Game Notes in .pdf
The Games: Air Force (8-4) travels to Millington, Tenn., for the annual
Service Academies Classic, Feb. 23-25.
Fri. Feb. 23 10 a.m. Army Millington, Tenn.
Fri. Feb. 23 1 p.m. Navy Millington, Tenn.
Sat. Feb. 24 4 p.m. Univ. of Memphis Millington, Tenn.
Sun. Feb. 25 TBA Consolation/Championship Millington, Tenn.
Air Force concludes its 11-game road swing this weekend in
Millington. The Falcons played in Tampa, Fla., two weeks ago and Wichita,
Kan., last weekend.
Falcons Fall to Wichita State:
The Falcons dropped three games to Wichita
State last weekend. The Shockers swept a doubleheader, 5-3 and 7-1, on
Saturday, then defeated Air Force, 12-4, on Sunday.
The Falcons entered the Wichita State series leading
the Mountain West Conference with a .333 batting average. The offense
struggled against the Shockers, however, batting .202 (20-99) with two
doubles and seven RBI. Air Force is now third in the MWC with a .299
average. Sophomore Brian LaBasco led the Falcons with a .455 average (5-11)
in the three games.
Best Start Since '86:
Air Force's 8-1 start equalled the 8-1 start of the
1986 team. The 1964 squad put together the best start in the program's
history, beginning the season 10-1 en route to a 22-5 record.
Senior outfielder Mike Thiessen, who became the
sixth player in AFA history to earn All-American honors (third-team baseball
writers in 2000), was named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers of
America preseason All-American second team for 2001.
Last Year's Service Academies Classic:
Air Force went 2-2 at the 2000
Service Academies Classic. The Falcons opened the tournament with a 6-0
defeat at the hands of Notre Dame and former AFA coach Paul Mainieri, then
defeated Army (14-1) and Navy (5-0). Ohio State beat the Falcons in the
championship game, 5-4.
Scouting the Opponents:
Army opens its season against Air Force. The Black
Knights were 24-20-1 overall last season and 10-8 to finish second in the
Patriot League. Army won the league's tournament and advanced to its first
NCAA Regionals. Navy is 0-3 this season after getting swept by the
University of Virginia last weekend. The Midshipmen were 24-20-1 overall in
2000 and 14-6 to win the Patriot League regular season title. Memphis,
meanwhile, is 2-0 this season after winning a pair of games against Lipscomb
University (4-3 and 2-1) last weekend. The Tigers posted a 15-37 overall
record last season and was 8-18 in Conference USA play.
Air Force owns a 15-6 advantage in the overall series with
Army. The Falcons are 8-4 against Navy, while Memphis has won four of the
seven games against AFA, including a 3-2 victory over the Falcons at the
Classic in 1998.
About the Conference:
Air Force embarks on its second season in the Mountain
West Conference. The Falcons face Brigham Young, New Mexico, San Diego
State, UNLV and Utah. The teams play a three-game series at each site for 30
conference games. Colorado State and Wyoming do not have baseball programs.
New Mexico won the inaugural regular season championship last season while
SDSU won the tournament championship. AFA placed sixth in the regular season
and second in the tournament.
Addition to Schedule:
Air Force has added Division II opponent Metro State
College to this year's schedule. AFA will host the Roadrunners on Wednesday,
Apr. 18 beginning at 2:30 p.m.
New Triples Record:
Air Force set a new school record with six triples in
the game against Hastings College, Jan. 26. Gerremy Goldsberry and Derck
Kasel each had two while Bowie Frost and Nelson Prouty each had one. The six
triples broke the record of five set against Colorado College in 1993. The
Falcons had only five triples as a team all of last season.
Consecutive .400 Seasons:
With a .414 batting average last season, Mike
Thiessen became the first Falcon in 14 years and just the sixth in school
history to have consecutive .400 seasons (among players averaging three or
more at-bats per game). Thiessen led the conference in batting in 1999 and
2000, and is attempting to be the first player in the 44 years of Falcon
baseball to have three straight .400 or better seasons. He would be the
second player to have three .400 seasons in a career. Below is a list of the
Falcons who had consecutive .400 seasons.
Mike Thiessen 1999 (.424) 2000 (.414) 2001 (.290 currently)
Eric Pharris 1983 (.430) 1985 (.434) 1986 (.476)
John Johnson 1981 (.407) 1982 (.491)
Jeff Brown 1974 (.400) 1975 (.419)
Dick Smithwick 1969 (.442) 1970 (.441)
Bruce Huneke 1963 (.438) 1964 (.402)
Pitching coach Bobby Applegate assembled one of the best staffs
in school history last season. That's the good news. The best news is they
are all back this season. Applegate's staff produced some phenomenal numbers
last season. The team finished the season with a 6.87 team ERA with eight
complete games. The team ERA was the best since the Falcons posted a 6.15
team ERA in 1993. The staff had a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 1.8 -to- 1 with
337 K's and only 183 walks in 461 innings. The staff shattered the school
record with 337 strikeouts last season. In 12 games this season, the staff
has a 4.45 team ERA with 93 strikeouts and 35 walks.
