April 2, 2001
Bookie Gates, WSU's hot-hitting second baseman from Seattle who hit .714 in three games against UCLA last weekend, was named Monday the Pacific-10 Conference Player of the Week by Tom Hansen, commissioner of the Pac-10.
Gates was the primary factor in WSU's 31-run outburst against the UCLA Bruins in three games last weekend. In the series opener, won by WSU 12-11 after trailing by 10 runs, Gates collected a pair of hits, scored twice and drove home one run, the winning tally in the bottom of the ninth.
Then the 1998 Garfield High grad really caught fire. After Saturday's game was rained out, the two clubs played a Sunday doubleheader and all Gates did was collect eight hits, drive in six runs and score three times. He also had a pair of doubles and one home run. In the three games, he had 10 hits in 14 at-bats.
"Bookie has as good a weekend as a player can have," said head coach Tim Mooney. "He deserves the success because he has worked so hard to improve his play. Weekends like Bookie had don't just happen, they are the result of a lot of hard work. He has improved himself as a hitter and as a defensive player, but more importantly, as a leader for this team."
Gates' performance culminated a 14-game stint in which he has hit .424 (25-59). Progressively throughout the last 14 games, he has performed at a higher and higher level at the plate.
In his last nine games, Gates is hitting .474, while over the last six games, all league contests, he has hit at a .519 pace.
After the Gonzaga series in early March, Gates was hitting a season-low .232. In the 14 games since then he has raised his average nearly 100 points to .330, the third best among Cougar regulars. He now leads the club with 38 hits and 10 doubles and is second with 30 runs batted in. Gates is also playing well at second, where he has just four errors in 181 chances, a sparkling .978 fielding average.
In all, 55 Cougars have won conference player and pitcher of the week awards. The most recent Cougar winners have been outfielder Jason Grove in 1998 and pitcher Jamaal Gaines in 1999.