April 5, 2006
PULLMAN, Wash. - Thirty-one baseball games played in 2006. Twenty multi-hit games, 20 doubles, five total strikeouts and only three games without a hit. Jay Miller is flat out good. Smashing the ball around with a .432 batting average, opposing pitchers have yet to find a consistent answer for Miller and the Washington State baseball team.
The senior outfielder is on his way to the top of Cougar baseball lore, climbing the charts in hits, doubles, and batting average. If he continues the torrid pace at the plate, Miller will finish his career with the most hits and doubles in the history of Washington State baseball. His name could then be found in the mix with legends like Mike Kinkade, Jim Connor, and John Olerud.
Currently Miller ranks second on WSU's all-time hits list with 276 trailing Kinkade by 28. His 66 doubles are second to Kinkade's 75. Miller has also temporarily moved into the top ten in batting average, which is led by John Olerud's .434, with a .354 mark.
"Those guys are so good I don't think I deserve to be up there with them," Miller said. "I guess I have a chance [at the records], but we also have a chance at making a regional here. That's pretty cool too, and I want this team to be good after I'm gone."
While Miller is focused on the success of his team, head baseball coach Donnie Marbut has no doubt about how good his star left fielder has become.
"I don't think he gets the respect he deserves in the Pac-10, he has more hits than any active player in the Pac-10 right now," Marbut said. "We are talking about Washington State, which has had great players and he is going to have more hits than anyone in the history of the program, so that's quite a feat."
Marbut admits that there are players on the Cougar roster who have more natural talent than the 5-foot-9 Pac-10 Player of the Week (March 21-27), but recognizes that Miller has worked hard to be a consistent cog in the core of the Cougars line-up for the past few seasons.
"Jay has great work ethic and nobody spends more time in the cage than he does," Marbut said.
In addition, Marbut described Miller as the type of guy who does not allow himself fail, does not take a day off, and wants to be a great player. Miller recognizes that the added pressure of record breaking and postseason possibilities need not deter him from abiding consistency.
"Every weekend is a new weekend, every at-bat is a new at-bat, every game is a new game," Miller said. "[I] have to go out there and approach every one like it's new."
Regardless of what anybody says about the Cougar slugger, at the end of the day Jay Miller will lead the WSU baseball record book in hits and doubles, and will quite possibly lead the Cougars to the postseason for the first time since 1991.