The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

Duke Brotherton shoves as Cougs win first series

Nate Swarts, Alan Shibley leads offense in 5-1 win
WSU pitcher Duke Brotherton throws a pitch at Bailey-Brayton Field against Linfield, March 29.

Senior pitcher Duke Brotherton had the best start of his Cougs career to lead the WSU baseball (3-1) team to a victory and series win over Utah Tech Sunday. In a 5-1 win, the Cougs managed double-digit hits once again while limiting the Trailblazers to one run despite their seven hits. 

In his first appearance of the season, Brotherton went 4.0 innings while giving up the sole run on three hits and two walks. Striking out three batters, he pitched beautifully around hitters while limiting free bases. 

Kevin Haynes came in first out of the bullpen, dealing for 3.0 innings to the tune of allowing two hits and two walks without letting a run across the board. Andrew Baughn and Chase Grillo finished off the game with 1.0 innings each, doing so in a combined 20 pitches. 

“As long as we’re throwing strikes, we’re giving ourselves a chance,” senior outfielder Nate Swarts said. 

Offense came early, as the Cougs tacked on three runs that would be the deciding runs in just the second inning of play off of two home runs. After a groundout started the inning, Casen Taggart sent a ball over right-centerfield to give the Cougs a 1-0 lead for his second long ball in the first four contests of 2024. 

Cole Cramer walked on four pitches to set up an eventual Swarts two-run home run to make the lead 3-0 and effectively win the game for the Cougs.

“We’re putting good swings on balls,” Swarts said. “I like the aggressiveness and we’re trying to keep it rolling.”

Over the next seven innings, the Cougs managed two more runs but left opportunities out on the field. While they kept 10 men from scoring when on the field defensively, they, too, struggled to find clutch hits. With eight men left on base, the Cougs squandered several opportunities despite their six extra-base hits. 

Two singles quickly put men on base for WSU in the fifth inning. However, Crew Parke got caught stealing at third base to eliminate the immediate scoring position threat. Alan Shibley walked on five pitches to make it first and second once again, just for Trey Cruz’s triple to bring in the final two runs of the game to make it 5-1. 

With Cruz on third and one out, usually a ball in play scores a run, barring a pop-out, but as Joey Kramer hit the ball to short, Utah Tech’s Petey Soto Jr. made the decision to throw home to get an out and prevent the run. Taggart singled to put a second man on, but that was all the Cougs mustered, getting four hits and five men on in the inning but leaving with just two runs to show for it. 

Four batters notched multi-hit games, two of which were the duo who got home runs in the win. Shibley also managed a multi-hit game, continuing his scorching hot start with a double and a triple to go along with a walk.  

As a team, the Cougs posted an impressive 1.004 OPS, proving Swarts’ assessment that they were putting good swings on the ball.

Those good swings will need to travel with the team for their upcoming weekend, which starts at noon Friday when the Cougs take on Kentucky in Round Rock, Texas.

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About the Contributor
BRANDON WILLMAN, Multimedia editor
Brandon Willman is a junior multimedia journalism student from Vancouver, Washington. He started working as a sportswriter for the Daily Evergreen in Fall 2022 and worked as copy editor in spring 2023. Brandon was elected to be the Editor-in-chief starting in summer 2023 and served in the position from May 2023 to February 2024 before transitioning to the role of multimedia editor. He enjoys watching sports, backpacking, and watching horror movies.