Baseball heads North to look to get back to winning

Will play the Bulldogs once before taking on USC over the weekend



WSU first baseman Sam Brown stretches to try and get Southern Indiana infielder Daniel Lopez out during an NCAA baseball game against Southern Indiana, Saturday, March 4, 2023, in Pullman, Wash.

JAKE HULL, Evergreen reporter

WSU baseball (14-5, 3-3) looks to end their two-game losing streak as they head to Spokane to take on the Gonzaga Bulldogs for a one-game series. The first pitch is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday at Coach Steve Hertz Field at Patterson Baseball Complex.

The Cougs are coming off a series loss to the Oregon Ducks over the weekend. Wazzu won the first game of the series and had decent leads in the other two games of the series but could not close, and lost their first Conference series of 2023.

WSU started the games strong against the Ducks, but their inconsistency and lack of ability to put runs on the board late in games has cost them more than once this season.

So far the Cougs are led by seven batters who all have 11 or more RBIs. Sam Brown leads the team with 21 RBIs and five homers. Jonah Advincula leads the team with 30 hits and has a batting average of .366.

Pitching for WSU has been pretty strong in most games this season. Dakota Hawkins has 38 strikeouts in 22.1 innings of work while Caden Kaelber has 37 strikeouts in 28 innings. Grant Taylor is close behind with 29 strikeouts including 10 in his last start against the Ducks Sunday. Pitching for the Cougs has allowed 100 runs total on the season through 19 games.

For the Gonzaga Bulldogs, they currently have an overall record of 6-12 but are 3-0 in Conference play.

The Bulldogs started the season losing four straight against the then-ranked No. 24 Texas Tech University. Gonzaga got their first win of the season in their fifth game as they defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes in a 10-inning thriller. The Buckeyes got the best of the Bulldogs a few games later as they won 8-2.

The last series the Bulldogs competed in before their matchup with the Cougs was last weekend where the Bulldogs swept the University of San Francisco in three games. San Francisco defeated the Cougs 14-8 early last week.

The Bulldogs have only three players with 13 or more RBIs this season. Cade McGee and Enzo Apodaca have 13 RBIs while Brian Kalmer leads Gonzaga with 26 RBIs. Kalmer also has seven homers on the season and 27 hits. His average is .355.

The Cougs pitching and defense need to pay close attention to Kalmer when he is in the box as he can change the momentum of any game with just one swing.

Pitching for the Bulldogs is led by Owen Wild and Jacob Rutherford. Wild has 39 strikeouts in 30 innings pitched. He has also allowed 19 runs on 28 hits for an ERA of 4.80. Rutherford has 25 strikeouts in 29.1 innings and 15 runs on 29 hits, giving him an ERA of 4.60.

Wild pitched Friday and Rutherford pitched Saturday, with a massive three-game series against Pepperdine looming on the horizon over the weekend for the Bulldogs, do not be surprised if the Cougs see a pitcher other than Wild or Rutherford.

The next time the Cougs will take the field will be Friday as they head to Los Angeles, California to take on the USC Trojans for a three-game series. The first pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. Friday at Dedeaux Field.