warriors to a .241 average at the plate. WSU pitchers also had their best weekend, posting a 4.63 ERA.

STEPPING UP TO BAT: Jay Miller is hitting .404 this season...he improved his batting average from .325 last week after hitting .588 against Hawai'i...he went 10-for-17 against the Warriors, including three doubles...he drove home three runs and scored five in the Aloha State...he and Zach McAngus both have 23 hits this season to lead the team...Jay Miller has scored 10 runs, driven home 12 and gone yard once in 14 starts...currently on a six-game hitting streak...McAngus is batting .377, while starting every game this season...leads the team in runs scored with 15 and is third in RBI with 11...after leading the team for two weeks in batting, he hit .300 in front of his home crowd at Hawai'i...he went 6-for-20 with one double, two RBI and four runs...Zach Kosturos is riding a seven-game hitting streak...Brady Everett has the longest hitting streak this season with eight...Kosturos is batting .286, while Everett is hitting .288...Grant Alexander went 2-for-5 against Hawai'i including a double and two RBI...he is hitting .400 this season after making five appearances, three last weekend...Zach Franklin has made three starts in seven games, hitting .357...he hit 1.000 against the Warriors, adding two hits to his season total of five...he has one double and three RBI.

COUGAR MOUND ON FIRE: WSU pitchers posted a 4.63 ERA against Hawai'i...their season ERA is 4.66 compared to opponents' 5.50...Wayne Daman Jr. is 2-0 this season with a 1.23 ERA...he allowed just one run, which was earned, and three hits over eight innings of work at Hawai'i...he struck out seven Warriors, improving his season total to 17...Jimmy Freeman is boasting a 2.16 ERA and a 3-0 record...both Daman Jr. and Freeman are ranked among Pac-10 pitchers in the ERA category, tied for second and ninth, respectively...Freeman leads the WSU bullpen with 23 punch outs and 25.0 innings...the Cougs are 4-0 when Freeman starts...Steve Kost has yet to surrender a run in 5.0 innings of work...Dane Renkert has two saves and is third on the team with 10 strikeouts.

WSU'S HITTING IN THE BANANA BELT: During the 2004 Banana Belt Tournament the Cougars swept the four-game series and hit .306...five Cougs from the 2005 club hit better than .300 during the 2004 tourney...Zach McAngus, Jay Miller and Zach Franklin all hit over .600...McAngus led WSU, hitting .615 on the series, going 7-for-11 with a double, four runs scored and five RBI...WSU pitching shut down opposing hitters in the tournament last year, compiling a 2.06 ERA while holding opponents to a .189 batting average...WSU pitchers struck out 40 batters, allowed 10 hits and 10 runs, eight the fifth inning of the Utah Valley State game WSU stole eight bases, setting a school record and tying a NCAA Div. I record for stolen bases in an inning.

BANANA BELT TOURNAMENT HISTORY: The sweep of the 2004 Banana Belt Tournament marked the 18th time in school history WSU has captured the title...this season the Cougars will face off against Gonzaga, Portland, Utah Valley State and host Lewis-Clark State...last season against the Zags, WSU spilt the season series 2-2...the Cougs lead the all-time series 168-82 against the Bulldogs...WSU won its first meeting against Utah Valley State, 17-2 last year...Friday, WSU will go head to head against Portland for the fifth time this season...the Cougars and Pilots' season series is tied 2-2 after a four game home stand for WSU at Pasco February 2004 WSU took the season series 2-1...the Cougs lead the all-time series against Portland 61-32-1 (1974-2004)...LCSC and the Cougars will play Saturday in WSU's final game of the tournament...last season, LCSC took two of three games from the Cougs...all-time WSU leads the series 136-97 (1905-2004).

OFF TO A GOOD START: The Washington State baseball team has won the first game of every series it has played this season...not since 1999 has a Cougar team taken the first game of each series in the first four weeks of the season...the 1999 squad finished 24-31 overall...the Cougars are 4-0 when Jimmy Freeman starts on the mound...WSU is 4-0 when Jimmy Murphy hits in the seven spot and 2-0 when Brady Everett hits fifth in the order...when leading at the end of an inning, the Cougs are 2-1 after the first, 4-0 after the third, 5-0 after the fourth, 6-0 after the fifth.

