Through the Lens: No. 3 Stanford sweeps WSU to end Cougs season

Senior Day highlighted a series that the Cougs failed to win a game



Kyle Russel rounds third as he scores second WSU run, May 20, in Pullman, Wash.

BRANDON WILLMAN, Multimedia editor

WSU baseball (29-23, 10-19 Pac-12) lost in a sweep to No. 3 Stanford (37-14, 23-7) to finish their season and end on the outside looking in of the Pac-12 Tournament.

Game 1: 

The ‘almost Jacob McKeon game’ saw the Cougs blow a 5-1 lead late in a 7-6 (10) loss. Starting on the mound for the Cougs, Dakota Hawkins struck out eight over six-plus innings. He had given up just two runs through his first six innings of work and seemed to be leading the team to victory.

McKeon, the team’s top offensive performer, finished 5-5 with two home runs and three RBIs. Being a part of back-to-back home runs in the first inning that started the offensive explosion.

In the eighth inning of the game, Jonah Advincula broke toward home plate on a past ball. Diving to tag him out, the Stanford catcher believed he had gotten back in time.

A close play at the play originally ruled safe, overturned after umpire review, May 18.

The ump originally thought otherwise, calling Advincula safe and giving the Cougs a late lead. Advincula pounded his chest and celebrated towards the dugout as simultaneously, the Cardinal catcher reacted in pure disbelief. The call had to be reviewed, and it was overturned, indirectly leading to the Stanford victory.

Stanford catcher and Jonah Advincula react to safe call on close play at the plate, May 18.

Visually, the biggest difference from the highs of holding a 5-1 lead and losing a tough 10-inning is that of Bryce Matthews. In the bottom of the third, he can be seen celebrating with his third-base coach after hitting a home run. Later, he can be seen disappointingly walking alone after grounding into the game-ending double play.

Game 2: 

Sam Brown leads Cougs out ahead of first pitch against Stanford, May 19.

The Coug offense seemed to use all of its might in the first game of the series. Although the team scored four times, it never seemed as close as the end result showed. Stanford’s Quinn Mathews dealt against Wazzu, pitching 7.2 innings and striking out eight.

Stanford’s Quinn Mathews pitched 7.2 innings, striking out eight batters, May 19.

Opposing Mathews was WSU’s Shane Spencer, who went 4.2 innings, striking out five and giving up four runs.

Shane Spencer delivers a pitch against Stanford, May 19.

A perfect example of the opposition of play between the two sides was two plays at the plate. For the Cardinal, Braden Montgomery dove into home during the fifth inning, scoring easily. In the sixth inning, Matthews for WSU dove towards home in a close play, but was tagged out by the narrowest of margins.

Defensively for the Cougs, Kyle Russell was at the center, fielding the ball constantly during the weekend. He was making barehanded plays, diving for balls in the six-hole and overall being a spectacle for the home crowd.

Game 3: 

The final day of the regular season doubled as senior day, with several notable contributors of the team being recognized prior to the first pitch.

Throwing out the first pitch of the game was McKeon’s niece, who threw a perfect one-bounce strike to her uncle.

Stanford scored in all but one inning, routing WSU 15-5 to accomplish the always coveted series sweep. The highlight of the game came from a senior, Sam Brown, who singled in two runs during the second inning to tie the game. Those two runs driven in by Brown marked the last time in the game the Cougs were tied with the Cardinal.

Several seniors played on their day, including several pitchers and several members of the lineup. While the result of the game certainly was far from desirable, it wrapped up the playing careers of several players of the WSU baseball team.