Cougs host BYU Monday after stellar weekend despite weather issues 

Won first two games against Bruins with third game pending or snow issues



WSU outfielder Jonah Advincula gets ready to take a swing during an NCAA baseball game against Southern Indiana, Saturday, March 4, 2023, in Pullman, Wash.

JAKE HULL, Evergreen reporter

WSU baseball (17-9, 5-6) is set to host the BYU Cougars Monday to conclude their weekend homestand. The first pitch will be at 12:05 p.m. at Bailey-Brayton Field.

All time, the Cougs are 9-3 against BYU. The last time these two teams met was March 2022 when BYU won 9-3. BYU is currently on a two-game winning streak against the Cougs.

The Cougs will conclude their five-game homestand against BYU, Monday after a game against Linfield Wednesday and three games against the No. 12-ranked UCLA Bruins. However, mother nature had other ideas as the Cougs could only play two games against the Bruins because of snowy weather.

The weather was not kind over the weekend against the Bruins, with snow, hail and wintry-mix postponing the second game of the series to a later date, as well as delaying the game Sunday over an hour to let the best grounds crew in the Pac-12 clear the field so the game could start.

“Going into this weather and understanding you have to find the laces as fast as possible and having good rhythm with my body,” pitcher Grant Taylor said postgame Sunday about how he handles the weather. “These guys don’t want to play in this weather and we’re used to this.”

The Cougs snapped their six-game losing streak when they defeated Linfield, 9-1, Wednesday. They followed the Linfield game with a three-game matchup against the No. 12 ranked UCLA Bruins, where the Cougs took the first game Friday and the game Sunday. The Saturday game is postponed to a later date due to snow, an official date and time has yet to be announced.

The Cougs are now on a three-game winning streak and seem to be back on track as they head into April and the later stages of the season.

Sam Brown kept doing his thing against the Bruins, going three-for-eight with three RBIs and a run scored in the two games. Jonah Advincula hit his first home run Sunday since the second game of the season. He finished with three hits and two RBIs against the Bruins.

Pitching and defense were fantastic over the weekend for the Cougs, they allowed 13 hits in both games combined against the Bruins while getting 20 hits themselves. The pitchers for the Cougs combined for 24 strikeouts in two games while only striking out 14 times.

The Cougs now have five players with 25 or more hits on the season and eight with 10 or more RBIs. Brown is tied for seventh-best in the Pac-12 with 27 RBIs and fifth-best with seven homers.

“That’s four good games that we’ve played in a row from a process perspective,” head coach Brian Green said.

So far on the season, the BYU Cougars are 9-17 and 3-6 in Conference play. Their first series of the season was against Louisiana Tech for a four-game series where BYU split the series. The next matchup of the season was against the Ragin Cajuns where BYU got swept.

After the losing streak, BYU won two games against Omaha to start the month of March. Their biggest win of the season was a 7-0 victory over the Utah Utes. The last series before the one-game matchup with the Cougs was a three-game series against Gonzaga, where the Bulldogs won two-of-three. BYU is yet to win a season series outright.

BYU is led by Austin Deming and Ryan Sepede. Deming has a batting average of .377 and has 29 hits for 27 RBIs and seven homers. His 27 RBIs lead BYU. Sepede has a batting average of .326 and 16 RBIs. He also has 28 hits and five homers.

Pitching for BYU is led by Bryce Robison and Mason Olson. Robison has pitched 40.1 innings and has struck out 32 batters. He also has allowed 23 runs on 40 hits for an ERA of 4.91. Olson has pitched 37 innings and has a team-leading 33 strikeouts. Olson also allowed 36 hits for 22 runs for an ERA of 4.62.

For the Cougs to beat BYU Monday, they need more of the same they had against UCLA over the weekend. After the rough patch of play for the Cougs, they seem to be back at swinging the bat effectively against a top-ranked UCLA team. The Cougs also had impressive outings from the starting pitchers.

Although it is unlikely we will see the weekend starting pitchers of Dakota Hawkins and Taylor, look for one of the other Coug rotation pitchers to step up to the mound and pound the zone.

After the one-game against BYU, the Cougs will hit the road and head to Tempe, Arizona as they take on the Arizona State Sun Devils for a three-game series starting Thursday.