Diamond Notes: Washington v. OSU

In a series with huge implications for both teams, the Huskies return to the friendly confines of Husky Ballpark to host the third ranked Oregon State Beavers this weekend. The Huskies need to win the series to keep alive their postseason hopes, while the Beavers need to win to remain in contention for the Pac-10 title and a possible host berth in the upcoming NCAA tournament.

Much as Giacomo proved the pundits wrong by winning the Kentucky Derby, the Beavers have thoroughly confounded the experts who picked them to finish eighth - ahead of only Washington State - in the Pac-10. They have rolled to a 36-8 overall record and lead the Pac-10 with a 14-4 mark, a half game ahead of Arizona. After losing to Arizona State on April 30, the Beavers have won five in a row and come off a sweep of the UCLA Bruins in Los Angeles.

In that series the Beavers won a hard fought opener 3-1 and then brought the bats out in games two and three, hammering the Bruins 10-4 and 16-3.

Jacoby Ellsbury led the offensive attack in the series, going 9 for 16 with four doubles, four runs scored and six runs batted in. On the mound the Beavers got wins from their weekend starters. In the opener sophomore right hander Dallas Buck pitched eight innings, allowing only one run on four hits and two walks while striking out eight. In the middle game, sophomore left hander Anton Maxwell pitched six innings, allowing four runs on nine hits and one walk, with seven strikeouts. Then in the finale, Jonah Nickerson got the win, allowing three runs on eight hits and two walks, with six strikeouts in six innings.

For the season the Beavers have used both great hitting and terrific pitching to climb toward the top of the national polls. They currently rank second in the Pac-10 with a .323 batting average and lead the conference with a 2.89 earned run average. Ellsbury, chosen by Baseball America as a preseason third team All-American, has led the offense from the leadoff spot, hitting .446 with a .528 on-base percentage and a .651 slugging percentage with 40 runs scored, 16 doubles, two triples, six home runs,41 runs batted in, and 20 stolen bases.

On the mound, Buck, a second team preseason All-American selection by Baseball America, preseason all-American has a 9-1 record with a 2.01 ERA. In 89 and 2/3 innings he has allowed 67 hits, 34 runs, only 20 earned, with 31 walks and 94 strikeouts. Maxwell has an 8-1 mark with a 4.40 ERA. In 73 2/3 innings he has given up 69 hits, 41 runs, 36 earned, with 26 walks and 57 strikeouts. Nickerson remains undefeated at 8-0 with a 1.43 ERA. He has given up 57 hits, 22 runs, only 12 earned, with 17 walks and 80 strikeouts in 75 1/3 innings.

The Beavers also have an outstanding closer. Sophomore Kevin Gunderson has 10 saves and has allowed only 33 hits and 10 walks, while striking out 45 in 48 2/3 innings.

The Huskies currently have a 27-18 record and a 14-3 mark at home. Their last Pac-10 action was against Washington State in Pullman from April 29 to May 1, where they outscored the Cougars 44-12 while getting 56 hits. Everyone contributed offensively, with Curt Rindal the biggest star as he won Pac-10 player of the week honors, going 8 for 15 with three homers, two doubles, five runs scored and 12 runs batted in. Zach Clem went 6 for 10 with two homers, six runs scored and seven RBI. Brent Lillibridge went 8 for 15 with eight runs scored. Taylor Johnson finished 7 for 13 with five runs and five runs batted in, and Matt Hague went 6 for 15 with a home run, four runs and five runs batted in.

For the season, the quartet of Hague, Lillibridge, Clem and Johnson has led the Huskies at the plate. Hague leads the team with a .422 average and has seven homers. Clem owns a .354 average and a team-leading Lillibridge is batting .347 with 47 runs scored, 16 doubles, four triples, seven homers and 38 RBI, and Johnson has a .329 average with seven homers and 38 RBI.

On the mound, ace right hander Tim Lincecum has a 6-5 record with a 3.21 ERA. In 81 1/3 innings, he has allowed only 49 hits and struck out 98. In the bullpen, David Dowling has a 6-1 mark and closer Josh Conover has five saves and a 1.16 ERA.

The series begins on Friday night at 6:30 p.m. with Lincecum facing Buck. In game two, at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Kyle Parker will start for the Huskies against Maxwell. In game three, at 1 p.m. on Sunday, the Huskies will send out a starter to be determined against Nickerson.

Dawgman.com Top Stories