Washington Baseball returns this weekend! Can the Huskies find themselves in the College World Series for the second year in a row?
Washington baseball begins its 2019 season on the road this Saturday against UC Irvine with a doubleheader. The two teams will play three games over the weekend. The Huskies men will play most teams in a three-game series, with an early exception of a one-off against Cal-State Fullerton on Monday, February 18th.
The Washington baseball team has 23 returning players on their 33 roster spots. They have five true freshmen on the squad, along with a redshirt freshman and four transfers.
Ramone Bramasco, a junior transfer out of Cerritos College, is expected to start at shortstop. Freshmen righthanded pitcher David Rhodes, a 40th round pick last year for the Seattle Mariners out of White Rock, British Columbia is expected to be one of the Huskies starters. The other four freshmen on the squad could be redshirted this year.
The Washington baseball team has two seniors on it. The first is Joe Wainhouse, the Huskies designated hitter. Wainhouse was one of two Huskies to earn All-Pac 12 honors last year, thanks to 19 home runs with driving in 61 runs batted in. He hit for a batting average of .306. He is listed as a pitcher as well. Head coach Lindsay Meggs plans to have Wainhouse play some first base this year along with pitching some in relief.
The other senior is left fielder Mason Cerrillo. The left hander lead the team in hitting last season with a .341 average to go with 21 RBI. He might play some first base as well. He played 13 games at first last year.
Following the departure of Joe Demars for the MLB, Junior Jordan Jones will be taking on the role of number one pitcher for the Huskies. He had a record of 6-4 last year with a 3.98 ERA last season, much better than the 5-8 record and 4.42 ERA of his freshman year. He struck out 83 batters and walked only 19 in 19 appearances.
Sophomore righthander Stevie Emanuels is expected to be the late innings reliever for the Washington baseball team. Last year, he appeared in 34 games as a freshman, ending with an 8-2 record and an ERA of 4.37.
The Huskies finished third place in Pac-12 with a record of 20-10 last season. Overall they had a record of 35-26, and earned their first trip to the College World Series.
UC Irvine had a record of 13-11 last year in the Big West Conference, with an overall record of 32-24. They finished second in the Big West last year and are expected to once again contend with reigning champions Cal State Fullerton for the top spot.
UCI has a new head coach this year in Ben Orloff. He has been an assistant at UCI since 2013 after he retired from playing minor league baseball. He was the starting shortstop for UCI before going pro. He replaces Mike Gillespie who retired after last year.
UC Irvine has a solid pitching staff. It begins with All-American Andre Pallante, a sophomore who had a record last year of 10-1 with an ERA of 1.60. Pallante is joined by Trenton Denholm with an ERA of 4.72, Louis Raymond at 3.48, and Taylor Rashi at 2.97. They have brought in junior transfer and California Junior College Pitcher Of The Year, Tanner Brubaker. Closer Jordan Bocko is also returning after ending last season with a record of 5-2, 2.98 ERA and eight saves.
UC Irvine has their double play combo back in shortstop Christian Koss and Brendan Brooks. Koss, along with his defensive range, batted .287 last year while Brooks batted .308. It will be the pitching and defense that makes UC Irvine this season.
Cal State Fullerton out of the Big West has won the conference the last six of eight years including last year. They have made the College World Series in two of those six years.
Unlike UC Irvine, Cal State Fullerton lost their three top pitchers from last year’s championship season. The top pitcher on the starting staff will be sophomore Tanner Bisbee, who ended with a record of 3-5 with an ERA of 3.86. They will have to replace their closer Brett Conine as well.
Washington hopes to replicate the success of last season, and getting early wins against UCI and Cal State Fullerton is a great place to start.