SMU, Evergreen men’s basketball teams heading to Utah

mwochnick@theolympian.comOctober 31, 2013 

Tyler Ridgeway pitched for North Thurston High School last spring in district playoffs. He finished his senior season with a 7-2 record and a 0.88 earned-run average. Now a freshman at the Naval Academy, Ridgeway is the first walk-on to earn a place on the Navy baseball in seven years, according to his high school coach, Lance Baker.

TONY OVERMAN/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Few NCAA Division I men’s basketball opponents intersect with Saint Martin’s University and The Evergreen State College, yet the same Pac-12 Conference foe is on both schools’ radar.

SMU and Evergreen will invade the University of Utah for exhibition games, thanks to Ute connections to Saints first-year coach Michael Ostlund and Geoducks coach Arvin Mosley Jr.

The Utes, in their third Pac-12 season, will play host to Saint Martin’s (6:30 p.m. Friday) and Evergreen (5 p.m. Nov. 8) in Salt Lake City. It will be the Saints’ opener and the third game for the Geoducks, who are fresh off a 1-1 trip to Kamloops, B.C., where they played under international basketball rules.

For the third time in four years, the Saints will play a Pac-10/12 opponent in an exhibition. The contest will be a homecoming for Ostlund, who spent the past 10 years in Utah. He coached at Salt Lake Community College in Salt Lake City and Snow College in Ephraim after leaving his job as an assistant coach at Saint Martin’s in 2002.

“I think it will be a good trip for the guys,” said Ostlund, who coached at Salt Lake Community College with Utah’s current director of basketball operations, Norm Parrish. “We’re going to compete as hard as we can.”

Since the Evergreen program’s inception in 1997, no Geoducks team has played a Pac-10/12 squad. The game will have unexpected exposure: It will be regionally televised in Utah on the Pac-12 Mountain Network.

“For me and the players, they’ve never been at that level,”

said Mosley, who knows Utah assistant coaches DeMarlo Slocum and Andy Hill. “It will be fun. … Aside from the size factor, it’s an amplified environment.”

Between the schools’ visit to Utah, SMU and Evergreen have their annual women/men doubleheader Tuesday at Marcus Pavilion in Lacey. The women will tip off at 5:15 p.m. and the men at 7:30 p.m.

RIDGEWAY WALKS ON

Tyler Ridgeway, a 2013 North Thurston High School graduate and member of last spring’s Olympian all-area baseball team, earned a walk-on spot on Navy’s baseball team, Rams coach Lance Baker said.

Baker said Ridgeway is the first walk-on in Navy baseball in seven years.

“When you tell him he can’t do something, he likes to prove people wrong, and with his talent and toughness, he has,” Baker said of the pitcher. “His competitive spirit that he has and his heart that he plays with, I’d take him over anybody.”

Ridgeway was 7-2 last spring with a 0.88 earned-run average as the Rams’ No. 1 pitcher. He is projected as a long reliever or closer at Navy, but Baker said he thinks Ridgeway’s work ethic will propel him to future roll as a starter.

“By the time he’s a junior or senior, he’s going to be their No. 1 guy,” Baker said. “He’ll work and work until he gets to that point.”

FRESHMAN PHENOM

When the SMU women’s soccer team (4-11 overall, 3-9 Great Northwest Athletic Conference) closes its season this weekend, visiting Northwest Nazarene on Thursday and Western Oregon on Saturday, Kelli Bannerman has a shot at continuing her record pace. The freshman from Ferndale has scored 10 goals in 15 games, including all three of the Saints’ goals in last week’s losses to Seattle Pacific (3-2) and Central Washington (2-1). Bannerman is tied for most goals by a freshman in GNAC history and tied for fourth in career goals at SMU.

Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 mwochnick@theolympian.com theolympian.com/ south-sound-sports-blog @megwochnick

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