Baseball continues hot start to season in Portland

Cougars win 10th game of season with help of Montez, Manzardo homeruns



Senior infielder Jack Smith slides into second as the ball misses the second baseman during the game against Seattle U on March 5 at Bailey-Brayton Field.

KURIA POUNDS, Evergreen reporter

The Cougars defeated the Portland Pilots 6-4 on the road on Wednesday in a single game in WSU’s first game played after their COVID-19 pause.

WSU (10-2) started the game on a hot note when senior outfielder Collin Montez had a three-run home run in the top of the first inning, driving in graduate student infielder Tristan Peterson and junior infielder Kodie Kolden.

Portland (7-8) then responded with a three-run home run in the bottom of the first inning from junior infielder Chad Stevens that drove in freshman infielders Ben Patacsil and Jake Tsukada to tie the game at 3-3.

The starting pitcher for WSU was senior left-handed pitcher Bryce Moyle, who went 2.2 innings pitched, giving up four hits, three runs, three walks and two strikeouts in his first start for the Cougars. He was then replaced by redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Will Sierra.

In the top of the sixth inning, junior infielder Kyle Manzardo drove a solo home run over the center-field wall, which gave the Cougars a 4-3 lead.

This was the Cougars’ first game after their four-game series against Seattle and Washington got postponed due to COVID-19 developments within the WSU program.

WSU seemed to get the bats moving early after the 10-day pause, thanks to the home run from Montez and singles from Kolden and Manzardo.

That lead was added with a sacrifice fly from redshirt junior catcher Jake Meyer in the top of the sixth inning that brought in Montez from third base. Later, Meyer also scored from third base off of a wild pitch to give WSU a 6-4 lead and the win.

One more run was added to the board for the Pilots in the sixth inning, as redshirt freshman outfielder Jake Holcroft doubled in Portland’s fourth and final run of the game.

The bullpen for WSU helped out Moyle on the mound, with Sierra, junior right-handed pitcher Connor Barison, senior left-handed pitcher Michael Newstrom, redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Caden Kaelber and junior right-handed pitcher Dakota Hawkins.

The Cougars will continue their road trip in a three-game series against the No. 23 Oregon State Beavers on the road in Corvallis, Oregon starting Friday and ending Sunday.

Junior right-handed pitcher Zane Mills is the expected starter for Friday’s game. Mills has a 0.42 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 21.1 innings pitched this season.

First pitch is set for 5:35 p.m. Friday from Goss Stadium at Coleman Field and the lineups will be announced one hour before the first pitch. The games will be livestreamed through the Pac-12 website.