Fisher Coming Off of Banner Season:
Erik Fisher completed one of the best
seasons recently by a Falcon pitcher. The right-hander from Riverside,
Calif., finished the year with a 5.33 ERA, the best by a starter since Jon
Mosier posted a 5.31 ERA in 1989. Fisher shattered the school record for
innings pitched in a season. His 104.2 innings broke the previous record of
98 set by Pete Bracci in 1964. Fisher's 85 strikeouts tied as the third most
in school history and the most since Bob Wright had 85 in 1982. He is off
to another good start this season with a 1-1 record and a 2.67 ERA. He
defeated Hastings College in the season opener and pitched seven strong
innings in the 6-4 win over Iowa State. He added eight innings of six-hit
ball against VMI but did not figure in the decision. His first loss of the
season occurred last weekend at Wichita State, but he still struck out eight
batters in seven innings. In 27 innings this year, Fisher has recorded 30
strikeouts and allowed only 10 walks.
Reed Peters (UNLV, 1992) is in his second season as the Falcons'
head coach and his third season overall with Air Force. He came to the
Academy as an assistant coach in the fall of 1998. His career and Air Force
record is 31-38. His first career victory came against Iowa State, Feb. 6,
2000. Peters' coaching career began at his alma mater, UNLV, where he was an
assistant coach from 1990-94. The Denver native was the head coach at Colby
Community College (Kansas) from 1995-98. He led the Trojans to a 123-80
record for a .600 winning percentage. He led the team to a regional
championship and two regional runners-up. After serving as the acting head
coach during the season, Peters was named the head coach May 17, 2000.
Thiessen's Assault of the Record Book:
Last season, Mike Thiessen broke the
school records for hitting streak (33), doubles in a season (28), doubles in
a career (59), hits in a season (91) and at-bats in a season (220). Some of
the records were absolutely shattered. The previous records were: hitting
streak (29 in 1980), doubles in a season (21 in 1990), doubles in a career
(56 in 1991), hits in a season (86 in 1988) and at-bats in a season (215 in
1998). Thiessen is within reach of several Falcon career records. The list
Career Stats Current Rank Needs for Record School Record
61 doubles 1st - --
115 walks 2nd 2 116, Mike Kazlausky, 1991
242 hits 2nd 2 243, Vern Mullis, 1994
637 at bats 2nd 10 646, Vern Mullis, 1994
200 runs 2nd 14 213, Mike Kazlausky, 1991
397 total bases 3rd 58 454, Vern Mullis, 1994
35 stolen bases 7th 43 77, Jim Best, 1980
26 home runs 13th 21 46, Steve Saleck, 1980
Four Falcon baseball players are two-sport athletes at the
Academy. Mike Thiessen and Brian LaBasco also play football while Brian
Gornick plays hockey and Josh Wallace plays basketball. Thiessen is the most
recognizable name on the list. The Falcons' starting centerfielder was also
the starting quarterback for the football team this past fall. He was named
the MWC co-offensive player of the year and was also named the offensive MVP
in the Silicon Valley Classic bowl game. The senior from Modesto, Calif.,
broke school records for passing yards and touchdowns in the option era. He
also led the team in rushing and rushing touchdowns. LaBasco was a wide
receiver on the Falcon football team. The sophomore from Hollywood, Fla.,
was second on the team in receptions and third in yards. He led the Falcons
in receiving yards at the bowl game. Gornick, who is a reserve outfielder
with a lot of power at the plate, is one of the Air Force's top scorers on
the ice. He was a preseason all-conference selection as a forward. A draft
pick of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in 1999, the St. Paul, Minn., native was a
second-team all-conference choice last season. Wallace is a reserve center
on the Falcon basketball team and is expected to pitch for the baseball team
later in the season. The 6'9" Wallace opened eyes during fall practice with
a live fastball. Wallace and Gornick will not join the baseball team until
Air Force lost three consecutive games on the road to No. 25
Wichita State. The Shockers swept a doubleheader on Saturday, 5-3 and 7-1,
then won a single game, 12-4, on Sunday.
