Cougars Open 2021 With Weekend Series at UC Davis
WASHINGTON STATE at UC DAVIS
Davis, Calif. | Phil Swimley Field at Dobbins Stadium
Friday, 2 p.m. | Saturday, 11:30 a.m. (DH) | Sunday, 1 p.m.
Zane Mills | Jr. | RHP | 3-0, 1.44 ERA, 32 K, 25.0 IP vs. Brett Erwin | Jr. | RHP | 2-0, 2.14 ERA, 9 K, 21.0 IP
Brandon White | Jr. | RHP | 0-0, 5.79 ERA, 9 K, 4.2 IP vs. Jake Spillane | So. | RHP | 2-2, 3.81 ERA, 21 K, 26.0 IP
Will Sierra | RS-Jr. | RHP | 1-0, 1.35 ERA, 21 K, 13.1 IP (JUCO) vs. Zach Carrell | Fr. | LHP | 1-0, 3.81 ERA, 10 K, 10 IP
TBA vs. TBA
COUGARS OPEN 2021 WITH WEEKEND SERIES AT UC DAVIS
Washington State (0-0, 0-0 Pac-12) opens the 2021 season with a four-game series at UC Davis (0-0, 0-0 Big West) beginning Friday at 2 p.m. The two teams will play a doubleheader Saturday starting with a seven-inning contest at 11:30 a.m. followed by a nine-inning matchup. Sunday's finale is set for a 1 p.m. first pitch.
The Cougars, who are scheduled to play their first 24 games on the road, will head to St. George, Utah for a four-game series against Dixie State beginning Thursday. Dixie State is in their first year competing in the WAC.
Cougar baseball fans can follow all the season's action on the Washington State baseball official twitter page
@wsucougarbsb, instagram page @wsucougarbsb and wsucougars.com. Links to live stats and radio streams will be available at the baseball schedule page on wsucougars.com.
ABOUT WASHINGTON STATE
Brian Green led the Cougars to a 9-7 mark in 2020, his first season in Pullman after spending the previous five at New Mexico State where he went 158-122 capped by a 2019 WAC Regular Season title. Washington State went 5-6 while opening the season playing the first three weeks on the road capped by a series-win over Rutgers in Arizona. WSU opened its home slate with a four-game sweep of Niagara and finished the season winners in seven of their last nine games. Kyle Manzardo paced the Cougars with a .435 batting average in en route to earning All-America third-team honors from Collegiate Baseball while righthander Zane Mills led the pitching staff with a 3-0 record.
COUGAR QUICK GAME
• WSU moved into its $10 million Cougar Baseball Complex (Project: BTO Back To Omaha) this January
• WSU posted a program-best 3.05 team GPA in the 2019 fall semester, 22 players had a semester GPA of 3.0+
• WSU added the No. 29 rated recruiting class to the 2021 roster, No. 5 rated JUCO class
• WSU signed 4 of the Top-10 ranked 2021 High School prospects in Washington (Prep Baseball Report)
• WSU took 2 of 3 from Rutgers in Arizona in 2020, WSU's first series over a Big Ten opponent in program history
• WSU beat CSU Bakersfield 5-2 in the 2020 season-opener for its first season-opening win since 2011
• Brian Green completed his first season at WSU after 5 seasons leading New Mexico State (158-122-1)
• Green produced 9 All-Americans, 26 All-WAC selections, 2 Players of Year, 1 Pitcher of the Year at NMSU
• Cougar Legend John Olerud (1987-89) was inducted into the 2019 Pac-12 Hall of Honor
• 1B Kyle Manzardo named to Preseason All-America Third Team (Collegiate Baseball, NCBWA)
• Manzardo finished 2020 hitting .435, enters 2021 with 17-game hitting streak (tied for 6th-longest in WSU history)
• RHP Zane Mills (3-0, 1.44 ERA, 32 K, 25 IP) named among Top-150 starting pitchers to watch (D1Baseball)
ABOUT UC DAVIS
UC Davis went 9-7 in a shortened 2020 season including a pair of wins over Pac-12 Conference foe Utah on opening weekend last year. WSU leads the all-time series 5-4 against the Aggies after splitting a four-game series with UCD in Pullman in 2008, the last meeting between the two schools. The Cougars will be making their first trip to Davis since 2007 where the Aggies claimed two in the three-game series.
