Banana Belt Tournament To Open Cougar Home Schedule
Feb. 28, 2007
PULLMAN, Wash. -
BANANA BELT PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS
Thursday Wayne Daman Jr., RHP (0-0, 3.60 ERA) Utah Valley State (Bailey-Brayton Field)
Friday Matt Way, LHP (0-1, 9.95 ERA) vs. Southern Utah (Bailey-Brayton Field)
Friday TBD vs. Air Force (Bailey-Brayton Field)
Saturday Nick Ison, RHP (1-1 9.00 ERA) at Lewis-Clark State (Harris Field)
WSU AT THE BANANA BELT
The Cougars have captured at least a share of the Banana Belt title the last three years, winning in 2004 and 2005, and sharing the title last season with Gonzaga after each team posted a 3-1 record. Since the tournament began in 1950, the Cougars have won or shared the title 21 times.
The Cougars came away with a 1-2 record in their series against the No. 13 Longhorns. In the opener WSU had the tying runs on base with no outs in the ninth but could not push them across. Jeff Miller and Greg Lagreid provided WSU's offense with a pair of solo home runs in the fifth. Game Two was all Longhorns as Texas jumped out to a 7-0 lead after two innings and never looked back. In the finale, WSU trailed 5-0 after three innings before rallying for a 7-6 win. WSU scored two in the sixth, one in the seventh and four in the eighth, the latter coming on five hits in the inning. Ross Humes worked the final two innings for his first save of the season. For the series Travis Coulter led the Cougs with a .444 (4-9) average, while Paul Gran hit .400, including a three-hit day in the finale.
SCOUTING UTAH VALLEY STATE
Utah Valley State enters the weekend with a 2-6 record. After opening the season with five straight losses, the Wolverines swept a doubleheader against Southern Utah last Thursday. UVSC opened the season with two games at Arizona followed by a three-game series at Saint Mary's. Thursday's game at WSU marks the ninth in a string of 23 straight road games to open the season. The Wolverines do not play at home until a Mar. 29 game against South Dakota State. Senior shortstop Eli Slesk leads the team with a .375 average while junior right-hander Bryan Smith is the top starter with a .270 ERA.
SCOUTING SOUTHERN UTAH
Southern Utah University brings a 2-8 record into its Banana Belt Tournament opener at Lewis-Clark State Thursday. The Thunderbirds opened the season with series at Arizona State and Cal State Dominguez Hills before returning home to face Utah Valley State. Senior catcher Cameron Nelson leads the team in all three triple crown categories early in the season while junior right-hander Dustin Wittwer is 1-0 with a 2.92 ERA in three appearances.
SCOUTING AIR FORCE
The Air Force Academy brings its 4-7 record into the Banana Belt Tournament where it opens against Gonzaga Thursday morning in Lewiston. The Falcons opened the season with a 4-2 win over York College and also have a three-game sweep of Kansas Wesleyan to their credit. Sophomore infielder Jason Griggs leads the team with a .417 average while freshman outfielder Matt Alexander is also over .400 with a .410 average. Sophomore right-hander Jake Petro leads the team with a 2-1 record and 3.38 ERA.
SCOUTING LEWIS-CLARK STATE
The Warriors are off to a 9-0 start entering this weekend, with all of their games being played at home. LCSC opened the season with championships in its first two tournaments, only once allowing more than four runs in any contest. As a team the Warriors are hitting .329 while boasting an ERA of 1.82. Individually, junior infielder Beau Mills leads the team with a .500 average, connecting for team-highs of four home runs and 19 RBIs. On the mound junior right-hander Chris Kissock is 2-0 in two starts with a 0.69 ERA.
Following this weekend's Banana Belt Tournament, the Cougars return to the road for a three-game series at San Jose State, Mar. 8-10. WSU then returns to Bailey-Brayton Field to begin a six-game homestand against Rider and Illinois-Chicago.
FOLLOWING THE COUGARS
Beginning with this weekends Banana Belt Tournament, all Washington State University baseball games can be heard live on KCLX Radio (1450 AM). Steve Grubbs begins his second season calling all the baseball action. In addition, all games can also be heard online at www.wsucougars.com and followed on-line via Gametracker.
MURPHY RISING ON PUTOUTS LIST
Junior first baseman Jim Murphy is on pace to break the career putouts list at WSU by the end of his third season. Murphy entered the 2007 campaign fifth on the all-time list with 966 putouts, 432 shy of career leader Kevin Brunstad (1991-93). If the first two weekends are any indication, Murphy will not need the entire season to reach the top as he has registered 61 in the six games. Below is a list of the top four spots on the career putouts list:
Rank Player Putouts 1. Kevin Brunstad '91-93 1298 2. Frank Jackson '70-72 1069 Greg Monda '81-83 1069 4. Jim Murphy, `05-07 1027
COUGARS IN HOME-OPENERS
Dating back to the 1990 season, WSU is 11-6 in home openers, including a 16-0 victory last season over Chicago State (Mar. 2) . The Cougars have won their last three openers in Pullman and this year's home opener marks the earliest the Cougs have played in Pullman since the 1995 season, when WSU posted a 7-5 win over Lewis-Clark State, March 1.
COUGARS PICKED EIGHTH BY PAC-10 COACHES
Washington State University was selected eighth in the Pac-10 Conference preseason coaches poll, announced prior to the start of the 2007 campaign. In order, the conference coaches selected Arizona State, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA, Arizona, USC, California, WSU and Washington in the preseason poll. Last season the Cougars were picked to finish ninth and finished the season eighth in the Pac-10, one game out of a tie for fifth, with a 10-14 record. It was a nine-game improve in conference play for WSU from the 2005 season.
HEAD COACH Donnie Marbut
Donnie Marbut is in his third season as head coach at Washington State University and fourth overall after pending the 2004 season as an assistant on the Cougar staff. Marbut has amassed a 60-63 record in two-plus years, the most wins by any Cougar coach in his first two seasons. Prior to WSU, Marbut served as head coach at Edmonds Community College from 2000-03, where he posted a 152-38 record and earned Coach of the Year honors in 2002 and 2003.