UW Travels to Eugene for Series with UO
SEATTLE -- The Washington Huskies (17-21) are back on the road this weekend, traveling to Eugene for a three-game series against the No. 11 Oregon Ducks (27-11, 11-7). It is the Huskies' first road series since taking two-of-three from No. 10 UCLA in the first week of April. UW is looking to rebound from a three-game sweep at the hands of California, while the Ducks must recently dropped a series to Washington State.
Scouting the Opposition
Oregon at a Glance: The Ducks are 27-11 overall and 11-7 in Pac-12 play. They most recently lost two-of-three to Washington State, but have series wins over UCLA, USC, Oregon State and Arizona State in Pac-12 play this season.
Man in Charge: Mark Wasikowski is in his second overall and first full season in charge of the Ducks. Wasikowski led Oregon to an 8-7 record in 2020 before the season was canceled. That was his first season as head coach after three years as the head man at Purdue, where he brought them to the NCAA Regionals in 2018.
By the Numbers: Four Ducks are batting above .300 this season, with Aaron Zavala (.407) leading the way. His .540 OBP, .615 SLG%, 40 runs scored, 36 walks and nine stolen bases also lead the team. Meanwhile, Kenyon Yovan's 10 home runs and 35 RBIs are team-highs for Oregon.
On the mound, the Ducks have a 3.62 team ERA in 341.0 innings pitched. Kullen Kafka (4-2, 2.65 ERA), Brett Walker (4-2, 3.98 ERA) and Robert Ahlstrom (4-3, 2.37 ERA) have all made at least nine starts this season for Oregon. Out of the bullpen, Kolby Somers has been one of the best relievers in the nation, with seven saves in 11 appearances, boasting a 1.54 ERA and 0.86 WHIP.
Husky Baseball Notes
Huskies on the Leaderboards: Braiden Ward currently leads the Pac-12 with both 29 stolen bases and 16 hit-by-pitches. He is third and tied for ninth in those categories nationally. Ramon Bramasco is also tied for the Pac-12 lead and is sixth in the country with nine sacrifice bunts. As a team, UW leads the conference with 51 steals, nine more than second-place California. On the mound, no team in the Pac-12 has walked fewer batters than UW (122). Nationally, the Huskies are 21st in BB/9, with 3.25.
April Improvements: The month of April saw the Huskies turn up the offense as a team, with a couple of individual players standing out as well. Will Simpson (.443) and Ramon Bramasco (.349) both batted well over the .300 mark, while Simpson also drove in 20 runs in just 15 games. Braiden Ward stole 12 bases in those 15 games as well. On the mound, Stefan Raeth (1.46), Adam Bloebaum (2.00) and Dylan Lamb (2.45) all improved their respective ERAs.
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. 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 four Sunday games and had 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 84 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 29. He is also tied for ninth in the country with 16 hit-by-pitches.
Husky Firsts: A couple of UW true freshmen have had moments to remember this season. Four different true freshmen have gotten a hit in their first-career at-bats this season. Emilio Corona and Kelly Corl each accomplished that against LMU. Carson Blatnick also ripped a single in his first career at-bat in the UTRGV series. Nick Kresnak singled in his first ever Husky at-bat in that series as well.
Playing For Alto: Among the nine lives lost in the Jan. 26, 2020 helicopter crash that claimed Kobe Bryant were Orange Coast College coach John Altobelli and his wife, Keri, and daughter, Alyssa. The Husky coaching staff has known Coach Alto for many years and most recently recruited Davis Delorefice from OCC. Delorefice was the team and league MVP as Orange Coast went on to win the California State Championship in 2019. Delorefice joined OCC after playing at Utah in 2018 .
300 wins: In 2020, Lindsay Meggs became the third UW coach to reach 300 wins, joining Ken Knutson (559) and Bob MacDonald (384).