Jan. 24, 2001
COUGAR DIAMOND NOTES
COUGARS OPEN 106th BASEBALL SEASON AT CSU-NORTHRIDGE: The Washington State University baseball team, featuring 16 returning letterwinners and 15 newcomers, opens the 2001 season Thursday with a four-game series at California State-Northridge.
In addition the Cougars open the school's 106th season with a new head coach, Tim Mooney. Mooney is no stranger to collegiate baseball wars, but he is making his NCAA Div. I debut after 14 seasons guiding NAIA powerhouse Albertson College.
Mooney has tabbed junior Tyson Thompson and transfer Tony Banaszak to start on the mound against the Matadors, 23-33 last year. The Cougars, meanwhile, are coming off a 20-36 season.
WSU vs. CSU-NORTHRIDGE: The two teams have played nine games since 1995, with WSU winning six. Last year WSU swept a three-game series at Northridge, only to have the Matadors capture two of three games in Pullman late in the year.
TIM MOONEY: Tim Mooney is the 13th baseball coach at WSU, but only the fourth since 1927. Buck Bailey was head coach for 32 years, Bobo Brayton for the next 33, then Steve Farrington for the last six seasons. Mooney is a 1980 graduate from the University of Idaho and was a member of the Vandal's last diamond team. He spent the last 14 seasons coaching Albertson College to a 527-237-3 record, NAIA World Series appearances in 1998, 1999 and 2000, and the 1998 national title.
WSU STARTERS: The Cougars return five starters from last year's club, including pitcher Tyson Thompson, who was 1-6 in 2000 with a 7.02 earned run average. The other starters are sophomore Stefan Bailie at third, junior Bookie Gates at shortstop, sophomore catcher Jon Baeder and junior outfielder Evan Hecker. The Cougars also return 11 other letterwinners, seven of them pitchers.
WSU NEWCOMERS: Along with a new coach, the Cougar roster includes 15 players who will see their first action in the Cougar pinstripes. Included are five who are expected to be in the starting lineup against the Matadors. Freshman Scott Stockwell has been tabbed by Mooney to start at first, while four junior transfers will get their first starts for WSU. Tony Banaszak out of Edmonds CC will start on the mound in WSU's Friday game, while Tyson Boston, who played two years for the Washington Huskies, gets the nod in right field. In left Mooney will call on Adrian Thomas from College of Southern Idaho, or returnee Justin Williams. Brent Robertson, also a transfer from Washington, is expected to start at second base for the Cougars.
NO RADIO FOR OPENER: The season-opening series at Northridge will not be broadcast on the Cougar Baseball Network and will not be available on WSU's web site.
THE ASSISTANTS: Tim Mooney's new WSU staff includes Gary Picone, a 1976 graudate of LCSC, and Bobby Lee, who finished up at WSU in 1991 after three years at Eastern Washington. Picone handles the pitchers, while Lee coaches the outfielders and catchers.
BAEDER FINISHED 2000 STRONG: Freshman catcher Jon Baeder was struggling with a .074 batting average April 5 of last year...then, in the last month Baeder turned it up a notch to raise his batting average to a season-ending .217, going 13-for-42...he had two multi-hit games in his last five starts.
HECKER HOT AT THE END: Outfielder Evan Hecker (Seattle, Wash.) was the hottest Cougar down the stretch as the 2000 season came to an end...In the last six games, Hecker ended with six consecutive multi-hit games and hit .538 over that stretch (14x26)...Hecker raised his batting average from .234 to its end mark of .281...in 1999 as a freshman Hecker finished the season on an equally hot note with nine hits in his last seven games.
PINCH-HIT MAN FALKENBORG: In his redshirt freshman year, Wes Falkenborg was the man off the bench in 2000...with only a .216 batting average in games he started, Falkenborg was on fire off the bench with a .500 (11x22) average...as a pinch-hitter, Falkenborg was 9-for-16 for an impressive .562 batting average...to his credit, as the primary weapon against left-handed pitching, he did hit his two home runs in a starting role.
BAILIE ENDS ON A TEAR: Stefan Bailie made his name known in his redshirt freshman campaign in 2000. Bailie finished second on the team with a .315 batting average and led the club with 12 home runs. He finished the year with seven hits in his last 17 at-bats (.412) and hit home runs in three consecutive games to end the season. His 12 home runs tied a school record for home runs by a freshman, set by teammate Jason Grove in 1998. Bailie started his career with a 14-game hitting streak.
105 YEARS OF COUGAR BASEBALL: Baseball, the first sport played at Washington State University in 1892, completed its 105th season of diamond action in 2000...during its first 105 seasons, WSU baseball teams won 64.9% of their games, posting a 2,246-1,237 record...the Cougars did not field baseball teams in 1893-94-95-97.
WSU ON THE RADIO: The majority of Washington State's baseball games are broadcast by Hauser Communications in Colfax as part of Learfield Communication's Cougar Sports Properties...airtime is 20 minutes before the start of the game...games are scheduled to air on KCLX (1450 AM) with Alex Webster calling the action...Games broadcast on radio can also be heard on the internet at the WSU web site at www.wsucougars.com.
COUGAR BASEBALL RANKS FOURTH IN ALL-TIME NCAA VICTORIES: In a list compiled by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA), Washington State University ranks fifth in all-time NCAA Division I baseball victories with 2,246 prior to the 2001 season.