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WSU Heads To Big Island For Series At Hawaii-Hilo
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Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Release: 02/14/2006
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Feb. 14, 2006

PULLMAN, Wash. -

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A QUICK LOOK AT HAWAII-HILO: Hawaii-Hilo is off to a 2-8 start this season, earning a victory against Kansas and Wichita State in five-game series...DH Mark Veneri leads the team in hitting at .452, going 14-31 with a home run and three doubles in the first two series...first baseman Tyler Curtis follows with a .429 average and a team-best .586 on-base percentage... on the hill, Ryan Olszewski is coming off a 10-hit, three strikeout complete-game victory over Wichita State in his last outing...Vinnie Biggs leads the team with 12 strikeouts in 13 innings pitched.

HAWAII-HILO SERIES: The Cougars lead the all-time series with the Vulcans by a 17-2 margin...in the last meeting of the series, WSU came away with a 6-3 victory at Pullman, April 8, 1997...the last time these two teams met in Hilo, the Cougars came away with a 24-2 win, Jan. 23, 1996.

DAMAN, JR. NAMED PAC-10 PITCHER OF THE WEEK: Washington State junior right-handed pitcher Wayne Daman, Jr. has been named the Pacific-10 Conference Pitcher of the Week for Feb. 7-13, commissioner Tom Hansen announced Tuesday...Daman, Jr., from Beaver, Wash., opened the Cougar's 2006 season by throwing six shutout innings in the WSU's 8-2 victory over East Tennessee State...he scattered only two singles and did not walk a batter while registering a career-high nine strikeouts...he retired the first 10 batters he faced and 13 of the first 14, not allowing a runner past second base...the Pitcher of the Week honor is the first for Daman, Jr., and the 26th selection all-time for Washington State. The last Cougar pitcher to receive the honor was Garrett Alwert, who captured the award Apr. 20, 2004.

BUCKNELL ADDED TO SCHEDULE: Washington State University Head Coach Donnie Marbut has announced that Bucknell University has been added to the Cougars' 2006 baseball schedule...the game will be played Tuesday, Mar. 14, when the Cougars are competing at the Johnny Quik tournament at Fresno, Calif...WSU is scheduled to face Lafayette at 10 a.m. that morning then will meet Bucknell at 1 p.m. that afternoon.

BUCCANEER CLASSIC RECAP: In their season-opening weekend, the Cougars came away with the title at the Buccaneer Baseball Classic, hosted by Charleston Southern University last weekend...WSU won its opener 8-2 against East Tennessee State behind Wayne Daman's six-inning, two-hit, nine-strikeout performance while Jeff Miller drove in three with three hits...the Cougars dropped an 8-5 decision against Kennesaw State despite another three-hit effort by Miller before rebounding with a 9-5 victory over Charleston Southern...Nick Ison threw five innings of scoreless, one-hit relief to earn the victory while Jay Miller drove in three with his first double of the season...in the title game against No. 10 Missouri, Mike Wagner went 6.1 innings in his Cougar debut, allowing just one run while the Cougar offense broke the game open with a six-run fourth inning, capped by a Jeff Miller three-run double...the win marked the first victory over a ranked opponent since defeating Arizona State, 8-4, April 25, 2004.

COUGARS IN SEASON OPENERS: With its 8-2 victory over East Tennessee State last Friday, WSU captured its second-straight season-opening victory... dating back to the 1990 season, the Cougar baseball team is 9-8 in season openers... WSU opened the season against ETSU at the Charleston Southern tournament, the first of four tournaments this season...it marked the second time in three years the Cougars have opened at a neutral site...since 1990, the Cougars are 5-1 when opening at a neutral site.

COUGARS BOAST YOUTHFUL LOOK: For the second consecutive season, the Cougar lineup is filled with underclassmen....after featuring 12 freshmen and seven transfer students last season, head coach Donnie Marbut continues his youth movement, bringing in 12 more freshmen and nine first-year players in bolstering his squad...in all, 24 of the 40 rostered players are underclassmen and only five players in the program have more than one varsity letter.

COUGARS IN TOURNAMENT PLAY: Starting with the 2000 season, the Cougars have fared well in tournament play, finishing no worse than tied for second in 10 tournaments played...in that span, the Cougars have captured six tournament titles, including last weekend's Buccaneer Baseball Classic, tied for first in another and finished tied for second in the remaining three.

MILLER CLIMBING CAREER HITS CHART: Following a 2005 season in which he led the Cougars with 74 hits, senior Jay Miller broke into the school's Top 10 career list with 219 hits...the senior from Bellevue has picked up right where he left off, pounding out five hits in the opening weekend...he currently has 224 career hits, ninth on the Cougar list and just one shy of No. 8 Jeff Hooper (1984-87)...Miller averaged 73 hits per season in his first three years, which if he continues that pace will place him second all-time...Miller needs 80 hits this year to tie all-time leader Mike Kinkade's (1992-95) mark of 304, the only Cougar to break 300 career hits.