Saturday vs. Wichita State (Game 1):
Wichita State took a 3-0 lead with a
run in the first inning and two in the fourth. Air Force mustered just one
hit off Shocker starter Ben Keiter in five innings, a single by Price
Paramore in the fifth. However, Paramore was erased on a strike out, throw
out double play trying to steal second. Keiter faced the minimum number of
batters before leaving the game after the fifth inning. Brian LaBasco got
the Falcons on the board with a two-out, two-run double in the top of the
sixth inning that scored Bowie Frost and Daniel Petro to cut the Shocker
lead to 3-2. LaBasco was later thrown out at third base after a pitch in the
dirt by WSU's Mike Dennison to end the inning. WSU came back with a run in
the bottom of the sixth to extend its lead to 4-2. A double by Adam Howes in
the seventh scored Gerremy Goldsberry to make it a 4-3 score, but the
Shockers completed the scoring with a run in the eighth. Erik Fisher (1-1)
gave up four runs on seven hits in seven innings for Air Force. He struck
out eight batters, but walked a season-high seven. Justin Alford worked the
eighth inning and gave up one run on one hit.
Saturday vs. Wichita State (Game 2):
In Saturday's second game, Wichita
State took control of the game in the second inning. The Shockers scored
four runs on four hits off Falcon starter Matt Kaercher (2-1). WSU added a
run in the third, sixth and seventh innings. Air Force scored its lone run
in the top of the seventh when Kris Wolfram led off the inning with a
pinch-hit single, stole second and scored on a Nelson Prouty single. LaBasco
had a solid day at the plate for the Falcons, going 4-for-8 with two RBI.
Prouty was the only other Air Force player with more than one hit for the
day. The Falcons collected 12 hits in the two games, but struck out 19
Sunday vs. Wichita State:
Wichita State used a four-run second inning and
back-to-back home runs in the third inning to put the game away. Air Force
jumped to a 2-0 lead with a run in each of the first two innings without the
benefit of a hit. LaBasco led off the game with a walk and advanced to
second when WSU's Logan Sorensen threw the ball away on a pickoff attempt.
Two ground balls to second base later, LaBasco scored the game's first run.
In the second, Adam Howes walked and stole second base. He came around to
score when Derck Kasel swung at a third strike in the dirt and Shocker
catcher Kent Becker threw the ball over Sorensen's head into WSU's bullpen,
allowing Howes to score from second. The Shockers struck for four runs in
the second inning for the second consecutive game, capped by a two-run
double by Eric Absher. They added two more in the third when Sorensen and
Becker hit home runs on consecutive pitches from Air Force starter Mike
Tufte. Wichita State scored two in the fourth, one in the sixth and three in
the seventh on Justin McCarty's three-run homer off AFA's David Diehl. The
Falcons scored two runs in the sixth inning thanks to three consecutive
singles and a two-run double by Howes. Mike Thiessen led the hit assault
but was thrown out at home on Josh Phifer's single. Air Force collected
only three singles in the final three innings. Tufte fell to 3-1 this
season by giving up eight runs on eight hits in only four innings of work.
Wichita State starter Justin Maureau gained the win by allowing two runs on
only one hit in five innings.
LaBasco led the Falcons with five hits against Wichita State, while Thiessen
added three. The Falcons had only four extra base hits, all doubles. Howes
had a team-high three RBI and recorded two of the doubles.
Following the Service Academies Classic, Air Force returns to
Colorado Springs for its first home games in three weeks. The Falcons will
play Nebraska-Omaha on Thursday, Mar. 1 at 1 p.m., then face Northern Iowa
in a three-game series starting Friday, Mar. 2 at 1 p.m. Game two is
Saturday, Mar. 3 at noon and the series finale is Sunday, Mar. 4 beginning
Erik Fisher -- C2C (Jr.), P, Riverside, Calif.
Off to a good start this season as he earned the win over Hastings in the
season opener... Went five innings and gave up just one unearned one on five
hits with seven strikeouts and no walks... Followed with a strong
seven-inning performance against Iowa State, allowing three runs on six hits
and striking out eight, but did not figure in the decision... Threw eight
innings in the first game against VMI, allowing six hits and striking out
seven, but did not figure in the decision... Suffered his first loss of the
season against Wichita State, but still struck out eight batters in seven
innings... He is 1-1 with an impressive 2.67 ERA and has 30 strikeouts and
10 walks this season... Had one of the best seasons in many years for an Air
Force pitcher last year... 6-8 record, a 5.33 ERA, five complete games and a
shutout... Broke the school record with 104.2 innings pitched last season...
School-record 21.1 scoreless inning streak... Led the team with 85
strikeouts, the third most in AFA history... Named the MWC Pitcher of the
Gerremy Goldsberry -- C1C (Sr.), OF, Omaha, Neb.
Started the 2001 season with a bang... Hit .667 (4-for-6) with five runs
scored, two triples and an RBI in two games against Hastings College... Then
hit .636 (7-for-11) in three games against ISU with three home runs, nine
RBI and five runs scored... Currently hitting .342 with a .789 slugging
percentage (38 at bats, 30 total bases)... Leads the conference in
slugging... Tied for second in the MWC with 10 walks... MWC Player of the
Week after the Iowa State series... Hit his fourth home run of the season in
the series finale against VMI, and leads the team with 15 RBI... He had five
home runs entering the 2001 campaign ... Second on the team with a .392
batting average last season... Second on the team with 48 RBI and was fourth
with five homers... Eight RBI against Panhandle last season tie as the
fourth most in school history.
