WSU Heads South For River City Classic

Feb. 21, 2006

PULLMAN, Wash. -

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A QUICK LOOK AT THE RIVER CITY CLASSIC FIELD: Washington State University will compete at the River City Classic this weekend, hosted by Sacramento State and UC Davis...The 10-team field consists of WSU, co-hosts Sacramento State and UC Davis, Brigham Young, North Dakota State, Oregon State, Portland, Saint Mary's and San Francisco...Oregon State is the only ranked team participating as the Beavers in the Top 10 in Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball Newspaper and NCBWA.

COUGARS VERSUS RIVER CITY CLASSIC OPPONENTS: WSU holds at least a .500 record against all four opponents this weekend at the River City Classic...WSU opens against Portland and holds a 65-34-1 all-time series record, including a 3-2 record last season...Friday's opponent, Brigham Young, has battled the Cougars to a 14-14 series record, with the last meeting coming during the 2003 season...Saturday's game against UC Davis marks just the second meeting between the schools and the first since 1969, when WSU came away with the win...Against USF, the Cougars are 3-1 all-time, with the Cougars coming away with a 9-1 win to open the 2004 season at Phoenix, Ariz.

COUGARS OFF TO FAST START: The Cougars are off to a 6-2 start through the first two weekends, marking their best opening stint since going 6-2 during the 1999 season...since the start of the 1990 season, WSU has had a winning record seven times at this point in the season...the 7-1, 1994 squad was the only team in that span to have a better mark at this point in the season.

HOME OPENER SET FOR MARCH 2: Following 12 straight road games to open the 2006 season, the Cougars return to Bailey-Brayton Field to face Chicago State for its home opener...The game kicks-off the Banana Belt Tournament for WSU and is the first of seven consecutive games in either Pullman or nearby Lewiston, where two of the Banana Belt contests will be played...following the Banana Belt, WSU hosts Chicago State in a three-game series.

HAWAII-HILO RECAP: The Cougars took the first three games but just missed out on a series sweep last weekend...WSU needed extra innings in the opener, taking a 13-12, 10-inning victory...Jim Murphy had four hits, including two home runs, and drove in three...WSU had 21 hits during the game, its most since matching that total at Hawaii last season (2/24/05)...Wayne Daman worked seven strong innings in Game 2, matching his career-high with nine strikeouts as WSU won 9-7...Jared Prince went 4-for-4 and Nick Ison picked up his second win of the season after striking out six in six innings as the Cougars won 11-3 in Game the finale, WSU led 3-0, but could not hold it as Hilo scored all seven runs in the fifth and sixth innings for the 7-5 win...for the series Mike Gilbert hit .667 while Jay Miller swung a hot bat at .529 with five doubles.

BUCCANEER CLASSIC RECAP: In their season-opening weekend, the Cougars came away with the title at the Buccaneer Baseball Classic, hosted by Charleston Southern University, Feb. 10-12...WSU won its opener 8-2 against East Tennessee State behind Wayne Daman's six-inning, two-hit, nine-strikeout performance while Jeff Miller drove in three with three hits...the Cougars dropped an 8-5 decision against Kennesaw State despite another three-hit effort by Miller before rebounding with a 9-5 victory over Charleston Southern...Nick Ison threw five innings of scoreless, one-hit relief to earn the victory while Jay Miller drove in three with his first double of the the title game against No. 10 Missouri, Mike Wagner went 6.1 innings in his Cougar debut, allowing just one run while the Cougar offense broke the game open with a six-run fourth inning, capped by a Jeff Miller three-run double...the win marked the first victory over a ranked opponent since defeating Arizona State, 8-4, April 25, 2004.

COUGARS IN SEASON OPENERS: With its 8-2 victory over East Tennessee State Feb. 10, WSU captured its second-straight season-opening victory... dating back to the 1990 season, the Cougar baseball team is 9-8 in season openers... WSU opened the season against ETSU at the Charleston Southern tournament, the first of four tournaments this marked the second time in three years the Cougars have opened at a neutral site...since 1990, the Cougars are 5-1 when opening at a neutral site.

NEWCOMERS MAKE IMMEDIATE IMPACT: Following the first two weekends of play, the learning curve has been minimal for a few Cougar newcomers...junior catcher Mike Gilbert is hitting .500 in 12 at-bats while freshman Jared Prince lead all regulars in hitting with a .480 average...freshman Travis Coulter is batting .407 and is second on the team with eight runs scored...on the mound, junior Nick Ison is 2-0 in his two appearances, posting a 0.82 ERA with 11 strikeouts in 11.0 innings and just one walk.

