Cougs split season opener in Hawai’i

Cougs win first two games of season; third consecutive victory in season-openers



Then-freshman infielder Kyle Manzardo waits for an incoming pitch, March 28, 2019.

JAKE HULL, Evergreen reporter

The WSU baseball team opened their 2022 season with a 2-2 series tie against the Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors. 

WSU won the first two games of the series, giving up two runs in each game and scoring nine runs total. The Rainbow Warriors won the last two games of the series, scoring 13 runs total in both games and only giving up a total of seven runs.

Game 1:

The Cougs won the opening game of the series 5-4 over the Rainbow Warriors. Tyler Hoeft earned his first win of the season, and Connor Barison earned his first save on the season. The Cougs scored five runs on nine hits and only had one error. 

Hawai’i started the game off strong with Scotty Scott scoring on a sacrifice fly in the first inning to take a 1-0 lead. The Rainbow Warriors then added two runs in the second inning — one by way of a bases-loaded walk, the other on a wild pitch to take a 3-0 lead.

The Cougs’ offense picked up in the fourth inning, with Collin Montez scoring on a double from Justin Van De Brake for WSU’s first run of the season. Later in the inning, Bryce Matthews hit a two-run home run to tie the game 3-3. Hawai’i then answered in the bottom of the fourth, scoring one run to regain the lead, 4-3. 

WSU tied the game in the sixth inning with an RBI single from Kyle Russell, his first RBI of the season. In the eighth inning, the Cougs took their first lead of the game with a solo home run from Jake Meyer, 5-4. WSU held on for the rest of the game, resulting in a 5-4 Cougar victory. WSU has now won their first game of the season for three years straight. 

Game 2:

The Cougs followed up their opening win with a 4-2 win on Saturday. Cole McMillan picked up his first pitching win of the season, and Caden Kaelber earned his first save of the season. The Cougs scored their four runs on seven hits. 

This time, the Cougs got the scoring going early. Van De Brake had an RBI single in the first inning, and Russell had an RBI single in the second to take a 2-0 lead. 

The Cougs had a little hiccup in the bottom of the second inning, giving up a run on a balk, 2-1. Montez picked up an RBI single in the top of the fifth inning to regain a two-run lead, which was quickly cut back to one in the sixth inning as the Rainbow Warriors scored on a wild pitch. 

Jacob McKeon had the final RBI of the game, hitting a double to drive in the Cougs’ fourth run of the game, resulting in a 4-2 WSU victory.

Game 3:

The Cougs recorded their first defeat of the season on Sunday, losing 6-3 to the Rainbow Warriors. McKabe Cottrell was pitching for the Cougs and earned his first loss of the season. WSU scored their three runs on six hits. The Cougars also had one error in the game. 

The Cougs started the game by giving up four runs in the first inning. The Rainbow Warriors’ first run came by way of a bases-loaded walk on a hit by pitch from Cottrell. Hawai’i then picked up their next two runs on an RBI single with the bases loaded. Hawai’i hit another RBI single right after to earn their fourth run of the inning. 

The Cougs got a run back in the second inning, with Matthews scoring on a ground out to cut the lead to three. WSU then scored in the third inning on a sacrifice fly by Will Cresswell to make the score 4-2 in favor of Hawai’i. 

The Rainbow Warriors had two one-run innings in the fifth and seventh innings, including a home run to lead 6-2 heading into the eighth inning. 

WSU’s Russell earned an RBI in the eighth inning to cut the deficit to three, but the Cougs could not complete the comeback, losing 6-3. 

Game 4: 

Monday’s game slipped away from the Cougs, losing 7-4. Hoeft earned the loss, bringing his season record to 1-1. The Cougs scored four runs on five hits. The WSU defense had five errors in the game, which heavily contributed to the loss. 

The Cougs started off strong with a two-RBI, ground-rule double from Meyer in the second inning.

WSU’s defensive struggles began in the fourth inning. Hawai’i scored a run on a passed ball and then another run on a wild pitch in the fifth inning to take a 3-2 lead. 

Hawai’i scored one run in the seventh inning and two in the eighth to stretch their lead to 7-2. The Cougs rallied in the top of the ninth, scoring two runs. WSU could not keep the comeback alive, resulting in a 4-7 loss.

WSU’s next series begins today in Peoria, Ariz., against Long Island for a four-game series.