TOURNAMENT MADNESS: After playing in just one tournament last season, the Cougars will compete in four during the 2006 schedule...WSU opened at the Charleston Southern tournament, taking three of four games, including a 9-3 win over No. 10 Missouri in the championship game...following a four-game set at Hawaii-Hilo, WSU competes in the River City Classic (Sacramento, Calif.) and Banana Belt Tournaments in back-to-back weekends...during spring break, the Cougars travel to Fresno, Calif., to compete in the Johnny Quik Classic.

HITTING THE BOOKS: Following the 2005 fall semester, the Washington State University baseball team posted a 2.86 combined grade point average, the highest semester GPA in Cougar baseball history.

AIR MILES ADD UP: The Cougars will be no stranger to the road at the start of the 2006 season...WSU opened its campaign at the Buccaneer Classic, hosted by Charleston Southern, last weekend...this weekend WSU heads west for a four-game, three-day series at Hawaii-Hilo, followed by the River City Classic, hosted by Sacramento State, with games against Portland, Brigham Young, UC Davis and San Francisco...the season-opening road swing will encompass 12 games, last 17 days and cover 11,234 miles.

MARBUT TALKS ABOUT COUGS:
On finally playing meaningful games:
"It was good to finally play someone else. It gave us a chance to figure out what we are about as a team."

On expectations heading into weekend:
"I didn't really have any expectations for the weekend, mainly because we are so young. I thought we would play hard and we did, so that expectation was met. We didn't catch the ball as well as we could but it is early. We will do a better job of that as the season progresses."

On team's pitching performance:
"The kids have grown up over the past year and are better. Coach Swenson has done a great job getting them ready. I was happy with our strikeout's-to-walks. I think we would have pitched better if our defense was better, we just didn't make enough plays behind the pitchers."

On offensive performance:
"We swung the bas alright for the opening weekend. Jay (Miller) had some big hits for us and Jeff (Miller) drove in some runs with some loud hits. Jared Prince and Travis Coulter also hit the ball well. Travis is going to be an outstanding table setter for us and Jared is just a fierce competitor. He hit almost .500 for his first college weekend."

COUGARS LEAD PAC-10 IN PITCHING: Following the first full weekend of baseball, the Cougars lead the Pac-10 in pitching...WSU's 2.25 team ERA is almost a run better than second-place Oregon State's 3.08...The Cougars' .194 opponent batting average is also tops in the conference, again followed by OSU's .204.

STRONG DEBUTS FOR COUGAR NEWCOMERS: WSU's four-game opening weekend produced some strong outings for several first-year Cougars...on the mound, junior Nick Ison picked up the win against Charleston Southern as he worked five shutout innings, striking out five against just one hit and no walks...junior Mike Wagner also earned a win, going six innings with five strikeouts against No. 10 Missouri...freshman Jared Prince worked a perfect ninth against Missouri in his one inning of work...at the plate, Prince hit a team-leading.556 (5-9) at Charleston while fellow freshman Travis Coulter hit .462 (6-13), with three walks and six runs scored...sophomore Paul Gran hit .308 (4-13) with five runs scored and a pair of RBIs.

PAC-10 TEAMS RANK AMONG BEST: Three of WSU's conference opponents are ranked in the top 25 in both the Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball Newspaper polls...Oregon State is third in Collegiate Baseball Newspaper and sixth in Baseball America poll...Baseball America has Stanford 26th while Collegiate Baseball Newspaper has the Cardinal 11th.

THE WASHINGTON CONNECTION: The 2006 Washington State team consists of 33 Washington natives including head coach Donnie Marbut, associate coach Travis Jewett and assistant Gregg Swenson...five Cougar players hail from Bellevue...Kennewick, Woodinville, Longview and Spokane are each home to a pair of players...other Washington cities that made the Cougar geographic roster are Beaver, Bothell, Burien, Centralia, Chehalis, Edmonds, Ellensburg, Federal Way, Issaquah, Kirkland, LaCenter, North Bend, Poulsbo, Pullman, Renton, Richland, Sammamish, Sumner, Tacoma and Walla Walla...Marbut is a Aberdeen native, Jewett calls Tacoma home and Swenson hails from Olympia.

TOUGH SCHEDULE: The Cougars will face seven teams that played in the post-season last year...five conference foes, Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon State, Stanford and USC, all made a regional appearance, with the Wildcats and Beavers making it to the College World Series...Missouri also reached a regional while Lewis-Clark State made it to the NAIA World Series.

2006 CAPTAINS: The 2006 Washington State baseball captains are senior Jay Miller and redshirt senior Zach Franklin.

Washington State Cougars Baseball
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