COUGARS BOAST YOUTHFUL LOOK: For the second consecutive season, the Cougar lineup is filled with underclassmen....after featuring 12 freshmen and seven transfer students last season, head coach Donnie Marbut continues his youth movement, bringing in 12 more freshmen and nine first-year players in bolstering his all, 24 of the 40 rostered players are underclassmen and only five players in the program have more than one varsity letter.

COUGARS IN TOURNAMENT PLAY: Starting with the 2000 season, the Cougars have fared well in tournament play, finishing no worse than tied for second in 10 tournaments that span, the Cougars have captured six tournament titles, including last weekend's Buccaneer Baseball Classic, tied for first in another and finished tied for second in the remaining three.

MILLER CLIMBING CAREER HITS CHART: Following a 2005 season in which he led the Cougars with 74 hits, senior Jay Miller broke into the school's Top 10 career list with 219 hits...the senior from Bellevue has picked up right where he left off, pounding out 14 hits in the opening two weekends...he currently has 233 career hits, seventh on the Cougar list and 12 shy of No. 6 Kevin Brunstad (1991-94)...Miller averaged 73 hits per season in his first three years, which if he continues that pace will place him second all-time...Miller needs 71 more hits to tie all-time leader Mike Kinkade's (1992-95) mark of 304, the only Cougar to break 300 career hits.

Rk. Player Hits
1. Mike Kincade ('92-95) 304
4. Greg Hunter ('87-90) 263
5. Ray Hattenburg ('97-00) 255
6. Kevin Brunstad ('91-94) 245
7. Jay Miller ('03-06) 233

COUGARS LEAD PAC-10 IN PITCHING: Following the second release of the Pac-10 statistics, the Cougars continue to lead the Pac-10 in pitching...WSU's 3.25 team ERA is ahead of UCLA (3.44) and Stanford (3.77)...The Cougars' have allowed just 25 walks, second in the conference to Stanford's 23.

TOURNAMENT MADNESS: After playing in just one tournament last season, the Cougars will compete in four during the 2006 schedule...WSU opened at the Charleston Southern tournament, taking three of four games, including a 9-3 win over No. 10 Missouri in the championship game...following a four-game set at Hawaii-Hilo, WSU competes in the River City Classic (Sacramento, Calif.) and Banana Belt Tournaments in back-to-back weekends...during spring break, the Cougars travel to Fresno, Calif., to compete in the Johnny Quik Classic.

TOUCH SCHEDULE: The Cougars will face seven teams that played in the post-season last year...five conference foes, Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon State, Stanford and USC, all made a regional appearance, with the Wildcats and Beavers making it to the College World Series...Missouri also reached a regional while Lewis-Clark State made it to the NAIA World Series.

STRONG DEBUTS FOR COUGAR NEWCOMERS: WSU's four-game opening weekend produced some strong outings for several first-year Cougars...on the mound, junior Nick Ison picked up the win against Charleston Southern as he worked five shutout innings, striking out five against just one hit and no walks...junior Mike Wagner also earned a win, going six innings with five strikeouts against No. 10 Missouri...freshman Jared Prince worked a perfect ninth against Missouri in his one inning of the plate, Prince hit a team-leading.556 (5-9) at Charleston while fellow freshman Travis Coulter hit .462 (6-13), with three walks and six runs scored...sophomore Paul Gran hit .308 (4-13) with five runs scored and a pair of RBIs.

DAMAN, JR. NAMED PAC-10 PITCHER OF THE WEEK: Washington State junior right-handed pitcher Wayne Daman, Jr. has been named the Pacific-10 Conference Pitcher of the Week for Feb. 7-13, commissioner Tom Hansen announced Tuesday...Daman, Jr., from Beaver, Wash., opened the Cougar's 2006 season by throwing six shutout innings in the WSU's 8-2 victory over East Tennessee State...he scattered only two singles and did not walk a batter while registering a career-high nine strikeouts...he retired the first 10 batters he faced and 13 of the first 14, not allowing a runner past second base...the Pitcher of the Week honor is the first for Daman, Jr., and the 26th selection all-time for Washington State. The last Cougar pitcher to receive the honor was Garrett Alwert, who captured the award Apr. 20, 2004.

AIR MILES ADD UP: The Cougars will be no stranger to the road at the start of the 2006 season...WSU opened its campaign at the Buccaneer Classic, hosted by Charleston Southern, two weeks ago...last weekend WSU took three of four at Hawaii-Hilo...this week WSU is at the River City Classic, hosted by Sacramento State, with games against Portland, Brigham Young, UC Davis and San Francisco...the season-opening road swing will encompass 12 games, last 17 days and cover 11,234 miles.

HITTING THE BOOKS: Following the 2005 fall semester, the Washington State University baseball team posted a 2.86 combined grade point average, the highest semester GPA in Cougar baseball history.

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