Cougars score 84 runs in first eight games, their most this decade

83 runs in 2021 and 77 in 2010 were closest after eight games



WSU infielder Kyle Russell sprints toward home plate during an NCAA collegiate baseball game against Utah, April 1, at Bailey-Brayton Field.

JAKE HULL, Evergreen reporter

There has never been more runs scored in the first eight games of the season by a WSU baseball team this decade. 

The Cougs have scored 84 runs through eight games this season for an average of 10.5 runs per game. The 84 runs scored by the Cougs so far in 2023 is good for eighth-best in the nation. First place is Wake Forest with 122 runs scored in nine games.

The most runs before this season was in 2021 when the team scored 83 runs after eight games. That team finished the season with a 26-23 record. In 2010, the team scored 77 runs through their first eight games of the season and they finished with a record of 37-22 record.

This 2023 team is off to a flying start with both Jonah Advincula and Jacob McKeon having 15 RBIs. McKeon’s 15 RBIs are a little under the radar as Advincula has stolen the show early as he led the country with 13 RBIs in the first week of play. McKeon had nine RBIs in the four games the Cougs played in their second week of action. 

Trailing not that far behind Advincula and McKeon are Cam Magee and Elijah Hainline. Magee has 10 RBIs this season and Hainline has driven in nine. Advincula, McKeon and Magee all have two home runs so far, with the most impressive being the grand slam from Advincula in week one. 

In the Pac-12 the Cougs are first in runs scored and second in hits with 77. Oregon State is first in hits with 86 and second in runs with 81. McKeon and Advincula are tied for first in the conference with 15 RBIs and Magee is tied for fourth-most with 10. 

Advincula has 14 hits on the season which is second-most in the conference, trailing only Owen Cobb of Stanford, who has 15 hits. 

Jake Harvey is tied for the most runs scored in the Pac-12 with 12, both Advincula and Hainline have 11 for second most. 

As strong as the Cougs have been swinging the bat this season, they have scored lots of runs based on how good they are at running the bases and stealing them. Both Harvey and Advincula have five stolen bases this season, the most in the Conference. As a team, the Cougs have stolen 14 bases, tied with Oregon State for most in Pac-12 play. The Cougs have also been hit 22 times by pitches, good for sixth in the nation. 

On the pitching side, the Cougs have been nothing short of dominant. WSU pitchers have combined for 71 innings in their eight games this season and allowed 37 runs, 27 of which were earned. The Cougs have struck out 92 batters to lead the Conference, the Cardinal is second with 89. WSU has also only allowed one home run in their first eight games, which is the best in the conference. 

Caden Kaelber is tied for first in the conference with 19 strikeouts in 13.2 innings pitched. His 19 strikeouts are tied for fifth-best in the nation. Dakota Hawkins is second in the Conference with 17 strikeouts in nine innings of action, and tied for 25th in the country with those numbers.

Kaelber has a 2-0 record so far with two earned runs for an ERA of 1.32. Last season, Kaelber had 37 strikeouts in 42 innings as a reliever, he only started one game last season. Hawkins started two games last season in his 10 appearances where he had 25 strikeouts. Both pitchers seem to be able to break their strikeout totals of last season possibly before we are a month into the 2023 season. 

Chase Grillo has pitched four innings this season for the Cougs but has allowed only one run and four hits in his four appearances in 2023. He also has two saves which are tied for best in the conference. 

Look for WSU to extend their runs scored this weekend as they host Southern Indiana for the first home games of 2023. The first game will be at 4:05 p.m. Friday at Bailey-Brayton field.