Crimson diamond notes

AN NCAA TOURNAMENT run sparked a return to the national baseball scene for Washington State this spring, and current and former Cougar baseball players are doing their best to keep the crimson in the news this summer.

Former Cougar Mark Hendrickson, (1993-96), has given his career a jolt since being dropped from the starting rotation in Baltimore earlier this year.

Over his last nine appearances, the 35-year-old Hendrickson is 3-0 with a 1.32 earned run average.

Friends and family were on hand to watch the Mount Vernon native even his record at 4-4 Tuesday in Seattle with 2 2/3 innings of shutout relief.

After seven starts where he posted a 1-4 record and 6.75 ERA with Baltimore, Hendrickson is 3-0 with a 2.89 ERA in 17 relief appearances.

"Whether it's long relief or situational work, I just feel like maybe this is my fit for the remainder of my career," Hendrickson told

Hendrickson, who focused primarily on basketball at Washington State and played briefly in the NBA, started during most of his previous seven years in the majors and had a 50-63 record.

Another left-hander out of WSU, Matt Way, earned a front-page feature on minor league baseball's website after a third consecutive outstanding start to begin his pro career.

Way has given up just one run, one walk and five hits in 14 innings with the Williamsport (Pa.) Crosscutters of the short-season Class A New York-Penn League. He's 1-0 with 13 strikeouts since being drafted in the fifth round by Philadelphia last month.

Yet another Cougar southpaw, Rusty Shellhorn, pitched seven innings of one-hit, shutout ball with 12 strikeouts Sunday for the NorthCoast Knights of Lorain, Ohio.

Shellhorn is 3-2 with a 2.01 ERA for NorthCoast after struggling in his only four games with WSU (0-1, 12.15) as a freshman at WSU this past season.

Shellhorn is playing in the Prospect League, which has produced major league all-stars like Philadelphia Phillies slugger Ryan Howard and Boston Red Sox closer Jason Papelbon.

Shellhorn was the Gatorade Player of the Year in Washington high school baseball at Central Valley in 2008, and even before his big game Sunday, Cougar coach Donnie Marbut recently predicted, "He's going to be a great pitcher for the Cougars."

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