Baseball heads to Utah for four games

Opponent Dixie State will face WSU for first time after becoming Divison-I program this season



Right-handed pitcher Brandon White is projected to start Saturday vs. Dixie St.

KURIA POUNDS, Evergreen reporter

WSU baseball will travel to St. George, Utah this upcoming weekend to face off against the Dixie State Trailblazers in a four-game series starting Thursday at Bruce Hurst Field.

The Cougars (3-1) are coming off of a series win against the UC Davis Aggies this past weekend in the season opener. The Cougars won the first three games by scores of 11-1, 12-5 and 5-3 before losing their last game on Sunday 13-5.

The series this weekend is the season opener for Dixie State and will also be the first season the Trailblazers baseball team will play in the NCAA Division I.

Head coach Brian Green said even though he didn’t get all of his position players in the series last weekend, he did like the production from the overall lineup.

“We got almost every position player in,” Green said. “We were really happy for the most part with the guys we were able to get in.”

WSU got a lot of production last weekend from junior infielder Kyle Manzardo, who totaled seven hits through four games, including a home run in the first game. Graduate-student first baseman and catcher Tristan Peterson also had six hits against the Aggies.

Green said the competition for starting spots in the lineup is heating up, as everyone is trying to earn a spot as the season continues.

“One through nine is a pretty competitive lineup,” Green said. “Good problem to have for us after going 3-1 over the opening weekend.”

With pitching, the bullpen looks to bounce back after giving up plenty of bases to UC Davis this past weekend. The bullpen gave up 12 runs throughout the four games against UC Davis, compared to the four starters giving up 10 total runs on the weekend.

Junior starting pitchers Zane Mills and Brandon White both had impressive starts against the Aggies last weekend, as the two combined for 11.1 innings pitched, zero earned runs and seven hits. Projections show the two will start on their regularly scheduled days against the Trailblazers, with Mills pitching Friday and White on Saturday, according to Dixie State athletics.

Green said that the pitching rotation will remain fluid this upcoming weekend, but some new faces from the bullpen could get the starting call.

“Dakota [Hawkins] will still remain in the rotation, and we’ll most likely put Will [Sierra] in the bullpen for this weekend, not a demotion by any stretch,” Green said.

Green said the decision-making of the starting rotation for this upcoming weekend was multiple factors to gain a competitive advantage.

“Those four-game series are a bear,” Green said. “It’s really having to find out who can throw twice, who can bounce back.”

To open the series, first pitch is set for 5:05 p.m. Thursday, game two starting at 2:05 p.m. Friday, game three at 1:05 p.m. Saturday, and the series finale will start at 11:05 a.m. Sunday.

All four of these games can be seen on the WAC Digital Network. Official lineups and starting pitchers will be announced one hour before the first pitch.