EXTRA BASE HITS: There are nine Cougars who have recorded extra base hits this season...Brady Everett leads the team with seven extra base hits...Zach Kosturos is second with six...Everett recorded his team-leading fourth home run against Hawai'i...both he and Zach Kosturos are tied for the lead in doubles with four...Kosturos has two triples...Zach McAngus and Jay Miller each have three doubles and one home run...Jeff Miller is following in his older brothers footsteps with a pair of doubles, which places him in a tie for third with Nick Hall...Grant Alexander, Zach Franklin and Mathew Thomas have each hit a double...Thomas has also hit a triple and a home run.

IN THE CLUTCH: Eight Cougars are hitting .300 or better with runners on base, including Grant Alexander, who is hitting .500 to lead the team...Jay Miller is batting .471 with runners on...Zach Franklin, Garrett Kimbrel and Jimmy Murphy are hitting .333 with men on base and Zach McAngus is hitting .321...Brady Everett and Jay Miller are hitting .500 with the bases loaded...Everett is 1-for-2, hitting a grand slam against Sacramento State Feb. 4...Jeff Miller is hitting .333 with the bases loaded...Jay Miller is hitting at a .524 clip with runners in scoring position...Alexander and Kimbrel are batting .500 with runners in scoring position 50% of the time, while Franklin is hitting .400...three Cougars, Franklin, McAngus and Scott Suttmeier are plating runners 100 percent of the time when there is a runner on third and less than two outs... Kyle Henselman and Kimbrel have each gone 1-for-1 when hitting in a two outs, runner on third situation.

FRESHMEN CONTRIBUTIONS: The freshman class has been making an impact this season with 11 newcomers seeing playing rookies have played on the field and four have seen mound time...both the first base and shortstop positions are occupied by freshmen...Jim Murphy, and Nick Hall both made starts at first base...Matt Thomas has started 13 games at shortstop...Scott Suttmeier has made starts at short and second base...freshmen have tallied 25 of WSU's 146 hits...they've scored 14 of the Cougars' 94 runs and driven home 14...four newcomers have pitched for the Cougars, working 36.0 out of 123.2 innings...Jayson Miller is sixth on the team with a 4.82 ERA over 18.2 innings...Matt Oye is fifth with a 4.05 ERA and seven strike outs...Dustin Willis is 1-0 with four punch outs this...there are 13 freshmen on the WSU roster and all hail from Washington.

EXTRA INNINGS FIRST SINCE 1975: The 10-inning opening game of the 2005 WSU baseball season against Sacramento State Friday, February 4, was the first time since 1975 a Cougar team has played extra innings in its first outing of the season...the Cougars took Lewis-Clark State into the 10th inning before losing 7-6 March 2, 1975.

PAC-10 TEAMS RANK AMONG BEST: Three of WSU's conference opponents are ranked in the top 25 in both the Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball Newspaper polls...Stanford is ranked 11th in Baseball America and 12th in Collegiate Baseball Newspaper...Arizona is the top-ranked Pac-10 school in Baseball America (10th), but is 14th in Collegiate Baseball Newspaper...USC is 21st in Collegiate Baseball Newspaper and 23rd in Baseball America...Washington dropped out of the national standings, but was ranked until losing their series to No. 7 Texas A&M last weekend.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: During the first five weeks of the 2005 season, the Cougars will play 18 games in five different states...WSU started the season in California, taking one game in the series against Sacramento State...the Cougars went 2-1 in the Pelican State, taking their first two games against Southeastern Pasco, the Cougars split the series 2-2 against Portland...last week they traveled to starting third baseman Zach McAngus' home state of Hawai'i splitting the four games series with the Rainbows 2-2...this week, they will finish their road-trip series in Lewiston, Idaho for the annual Banana Belt the first five weeks the Cougars will travel roughly 16,000 miles round trip...the last time the Cougars traveled to five states in the first five weeks was in 2000 when they traveled roughly 10,000 miles.

