Baseball fails to earn a win in Los Angeles

Drop to 3-6 conference record,  6 straight losses



WSU pitcher Grant Taylor throws a pitch during an NCAA baseball game against Southern Indiana, Sunday, March 5, 2023, in Pullman, Wash.

JAKE HULL, Evergreen reporter

WSU baseball (14-9, 3-6) is in the middle of their longest losing streak of the season after getting swept by the USC Trojans in three games over the weekend. 

The Cougs have lost six games in a row and seven of their last eight. 

After starting the season with their best start in four decades the Cougs have dropped to eighth in the Pac-12 with their 3-6 Conference record. 

The Cougs only scored seven runs in three games against the Trojans while allowing 25 runs. They also only managed 20 hits in Los Angeles.

The bright spots for the series against the Trojans were Sam Brown and Kyle Russell. Brown hit a two-run homer in the first inning of the game Friday to get him back on track with his sixth of the season. He finished the series with three hits and two RBIs. Russell had five hits in the series and one RBI. His batting average is now .326.

Pitching for the Cougs was good but not great. Of the 25 runs allowed, 13 of them came in one game. Caden Kaelber went six innings Sunday as he allowed five runs on seven hits and three strikeouts. Connor Wilford made two appearances in the series. 

On Friday, Wilford allowed three runs on two hits with one strikeout in one-third of an inning. On Sunday Wilford went one and two-thirds innings where he allowed only two hits. 

Game 1: 13-3 loss

The first game of the series saw the Cougs jump out to a 2-0 lead after the top of the first inning, but after allowing four runs in the fifth and five runs in the sixth, the lead was too great and the Cougs fell 13-3. The Cougs scored two runs in the first inning and one run in the ninth inning as their only runs in the game. 

Dakota Hawkins picked up the loss in the game, bringing his record to 2-3 on the season. He went 4.2 innings and allowed six runs on nine hits and three strikeouts. Tyler Stromsborg picked up his second win of the season for the Trojans after pitching seven innings. He allowed two runs on four hits with 10 strikeouts.

Brown got the scoring started early for the Cougs as he hit a two-run homer to lead 2-0. The Cougs seemed to be back to the offensive play they achieved at the start of the season after the home run, but were quickly humbled with seven straight innings of no runs. 

After the third inning, the Cougs managed one hit the rest of the game, with the final run coming in the top of the ninth as Will Cresswell hit an RBI single. 

The Trojans scored six unearned runs in the game, a clear sign of defensive errors from the Cougs which need to be sorted out if the Cougs want to get back to winning ways. 

Game 2: 6-1 loss

The second game of the series was the worst offensive game the Cougs have had so far this season. This is the second time this season they were held to one run and seven hits in the game.

Grant Taylor picked up his first loss of the season after pitching 4.1 innings and allowed four runs on seven hits and three strikeouts. Cam Liss pitched 1.1 innings and allowed no hits while striking out three batters and walking three as well. 

The only score in the game for the Cougs came from Elijah Hainline. He grounded into a double play but Bryce Matthews scored from third. 

The Trojans scored two runs in the second from a two-RBI single and added two more in the fourth from a two-run homer to extend the lead to four. They would score one more run before the Cougs got their lone run. 

Game 3: 6-3 loss

The closest game of the series came on Sunday but still resulted in a Cougs loss. The Cougs scored three runs in the game but only had eight hits in the game compared to the 11 from the Trojans. Kaelber picked up the loss but pitched six innings with three strikeouts. All five runs Kaelber allowed were earned. Both teams struck out only three times in the game. 

Greg Fuchs earned an RBI after a fielder’s choice out-scored Jacob McKeon. Russell then scored Fuchs in the top of the fifth for the Cougs’ second run. Their final run came in the sixth with an RBI double from Matthews. 

The next time the Cougs play is 2:05 p.m. Wednesday at Bailey-Brayton Field as the Cougs host Linfield.