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Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Cougars Open 2003 Baseball Season At Pacific
Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Release: 02/07/2003
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Feb. 7, 2003

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Friday, Feb. 7WSU at Pacific, 3:00 p.m., Billy Hebert Field (3,500), Stockton, Calif.
Saturday, Feb. 8WSU at Pacific, 1:00 p.m., Billy Hebert Field (3,500), Stockton, Calif.
Sunday, Feb. 9WSU at Pacific, 1:00 p.m., Billy Hebert Field (3,500), Stockton, Calif.
Friday, Feb. 14WSU at CS-Long Beach, 6:30 p.m., Blair Field (3,000), Long Beach, Calif.
Saturday, Feb. 15WSU at CS-Long Beach, 1:00 p.m., Blair Field (3,000), Long Beach, Calif.
Sunday, Feb. 16WSU at CS-Long Beach, 1:00 p.m., Blair Field (3,000), Long Beach, Calif.


COUGS OPEN AT PACIFIC: The Washington State Cougar baseball team opens the 2003 season on the road this weekend with three games at Pacific.

Game times for the Feb. 7-8-9 series will be, respectively, 3:00 p.m., 1:00 p.m. and noon.

Third year WSU head coach Tim Mooney is expected to start senior Tony Banaszak in Friday's opener, then go with a pair of newcomers, junior transfer Aaron MacKenzie in the second game and freshman Greg Goetz in game three.

WSU returns 21 letterwinners, including its top two hitters from last year, Justin Hart and Jeff LaRue. The returning veterans include seven position players, losing only second baseman Bookie Gates and centerfielder Evan Hecker. Also back are two starters on the mound, Brandon Hundt and Bryce Chamberlin.

Hart won the batting title in the final series of the 2002 campaign, edging LaRue and Gates with his .370 average. LaRue was right behind him with a .367 average.

Hart scored 37 runs, fourth-best on the team, while driving in 28 runs. His .455 slugging percentage ranked him fifth on the team among regulars, while his .442 on base percentage led the Cougars. He finished fourth among all Pacific-10 Conference batters.

LaRue was the team leader for total bases (119), slugging percentage (.598), multiple-hit games (24), hits (73) and at-bats (199).

LaRue is expected to be the every day second baseman this season, making the move from third to replace Gates.

Taking over for him at third will be freshman Dustin Realini, or senior Bruce Jacobsen.

Sophomore Derek Bruce returns at shortstop, while the battle at first baseball will be between veterans Steve Mortimer, who hit .304 last year, or Grant Richardson. Bruce led the Cougars with 11 home runs last year and hit .260.

In the outfield, Mooney is expected to start Collin Henderson in right, junior transfer Zapper McGrath in center and Hart in left. Off the bench, he will call on freshman Jay Miller and junior transfer Chad Spellman.

The Cougars will play the first month of the season without the services of junior outfielder Jeremy Farrar because of a broken bone in his left hand. Farrar also missed all but the first game last year due to a right knee injury. He had been expected to start in right field.

Mooney wants to use Hundt this season coming out of the bullpen, but that will depend on how effective some of the young pitchers are in a starting role. He had three saves in 2002.

WSU RADIO: Cougar baseball radio broadcasts will begin Feb. 27 when WSU plays in the Banana Belt Tournament in Lewiston...the first three weekend series' will not be broadcast and will not be available on WSU's internet site.

SINGLE SEASON RECORD CHASERS: Brandon Hundt set the WSU single season record for hits allowed, 124, last year...Hundt also tied for ninth with 16 starts and tied for fifth in losses (7), third in hits allowed (116), third in runs allowed (84) and tied for fourth in earned runs allowed (67).

HEAVY METAL: Junior third baseman Jeff LaRue did a lot of damage at the plate in 2002...for the season, LaRue was WSU's second leading hitter at .367...the Laguna Niguel, Calif., native also was the team leader for total bases (119), slugging percentage (.598), multiple-hit games (24), hits (73) and at-bats (199)...the transfer from Saddleback Junior College finished second on the team in RBI (40), doubles (16), and home runs (10), and tied for second in runs scored (45).

A TEAM WITH HART: Outfielder Justin Hart provided a huge boost to the WSU offense last season...Hart gave the Cougars a solid bat, usually hitting in the #2 spot...he hit a team-best .370 and scored 37 runs, fourth-best on the team, while driving in 28 runs...his .455 slugging percentage ranked him fifth on the team among regulars, while his .442 on base percentage led the Cougars...Hart, a Woodinville, Wash. Native, also finished tied for third on the team in walks (19) and sixth in total bases (75)...Hart also led WSU in Pac-10 play with a .392 average, the sixth best average in the league.

SUPER SUBS: WSU had great offensive production from its bench in 2002...two of the key players were juniors Bruce Jacobsen and Robert Stahlke...both played multiple positions...Jacobsen hit .289 with nine starts and played at both third and first base...Stahlke was a designated hitter and second baseman and hit .318 with ten starts...he had 17 RBI and five doubles.

MISCELLANEOUS FACTS: WSU was 4-6 against ranked teams in 2002...the Cougars took two games from Cal State Northridge, one from Texas A&M and one from Arizona State...three of the losses came at the end of the season to College World Series participant Stanford...WSU finished second in the Pac-10 in double plays turned with 66 and hit into the fewest (18).

GATES ALL-PAC-10: Senior Bookie Gates was named the All-Pacific-10 Conference second baseman last year by the league coaches after finished ninth in the league in hitting (.362) the end of the season he was drafted in the 25th round by Arizona.

COUGS EARN PAC-10 HM: Four members of the 2003 Cougar team received honorable mention recognition on the 2002 All-Pac-10 team: pitcher Brandon Hundt, shortstop Derek Bruce, third baseman Jeff LaRue and outfielder Justin Hart.

ALL-PAC-10 ACADEMIC: Collin Henderson (3.60 in sports management) and Brandon Reddinger (3.90, undeclared) were named to the Pac-10 Academic first team last year and Garrett Alwert was an honorable mention pick.

COUGAR BASEBALL RANKS SIXTH IN ALL-TIME NCAA VICTORIES: Washington State University ranked sixth in all-time NCAA Division I baseball victories with 2,282 at the end of the 2002 season.

DOUBLE DUTY: In 2002 outfielder Collin Henderson turned out for baseball for the first time since his high school days and ended the year hitting .297 with 24 RBI...his best series came against Arizona near the end of the year when he hit .455 and belted a game-winning, bases loaded double in the ninth inning of game three, providing WSU with a 9-7 win...Henderson was a three-year starting wide receiver for the Cougar football team...he ended his football career last fall with 62 career receptions for 566 yards...he also completed 11 of 12 career passes for 499 yards and six touchdowns.

Washington State Cougars Baseball