WSU VISITS RONALD McDONALD HOUSE: The Cougar baseball team took time to visit the Spokane Ronald McDonald House before flying to Hawai'i last week...they met 21 families with children staying in the hospital...coaches and players passed out signed posters for the families and their kids...the Ronald McDonald House provides housing for families of seriously ill children, who have traveled to receive treatment at nearby hospitals...serves as a temporary residence where family members can sleep, eat, relax and find support from other families in similar situations.

'We were very fortunate to have the opportunity to see what these families have to go through,' WSU co-captain Zach Kosturos said. 'The Ronald McDonald House has helped so many families and it was great to see what they do for them. It made us all realize how fortunate we are and appreciate the opportunities we've been given.'

IMPROVEMENT EARNS NATIONAL RANKING: Between the 2003 and 2004 seasons, the Cougars were the 15th most improved team in the 2003 WSU finished the season with an 19-37 overall 2004 it finished the season 29-26...the Cougars improved 10.5 games in 2004...the most improved team in the nation following the 2004 season was Prairie View, which improved its final record by 19.5 games.

TOUGH SCHEDULE: The Cougars will face six teams that played in the post-season last year...five conference foes, Arizona, Arizona State, Stanford, UCLA and Washington, all made a regional appearance, with the Wildcats making it to the College World Series...Lewis-Clark State made it to the NAIA World Series.

COUGS HIT FIELD EARLY: In past years Washington State was limited in early-season outdoor practice time, but with WSU's new FieldTurf baseball diamond, Cougar players have been enjoying mild weather while holding intrasquad games and practices outdoors since the middle of January. 'We have been on our new field every day since January 19,' says Donnie Marbut.

THE WASHINGTON CONNECTION: The 2005 Washington State team consists of 31 Washington natives including head coach Donnie Marbut and associate coach Travis Jewett...four Cougar players hail from Bellevue...Kennewick, Woodinville and Spokane are each home to a pair of players...other Washington cities that made the Cougar geographic roster are Beaver, Bellingham, Burien, Des Moines, Enumclaw, Federal Way, Issaquah, Longview, Moses Lake, Olympia, Renton, Richland, Sammamish, Spanaway, Tacoma, Vancouver and Walla Walla...Marbut is a Aberdeen native and Jewett calls Tacoma home.2005 CAPTAINS: The 2005 Washington State baseball captains are senior Dane Renkert and redshirt juniors Zach Kosturos and Zach Franklin.

THE EDMONDS CC CONNECTION: Four current Cougars played for WSU Head Coach Donnie Marbut during his tenure as head coach at Edmonds Community College...former Tritons new to the squad this year are Eric Dingwall and Brady Everett...Kaeo Rubin and Zach Kosturos both played under Marbut at Edmonds before coming to WSU last season...all four players won a NWAACC Championship under Marbut.

NO GAPS IN COUGAR OUTFIELD: Starting in the Washington State outfield are junior Jay Miller and seniors Jason Freeman and Kaeo Rubin...the three led the team in hitting last season with Miller edging out Freeman for first, .355 to .344...Rubin was third with a .341 batting average...all three earned Pac-10 honorable mention accolades...Miller also earned all-academic honorable mention kudos...Freeman played second base last season but this season has returned to his natural position in the outfield.

AN ALL NEW PLAYING FIELD: WSU is one of the few colleges in the nation to play on an artificial surface baseball 2004 the Cougars became the first NCAA Division I team to have FieldTurf as its playing surface...WSU joined 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 includes 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 completed before the 2004 season were new dugouts for both teams.

COUGAR BASEBALL RANKS SEVENTH IN ALL-TIME NCAA VICTORIES: Washington State University is ranked seventh in all-time NCAA Division I baseball victories with 2,330 at the end of the 2004 season.

MARBUT IN GOOD COMPANY: Don Marbut is the ninth WSU head coach to win his first baseball game as a Cougar and the first since Bobo Brayton beat Gonzaga 9-4 March 22, 1962, beginning his illustrious 33-year WSU career...Marbut beat Sacramento State 8-7 to open his WSU career...the eight other WSU head coaches who won their first games are Jack Friel (1943), Arthur 'Buck' Bailey (1927), Harry Applequist (1923), Frank Barber (1921), J.R. Bender (1907), Everett Sweeley (1905) and J.N. Ashmore (1904).

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