KYLE MANZARDO NAMED PRESEASON ALL-AMERICAN
Junior first baseman Kyle Manzardo was named to the 2021 Preseason All-America Third Team by Collegiate Baseball and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. Manzardo, who earned All-American third-team honors from Collegiate Baseball last season, finished a shorted 2020 season with a .435 batting average with seven doubles, three home runs, 14 RBI, a .500 on-base percentage and a Pac-12 best 27 hits. The Coeur d'Alene, Idaho native tied for the league lead in doubles, was second in batting average and was fourth in slugging (.694) and runs scored (21). Manzardo recorded a hit in all 16 games Washington State played in 2020, finished the season with five straight multiple-hit games, led the team with nine multiple-hit games and will take a 17-game hitting streak into the 2021 season, tied for the sixth-longest hitting streak in the program history. Manzardo also earned WSU's first Pac-12 Player of the Week Award since 2016 following a monster weekend at the plate in the four-game series sweep of Niagara in Pullman. Manzardo became the first Cougar All-American since Jared Prince (OF/P) and Jay Miller (OF) each earned third team honors in 2006 and was WSU's first All-American infielder since Ray Hattenburg (UTL) earned honorable mention in 1999 and Casey Kelley (1B) was a third-team selection in 1998. Prince (2006), Derek Jones (2009) and Ian Hamilton (2014) each earned Freshman All-America honors. Hamilton was the last Cougar to receive preseason All-American recognition back prior to the 2016 season.
COUGARS WELCOME NATIONALLY RANKED RECRUITING CLASS
WSU's 2020 signing class, who will don the crimson and gray in 2021 was rated the No. 29 recruiting class in the country according to Collegiate Baseball. The class is ranked sixth-best in the Pac-12 Conference, ahead of conference foes rivals Oregon State, Oregon, California and Washington, SEC members Texas A&M and Kentucky along with Big West Conference leaders Cal State Fullerton, UC Irvine and Long Beach State. Also last summer, the class was ranked among the Top-40 incoming classes in the country, according to Perfect Game while the Cougar's junior college newcomers were ranked the fifth-best junior college recruiting class according to JBB Juco Baseball. Three of the Cougar freshmen, shortstop Kyle Russell (No. 195), right-handed pitcher Duke Brotherton (No. 206) and outfielder Keith Jones (No. 423) were ranked among Perfect Game's Top-500 players nationally. Four Cougar signees were rated among the Top-11 high school prospects in Washington including Russell (No. 2), Brotherton (No. 3), infielder Cody Dreis (No. 8), right-handed pitcher Tyler Hoeft (No. 11) while Louie Albrecht is the top-rated catcher prospect in Washington. The class got a big boost over the summer as former New Mexico State All-American first baseman Tristan Peterson transferred to WSU and was ranked the sixth-best transfer in the country by Baseball America.
WSU COMPLETES BASEBALL PROJECT - BTO (Photos on Back Page)
Washington State University broke ground on the Cougar Baseball Facility Project: BTO (Back to Omaha) in October of 2019 and officially moved in this January. The state-of-the-art facility will feature the $10 million clubhouse facility, a new entrance to Bailey-Brayton Field, a 1,300 square-foot locker room, a 1,500 square-foot weight room, academic area, team meeting room, areas for Cougar equipment, nutrition and athletic medicine, coaches offices as well as recognition of WSU's storied history. In addition, the facility will enhance the game day experience for players, coaches and fans, and provide improved ingress and egress along with new public restrooms and concessions. The facility renovation and enhancement costs were all covered through donor support.