Adam Howes -- C3C (So.), 1B, Phoenix, Ariz.
Batting .317 (13-for-41) after 12 games this season... Leads the conference
with seven doubles and has one triple... Recorded half of the team's extra
base hits against Wichita State (2-of-4)... He is second on the club with 22
total bases (.537 slugging percentage)... Committed only one error in 32
defensive chances against VMI... One of two Falcons to play every inning in
four game series against the Keydets... Went 3-for-6 in two games against
Hastings College... Produced a double, a triple and three RBI in 12-8 win
over Iowa State... Hit .281 with nine RBI and two stolen bases last season
as a freshman... Started seven games at second base, two at shortstop and
two at designated hitter... Four of his nine RBI came with two outs... In
his first career game, went 2-for-5 with three runs scored against Iowa
State... Best conference game of the 2000 season came in the win over BYU as
he went 2-for-3 with four RBI.
Matt Kaercher -- C2C (Jr.), P, Billings, Mont.
Pitched a gem in the first game against Iowa State, allowing two runs on
three hits with nine strikeouts in a complete game, seven inning effort...
Also pitched well in his first start of the season against Hastings but did
not receive a decision... Threw four innings against the Broncos and gave up
four runs, one earned, on four hits with five strikeouts... Won his second
game of the season against VMI, allowing four runs on nine hits and striking
out four in five innings... He has a 3.27 ERA in 22 innings pitched this
season... Named to the all-tournament team at the Service Academies Classic
for the second straight year last season... Led the Falcons to a win over
Army, pitching six innings and giving up one unearned run on five hits with
four strikeouts and no walks... Named the MWC Pitcher of the Week on March
Brian LaBasco -- C3C (So.), 2B, Hollywood, Fla.
Currently leading the team in hitting with a .415 average (17-41)... Batted
.455 (5-11) in three games against Wichita State... Second in the Mountain
West Conference in hitting, and his 17 hits is seventh in the MWC... Has a
team-high five stolen bases in six attempts this season... Was 6-for-16 in
the four-game series against VMI... Has a hit in 10 of the Falcons' 12 games
this season... Hit a three-run homer in AFA's 5-0 win over Navy at last
year's Service Academies Classic... Second on the team with 14 stolen bases
a year ago.
Mike Thiessen -- C1C (Sr.), CF, Modesto, Calif.
Preseason second-team All-American... Returned to the lineup earlier this
season after recovering from a shoulder injury... Needs two hits and two
walks to become the school's career leader in each category... Had his
15-game hitting streak snapped in the third game against VMI... Went 3-for-8
at the plate with four runs scored and eight walks against the Keydets...
Tied for second in the MWC with 10 walks... Hit his first home run of the
season and the 26th of his career in the second game against VMI...
Third-team All-American as a junior in center field... Just the sixth Falcon
to ever earn All-American honors... First-team all-MWC selection... Also
named to the MWC all-tournament team... Broke school records for hitting
streak (33), doubles in a season (28), doubles in a career (59), hits (91)
and at-bats in a season (220)... Broke a 19-year-old school record with a
33-game hitting streak that ended early last season... Led the team and the
MWC with a .414 batting average... Hit .398 in conference games, the best
average on the team, and fifth best in the MWC... Air Force's starting
quarterback in every game this past fall... Broke school records for passing
yards and touchdowns in the option era... Also led the team in rushing and
touchdowns... Mountain West Conference co-offensive player of the year...
First-team all-MWC... Named the Offensive MVP in Air Force's win over Fresno
State in the Silicon Valley Classic bowl game... Nearly became the first
player in school history to rush for 100 yards and pass for 200 yards...
Finished the game with 204 yards passing and 99 yards rushing... Threw for
two TDs and ran for two (all in the first half).
Mike Tufte -- C1C (Sr.), RHP, Highlands Ranch, Colo.
Pitched a great game against VMI in the series finale, allowing four hits
and striking out five in seven innings... 3-1 this season with 19 strikeouts
and only four walks... Pitched five innings giving up five earned runs on
eight hits with four strikeouts and no walks against Iowa State... Earned
his first win of the season in the second game against Hastings College...
Came out of the bullpen to get the Falcons out of a jam in the fifth
inning... Allowed one earned run in two and two-thirds innings with three
strikeouts and no walks... Named to the MWC all-tournament team last
season... Pitched a complete-game victory over Utah to propel the Falcon
into the championship game... Finished the season with a 4-8 record and a