Nick Haughian-UW ace tosses shutout vs. Arizona at Safeco Field, named National Player of the Week

WCCBL alum Nick Haughian of University of Washington pitched arguably the gem of the college season Friday, April 4th at Safeco Field – the home of the Seattle Mariners – as the former Wenatchee AppleSox twirled a two-hit shutout at Pac-10 rival Arizona. Haughian struck out 15 in the Huskies 1-0 victory.

The southpaw from Marysville, Washington followed up that performance with an eight-inning stint vs. BYU where Nick struck out 14 in UW’s 5-1 win over the Cougars. For his efforts, Haughian was named National Player of the Week by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper and National Pitcher of the Week by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. Haughian was also named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week.

The young Huskies are a surprising 3-3 in the Pac-10 and recently ripped off 15 straight non-conference victories before BYU snapped the Dawgs’ win streak last Sunday.

Washington is 23-12 and hungry to get to the post-season.

Nick is 4-3 on the season with a 3.29 ERA over 9 starts. He’s struck out 66 over 46 innings pitched.

18 Huskies have played in the WCCBL including Aaron Russell (Wenatchee), Brian Pearl (Bend), Bradley Boyer (Kitsap), Michael Burgher (Bend), Kyle Conley (Wenatchee), Andy Lentz (Knights), Doug Cherry (Bellingham), Joey Dunn (Wenatchee), Jake Rife (Bend), Ryan Scott (Bend), Matt Stevens (Bend), Elliott Cribby (Wenatchee), Paul Dickey (Bend), Jorden Merry (Bend), Jason Erickson (Bend), Jacob Clem (Bellingham) and Ben Guidos (Moses Lake). Merry is 4-0 with a 1.67 ERA and Conley leads UW in HR with 9 and RBI with 33.

Haughian pitched for Wenatchee in 2006 where he led the WCCBL in saves with 9 and posted a 2.20 ERA over 17 appearances. He went 1-1 with the Sox that summer and struck out 32 over 28 2/3 innings pitched.

The junior is slated to the pitch with the Corvallis Knights this summer if he doesn’t sign a pro contract (if drafted).

We caught up with Nick before the Huskies took off for the Bay Area to face #8 Cal in Berkeley. He was kind enough to be interviewed online. Enjoy, it’s a good one.

wccbl.com: Congrats on your shutout of Arizona at Safeco Field. How was the mound and was there one moment that evening that was most memorable?

Haughian: Of the entire night, I guess the only point that I can really vividly recall is seeing my team and the fans right before the last pitch of the game. I had two strikes on the last guy I faced and I knew he was out if I made one more good pitch. For just a second before I stepped on the mound to throw the ball for the last time, I looked up and I could see my family behind home plate cheering. It was one of the greatest thrills I’ve had on the field.

wccbl.com: The Huskies are in the thick of the Pac-10 race, how do you feel your younger players have performed and what can we expect from UW down the stretch?

Haughian: I think just about every guy on the team, including the younger guys, are all finally starting to feel like we are hitting our stride. We’ve had a really good stretch of games over the last couple weeks where we’ve been playing good team baseball and although the last two games at Gonzaga didn’t really seem to follow suit, I think most of the guys see that as just a hiccup in our progression as a team. There is no doubt in my mind that at the end of the conference season, our team will be battling among the leaders for a shot at the Pac-10 championship.

wccbl.com: You closed for the AppleSox in 2006, how was your summer in Wenatchee? What memories stick out and who was the toughest out for Nick Haughian that summer?

Haughian: I had a great time in Wenatchee when I played for the AppleSox. My host family, the Linds, were great and showed me a wonderful time during my stay. My fondest memories are of the fans at each game. The park always felt like it was a playoff atmosphere due to the huge amount of fan support every night. As for my toughest out, I think anyone on the Kitsap Bluejackets could take that title. Those guys always seemed to give me trouble everytime I faced them!

wccbl.com: You pitched in the inaugural WCCBL All-Star game, what do you recall about that evening?

Haughian: I remember meeting John Olerud and getting to throw in the eighth-inning of the game. To start the inning, the first three batters I faced got on and the bases were loaded. Luckily for me I was able to work my way out of the jam and didn’t allow a run in the inning. I also remember my teammate D.J. Lidyard was the game’s MVP for striking out the side in order in the first. It was awesome!

wccbl.com: You are signed up to play in Corvallis this summer and pitched there vs. OSU, what did you think of the expansion at Goss Stadium?

Haughian: The stadium is really nice. The field plays well with the new turf and the facilities around the park are all high quality…with that said, I hope to have a little more success throwing there this summer than I have had in my career against the Beavers. They are a team that seems to have my number over the last couple years.

wccbl.com: Big series with Cal coming up, how do the Dawgs beat the Golden Bears in Berkeley?

Haughian: Good pitching and defense! That is always the key to being a competitive ball club, and it seems to be what has been our team’s biggest key to all of our success so far this year. When we pitch it well and play solid in the field we seem to always find a way to win. We expect a tough series with Cal this weekend, but we expect to win.

wccbl.com: What pitch best defines Nick Haughian?

Haughian: I love this question, but I’ve got to be honest, it’s a tough one to answer. I guess I would have to say a hard slider. You think you know what you’ve got coming at you until suddenly it breaks in on your hands and you either swing over the top or get jammed. When I throw that pitch, it’s a great feeling!

wccbl.com: Thanks, Nick. Good luck vs. Cal.

Haughian: You are welcome. Go Dawgs!