MANZARDO, CHARLISSE LEGER-WALKER FINALISTS FOR SEATTLE SPORTS STAR AWARDS
Washington State women's basketball guard Charlisse Leger-Walker and baseball first baseman Kyle Manzardo were both been named finalists for the Seattle Sports Star of the Year Awards. The 86th Annual Seattle Sports Star of the Year Awards will be held during a virtual presentation Feb. 27 and will air live on KING-TV in Seattle. Manzardo had a breakout sophomore campaign in a shortened 2020 season, earning All-America Third Team honors from Collegiate Baseball. Manzardo became the Cougars first All-American since 2006 after hitting .435 with seven doubles, three home runs and 14 RBI. The Coeur d'Alene, Idaho native led the Pac-12 Conference with 27 hits while his seven doubles tied for the league lead. In her first season with the Washington State women's basketball team, Leger-Walker has helped the Cougars earn their first top-25 ranking in the Associated Press poll in school history. The first-year guard has been named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week a WSU-record seven times this season. The freshman owns a pair of game-winners against Arizona in overtime and double-overtime at Oregon State.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
10,000,000 - A $10 million baseball clubhouse facility is complete, Project: BTO (Back To Omaha)
145 - WSU's 145 hits in 2020 were 3rd-most in the Pac-12
38 - 1B Kyle Manzardo was ranked the No. 38 best sophomore hitter by D1Baseball.com in 2020
32 - Zane Mills' 32 strikeouts in 2020 were fourth-most in the Pac-12
26 - RHP Zane Mills was ranked the No. 26 best sophomore pitcher by D1Baseball.com in 2020
19 - WSU tied for 2nd in the country with 19 sacrifice bunts, most in the Pac-12 in 2020
17 - 17 players made their WSU debuts in 2020
17 - Dating back to the final game of 2019 and all 16 games played in 2020, Kyle Manzardo has recorded a hit in 17 straight games, tied for the 6th-longest hitting streak in WSU history
11 - WSU played its first 11 games away from Bailey-Brayton Field last season
10 - WSU's 10 home runs in 2020 were 3rd-most in the Pac-12
7 - Justin Van De Brake drove in 7 runs in the series-opener over Niagara, tied for 2nd-most RBI in WSU history
3 - WSU posted 3 wins in their last at-bats (at CSU Bakersfield 2/14, at Hawaii 2/23, 3/6 NIAGARA)
2 - Justin Van De Brake hit 2 grand slams in the final two weekend series (vs. Rutgers 2/29, NIAGARA 3/5)
.277 - WSU finished 2020 with a .277 batting average, 4th-best in the Pac-12
IN THE CLASSROOM, IN THE COMMUNITY
Head coach Brian Green emphasized winning in the classroom and the community in his introductory press conference and the Cougs backed him up in his first two years at WSU.
- This past fall, the baseball program posted its highest semester GPA (3.09) in program history after 15 players posted a 3.0 GPA or better in the semester. The 3.09 mark broke the record of 3.05 set in the fall of 2019.
- The team started a viral campaign under Green named Meet The Professor where each baseball student-athlete introduces themselves and takes a selfie with their professor in the first class of each semester.
- Last January, the team gathered at a local elementary school and helped the Whitman County Special Olympics with basketball practice.
BRIAN GREEN BEGINS SECOND SEASON LEADING COUGAR BASEBALL
Brian Green was named the 17th baseball coach in Washington State history, Director of Athletics Patrick Chun announced June 3, 2019. Brian Green came to WSU after five seasons as the head coach at his alma mater New Mexico State where he led the Aggies to a 2019 Western Athletic Conference regular-season championship and an NCAA Regional appearance in 2018. Green led NMSU to an historic four-year stretch that saw the Aggies record 34 wins or more in each of the last four seasons and also signed four-straight nationally recognized recruiting classes along the way. Green has appeared in nine NCAA Regionals as a head coach or assistant coach at the Division I level. In his five years at NMSU, Green produced nine All-Americans including three first-team selections in 2019, 26 All-WAC honorees, a pair of Player of the Year selections, one Pitcher of the Year, one Freshman of the Year, and 22 WAC All-Academic selections. Since 2016, Green has helped send 13 players to the professional ranks, including four among the top six rounds the last four years.
