March 20, 2002
COUGAR DIAMOND NOTES
WSU OPENS PAC-10 PLAY: The Washington State Cougar baseball team finally gets to play a home game after 20 games on the road, but rather than playing at Bailey-Brayton Field, the Cougars open Pacific-10 Conference play this week in Lewiston, Idaho.
Unplayable field conditions at WSU's home field have forced officials to move the three-game series this weekend with the California Bears to Harris Field, home of the Lewis-Clark State Warriors. LCSC is currently on a road trip, which allows WSU to play on the Warrior field 32 miles south of Pullman.
Friday's first game will begin at 2:00 p.m., with 1:00 p.m. games slated for Saturday and Sunday against the Bears.
WSU officials will wait until this weekend to decide if next week's home games against Washington will also be moved to Lewiston. In all likelihood WSU and Washington will play single games Monday and Tuesday at the LCSC field.
Bookie Gates continues to pace WSU at the plate with a .382 average. Gates is the team leader in hits (29), RBI (21), total bases (45) and triples (3).
Six other Cougar hitters boast averages of over .300, including third baseman Jeff LaRue and catcher Jon Baeder at .333, and Justin Hart at .322. Right behind them are Steve Mortimer .320, Evan Hecker at .312 and Derek Bruce .303.
The Cougars are hitting .293 as a team, while opponents are hitting .296.
Last week the Cougars lost three at Oregon State, then had a Monday game at Portland rained out. Collin Henderson led WSU offensively, hitting .455, with five singles and his first home run of the season. No other Cougar batter hit over .300 against the Beavers.
2002 PLAYER NOTES: Bookie Gates is currently riding a 10-game hitting streak, while Evan Hecker also has had a 10-game streak this year...Collin Henderson's five-game hitting streak is the second longest active streak...Gates has had seven multi-RBI games and nine multi-hit games, but Jeff LaRue is the leader with three games with three or more hits...WSU is hitting better throughout the lineup this year, with every position hitting at least .273...the average, in order is: #1 .281, #2 .301, #3 .329, #4 .296, #5 .274, #6 .274, #7 .310, #8 .297, #9 .273....when starting, Cougar hitters are batting .299, while those who have appeared as non-starters are hitting .209.
A TEAM WITH HART: Since his insertion into the starting lineup, sophomore left fielder Justin Hart has provided a spark for the WSU offense...the transfer from Columbia Basin College is batting .322 (fourth on the team) and has scored 17 runs, while driving in six runs...he has one home run to his credit and is tied for the team lead in walks with nine.
ON THE HUNDT: Junior pitcher Brandon Hundt has made quite an impact on the Cougars' starting rotation...Hundt is a team-leading 4-0 with a 3.41 ERA and has notched a team-best 43 strikeouts...Hundt also has the lowest opponent batting average of any starter, holding opposing hitters to a .233 average...Hundt was the victim of rain at OSU last weekend...he faced 10 batters in the first three innings, sat through a rain delay in the middle of the fourth inning, gave up two two-run home runs in the bottom of the inning, then endured another rain delay and did not return to action.
DOUBLE DUTY: Sophomore outfielder Collin Henderson joined the team in time for the Feb. 15-17 series against Gonzaga...through last weekend he is now batting .295 with 12 RBI...last weekend he led the team at OSU with a .455 average...Henderson is also a starting wide receiver on the Cougar football team, catching nine passes for 83 yards and one touchdown in 12 starts for the 10-2 Sun Bowl Champions...a three-year starter in football for the Cougs, Henderson is playing baseball for the first time since he was a senior at Puyallup High School...he was a three-sport prep star, earning all-league honors in baseball, basketball and football.
COUGS LOSE FARRAR: Junior outfielder Jeremy Farrar, who collected two hits in WSU's first win over CSUN, is expected to miss the remainder of the season after suffering a torn ACL in his right knee...Farrar transferred to WSU from Hill JC in Texas August and was one of the newcomers Tim Mooney was counting on to provide solid play both at the plate and in the outfield.
NOTES FROM 2001 SEASON: Garrett Alwert came on strong over the last half of the 2001 season, finishing the year with 15 mound appearances and eight starts and the best ERA among Cougar regulars at 5.40 in 58.1 innings...during his late-season 11-game hitting streak last season Jon Baeder hit .400 and raised his average from .219 to .266...as a starter Baeder hit safely in 13 straight games before being blanked in the finale...in 54 games in 2001, nearly half, 22, were determined by one or two runs... the outcome of 17 games were by one run and five more by two runs... WSU was 6-11 in one-run games, 1-4 in two run games, 1-7 in three-run games, 1-3 in four-run games and 6-13 in margins of five or more runs...WSU's leadoff batters hit .339 in 2001 and the number two spot hit .292, then .292 in the number three slot and .348 in cleanup...overall, the Cougs hit .318 through the top four spots in the order and .254 combined for the bottom five sports...Baeder boasted the longest hitting streak of the 2001 season at 11 games, while Bookie Gates was one of three Cougs who had nine-game hitting streaks...he also had 21-multiple-hit games and drove home two or more runs in 13 games...Gates was named the Pac-10's Player of the Week April 2, 2001, for his performance against UCLA last year...Gates hit 10-14, had seven RBI, scored five times, hit three doubles and one home run...three members of WSU's team were selected in the MLB draft...WSU's top hitter Stefan Bailie, was taken by the Boston Red Sox in the fourth round...pitcher Tyson Thompson was selected by Tampa Bay in the 33rd round...second baseman Bookie Gates was tabbed by Minnesota in round 35.
TIM MOONEY . . . (Quotes from March 19 press conference)
(Playing in Lewiston) "I don't foresee it as much of a problem. We've been on that field more than on ours. It just won't feel like a home game - few fans."
(How is team playing) "In game one at Oregon State, we didn't play well. In the other two games we played well, with intensity. In the third game we didn't play well enough. We had eight walks. The effort was there, but we have to play better."
(California) "Cal brings Trevor Hutchinson, the number one pitcher in the conference last year. They have nearly all their players back from last year when they went to the regionals. They are a mature team. In addition to Hutchinson, they have Brian Montalbo, who was a fourth round draft choice, and Matt Brown. They have some seasoning."
(LCSC Park) "It is a hitters' park. It doesn't favor us because we are not a power team. It might favor Cal a little, but I don't see it as a significant difference."
106 YEARS OF COUGAR BASEBALL: Baseball, the first sport played at Washington State University in 1892, completed its 106th season of diamond action in 2001...during its first 106 seasons, WSU baseball teams won 63.9% of their games, posting a 2,261-1,276 record...the Cougars did not field baseball teams in 1893-94-95-97.
WSU ON THE RADIO/INTERNET: WSU's baseball games will be broadcast by KCLX (1450 AM) or KMAX (840) in Colfax, Wash., during the 2002 season...WSU radio broadcasts are handled by Cougar Sports Properties, a sub-division of Learfield Communications...Alex Webster will call most of the WSU games...games broadcast on radio are also available on the internet at the WSU web site, www.wsucougars.com.
COUGAR BASEBALL RANKS SIXTH IN ALL-TIME NCAA VICTORIES: Washington State University ranked sixth in all-time NCAA Division I baseball victories with 2,261 prior to the 2002 season.