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

Grant Taylor breaks program record, dominates UW lineup for nine innings

Taylor punches out 17 Husky batters in win
Grant+Taylor+takes+a+second+behind+the+mound+prior+to+first+pitch+against+Rhode+Island%2C+March+3%2C+in+Pullman%2C+Wash.+
BRANDON WILLMAN
Grant Taylor takes a second behind the mound prior to first pitch against Rhode Island, March 3, in Pullman, Wash.

“I did?” WSU starting pitcher Grant Taylor said with a massive grin after learning he had broken the Cougs program record for strikeouts in a game. “That’s so exciting.” 

Taylor overtook a WSU legend in John Olerud when he struck out 17 UW batters in a win. Something clicked as he not only got a lot of strikeouts, but he did not allow much of anything.

UW’s Jeter Ybarra hit a single in the bottom of the first inning. From there, Taylor retired the next 25 batters to finish the night with a complete-game, one-hit shutout. Behind that near-perfect stat line, WSU baseball (16-9, 6-4 Pac-12) beat UW (6-12-1, 1-6) 4-0 to open the Apple Cup series in Seattle. 

In his postgame interview, Taylor couldn’t hold his excitement, smiling from ear to ear when being told he struck out a program record and thinking about his dominant performance against the Cougs biggest rival. 

“I can’t ev-. I can’t. It was a lot of fun. We’re having so much fun,” Taylor said. 

Taylor struck out the final batter he faced in the first inning, the first of what became 17 K’s for the senior righty. He struck out the side in the second, third, fourth and sixth innings, as well as getting at least one K in every inning except the fifth. 

Making his way out for the ninth inning, Taylor said he had just begun to realize his night had been special, before then just doing his job on the mound. 

“I wasn’t thinking at all. I was competing,” he said.

In the ninth, he stuck out the first batter he faced. He then induced a line out and a pop out, securing the complete game shutout while facing just a single batter over the minimum. 

“I’m just glad I left my mark here at WSU,” Taylor said. “17? That’s crazy.” 

That first-inning single was the only blemish. Taylor finished one hit shy of throwing a perfect game. Needing just 115 pitches to completely dice up the UW offense, he brought his season ERA down to 2.68, proving that he has taken a massive step forward in his final season on the Palouse. 

He is now 4-1 on the season and, barring another pitcher throwing a perfect game, will win the Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week. It will be the second time he’s earned the honor in his career and the first time since the 2022 season. 

A win is only a win if you score more than the other team and luckily for Taylor, the offense had his back.

In the top of the third inning, Crew Parke opened things up with a leadoff four-pitch walk. After going behind 1-2, Max Hartman singled to right field to set up Kyle Russell to drive in the first run of the game. Casen Taggart hit a two-run single to give the Cougs three runs in the inning. 

For good measure, Trey Cruz homered in the top of the fourth inning to give WSU their fourth and final run in the win, with the home run being Cruz’s first of his Wazzu career. 

The Apple Cup is always a rivalry, but in the first athletic competition between the two rival programs since former WSU athletic director Pat Chun took the same position for UW, the win means that much more. 

Wazzu and UW will meet again at 7:05 p.m. in Husky Ballpark in Seattle for game two of the Apple Cup series.

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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.