BRIAN GREEN BY THE NUMBERS
6,000 - Green's NMSU program volunteered over 6,000 hours of community service in his 5 years
2014 - Green recruited and coached 2014 Golden Spikes Award Winner AJ Reed at Kentucky, John Olerud Award
158 - Green won 158 games in his 5 seasons as the head coach at New Mexico State
40 - Green's 2018 club won 40 games and earned a trip to the NCAA Regional
34 - Green won 34 or more games in each of the last 4 seasons at NMSU
9 - Green produced 9 All-Americans at NMSU including 3 in 2019
4 - Coached 4 seasons at UCLA (2005-08), coached San Francisco Giant SS Brandon Crawford at UCLA
.356 - In 2019, NMSU led the country in batting avg, runs, runs/g, hits, triples, on-base pct and slugging
NCAA, PAC-12 CANCELED REMAINDER OF 2020 SEASON DUE TO COVID-19
At a meeting of the Pac-12 CEO Group and Athletic Directors March 14, 2020, the Pac-12 made the decision to cancel all Pac-12 conference and non-conference sport competitions and Pac-12 championships through the end of the academic year, including spring sports that compete beyond the academic year. WSU's season was canceled prior to hosting its Pac-12 Conference opening series against California. The Division I Council voted March 30, 2020 to allow schools to provide spring-sport student-athletes an additional season of competition and an extension of their period of eligibility.
OWEN LEONARD SELECTED FOR PAC-12 LEADERSHIP AWARD
Senior pitcher Owen Leonard was selected to receive the 2020 Pac-12 Conference Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Leadership Award. Leonard was recognized for his exemplary commitment to the SAAC activities at their respective schools. Leonard is the second student-athlete from Washington State to win the award, joining former Cougar track and field athlete Cicely Clinkenbeard who won the same award in 2001-02. The Pac-12 Conference established the Pac-12 Leadership Award in 2002 to recognize student-athletes who have served on their institutional Student-Athlete Advisory Committees (SAAC) and demonstrated exemplary leadership. The Pac-12 Leadership Award is a $3,000 scholarship for postgraduate study awarded to one male and one female student-athlete each year. Leonard serves as the WSU SAAC Director of Events and organized a number of events including Butch's Bash, the Cougar Sports Awards and SAAC Events sub-committee discussions. In the community, the senior from Seattle has also participated as a Peer Academic Counselor, serving as an advisor for other student-athletes, served as a Pen Pal and mentor to elementary students and volunteered at WSU events including the Halloween Handout and helping incoming freshmen move into the dorms. In the classroom, Leonard owns a 3.2 cumulative grade-point-average while majoring in kinesiology and earned an academic excellence award following his first year at WSU. Leonard is planning on pursuing a master's degree in physical therapy. Leonard as been elected a team captian in each of the past two seasons.
JOHN OLERUD NAMED PAC-12 PLAYER OF THE CENTURY
The Pac-12 Conference inducted Coug legend John Olerud into the Pac-12 Hall of Honor in 2019. Olerud was named the Pac-12 Conference's Baseball Player of the Century in 2016. During his three seasons in a Cougar uniform, Olerud (1987-89) had one of the finest careers of any Cougar student-athlete, in any sport, in Washington State history, rewriting the WSU record books and becoming the only Cougar baseball athlete ever to be named College Athlete of the Year. In 1988, Olerud became the only player in NCAA history to win 15 games on the mound and hit 20 home runs in the same season, going 15-0 with 23 home runs that year. Still holding numerous WSU records, Olerud went 26-4 overall with a 3.17 ERA over 241.1 innings during his three seasons, hitting .434 for Washington State. He set two Pac-10 records and 10 Pac-10 North marks, highlighted by his sophomore season when he was named Athlete of the Year by Baseball America. In January prior to his junior year at WSU, Olerud suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage, a type of brain seizure. He missed the first 28 games of the spring season, but returned to hit .359 for WSU over the final 27 games. Prior to his senior season, Olerud signed a contract with Toronto and went directly to the Major Leagues. In 1993, he became the first Blue Jay to win a batting title, hitting .363. Olerud played for Toronto, the New York Mets and Yankees, Seattle and Boston during his 17-year career, winning back-to-back World Series titles with Toronto in 1992 and 1993. In 2001 he joined his father, John Sr., in the WSU Athletics Hall of Fame, and is a member of the College Baseball, State of Washington and Inland Northwest Sports Halls of Fame. The John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award, given annually by the College Baseball Hall of Fame, was named in his honor and in 2016, he was named the Pac-12 Conference Player of the Century, selected by a 36-member blue ribbon panel of experts selected by the conference.