UW Returns to Pac-12 Play Against California
SEATTLE -- The Washington Huskies return to conference play this weekend when they welcome the California Golden Bears to Husky Ballpark for a three-game set. Washington has won two straight weekend series and is 7-2 in its last nine games. All three games of the series will be streamed on Pac-12 Plus with Jason Dorow on the call.
Scouting the opposition
California at a Glance: The Golden Bears are 19-19 overall and 6-9 in Pac-12 play. They most recently lost two-of-three to Washington State, but have won two conference series this season over Utah and USC. While California is 13-7 at home, they have a record of 6-12 on the road.
Man in Charge: Mike Neu is in his fourth year as the head coach of the Golden Bears and his sixth as a college head coach, having spent two seasons at Pacific. In 2018 and 2019, Neu led California to back-to-back 32-win seasons, while also winning a combined 33 Pac-12 games in those two seasons. Neu coached the team to an appearance in the NCAA Fayetteville Regional in 2019.
By the Numbers: Nathan Manning (.388) and Darren Baker (.307) are the two qualified Golden Bears hitting over .300, with Baker also leading the team with 16 stolen bases. Dylan Beavers brings the power for California, as his 10 home runs and 32 RBIs are both best on the team.
On the mound, the Golden Bears have a 3.85 team ERA in 332.0 innings pitched. Josh White will make his first start of the season on Friday. He has been incredibly efficient in 11 games out of the bullpen, boasting a 1.95 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in 37.0 innings. Saturday starter Sean Sullivan has been the workhorse, starting a team-high 10 games with a 2-4 record, 3.72 ERA and 1.32 WHIP in 48.1 innings of work. Jack Wolger has been the most efficient reliever, with a 1.53 ERA in 15 appearances.
Husky Baseball Notes
Huskies on the Leaderboards: Braiden Ward currently leads the Pac-12 with both 27 stolen bases and 16 hit-by-pitches. He is third and tied for seventh in those categories nationally. Logan Gerling leads all qualified (1 IP/team game) Pac-12 pitchers with a 2.35 ERA in 10 starts (tied for most in Pac-12). Ramon Bramasco is also tied for the Pac-12 lead and is second in the country with nine sacrifice bunts. As a team, UW leads the conference with 48 steals, 12 more than second-place California. Only one team has been caught stealing fewer times than the Huskies (7 CS). On the mound, no team in the Pac-12 has walked fewer batters than UW (110). Nationally, the Huskies are 18th in BB/9, with 3.08.
300 Club: After UW's game on April 1 against UCLA, no qualified Huskies were hitting .300. Heading into this weekend, Will Simpson (.331), Braiden Ward (.301) and Ramon Bramasco (.301) are all above that threshold. In the month of April, Simpson hit .456 to raise his average over 100 points from .229 to .331, while Bramsco hit .339 to boost his average 77 points from .224 to .301.
Youngsters Producing: Freshmen Will Simpson and Cole Miller are first and third on the team in RBIs with 29 and 14, while freshmen have also combined for 13 of the team's 16 total home runs on the season. Freshman Christian Dicochea hit his first career home run against Texas State and has established himself as the starting third baseman. True freshman Michael Brown is second on the team in home runs after a long-ball against Texas State. Adam Bloebaum has started the last three Sunday games and has a 2.00 ERA in 18 innings pitched in April. True freshman Nick Kresnak has also begun to earn consistent playing time in left field.
JUCO Made: A large number of Huskies can be traced back to the junior college ranks. Both UW starters Logan Gerling (Tacoma CC) and Tyson Guerrero (Lower Columbia CC) come from JuCo. Stefan Raeth, who leads the team with a 1.86 ERA is a product of Los Medanos CC. Team-leader in saves, Davis Delorefice, came to UW after a season at Orange Coast College. Ramon Bramasco (Cerritos College) and Gabe Smith (Everett CC) are other notable Huskies with junior college experience.
Ward: On Base and Stealing: Junior Braiden Ward cracked the Huskies' top-five list for career stolen bases last season and currently sits in third-place all time with 82 swipes. Up next for Ward is Joe Trippy in second with 85. Ward led the Pac-12 with 10 steals in the shortened 2020 season and became the first Conference player to lead the league in stolen bases three times. He currently leads the Pac-12 and is third in the country with 27. He is also tied for seventh in the country with 16 hit-by-pitches.