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

Cougs respond “too little, too late” drop series opener to Cal 4-3

Taylor turns in another quality start, Wiese defensively dazzles at Bailey-Brayton Field
Grant Taylor pitching against Cal, April 12, in Pullman, Wash.

Jack Weise stuck his glove in front of the ball, fell on the bag, caught it mid-fall, jumped up and threw to first to secure the double play. The modest Baily-Brayton Field crowd who remained after the rain fell let their praise be heard. Weise’s wise fielding in place of senior Kyle Russell ended Cal’s fifth-inning threat and kept the Cougs within a run of the Bears.

Although the Cougar bats woke up in the ninth inning and Weise turned another double play in the eighth inning, WSU (17-15, 7-9 Pac-12) lost to the California Golden Bears (18-14, 6-10) 4-3 Friday night at Bailey-Brayton Field.

Weise has been starting at shortstop since Russell exited with injury against UW in late March.

Head coach Nathan Choate said the junior transfer has done a good job filling in for the Cougs.

“You know, turn that one double play where it kind of fell out of the bag. Started another double play. He’s doing a really good job,” Choate said.

WSU senior righty Grant Taylor turned in a quality start with 7.0 innings, three earned runs on seven hits with nine strikeouts and no walks. He struck out four straight batters between the second and third innings. 

Taylor has earned the Friday night ace role for the Cougs. He struck out a program-record 17 March 28 in Husky Stadium, pitching a complete game and sports a team-best 3.15 ERA (seventh in the Pac-12) 1.16 WHIP (best among WSU starters) with 60 Ks (first at WSU, third in Conference).

The Cougs loaded the bases in the first inning and got one run to show for it. Nate Swarts blistered the ball directly to the Cal shortstop, who picked it up, dropped it like it was hot and threw to first far too late to catch Swarts who zipped into first on a Cramer fielder’s choice. No attempt was made to throw out Casen Taggart, who got aboard with walk and made it home to give the Cougs an early 1-0 lead.

Cal acquired its first three runs off of the long ball. Taylor left two pitches hanging where they should not have been and that was all Cal needed to find the lead.

In the top of the fourth, freshman Ryan Tayman sent a ball sailing over third baseman Cole Cramer’s head to get aboard. Junior Rodney Green Jr. punished the Cougs with a home run right to put Cal up 2-1.

Tayman got the best of Taylor again, this time discovering a far more profitable launch angle on his way over the left field fence in the sixth inning. Cal led 3-1.

“He really made two bad pitches and both pitches got hit out. You know, go into the game that the game is gonna be decided on a pitch or two. You just don’t know which two they’re going to be. But to his credit, I thought he continued to compete and give us an opportunity to win,” Choate said.

Both Wazzu and Cal struck out 10 times. Cal used three pitchers to cover nine innings, using an opener in Austin Turkington, who allowed one run in 1.0 inning. Would-be starter Luke Short pitched 7.2 innings, allowing two earned runs on two hits, striking out nine and walking one.

The Cougs got to Short in the ninth inning thanks to a Swarts lead-off triple, a Cramer RBI Fielder’s Choice and a Parke double.

The Golden Bears turned to reliever Tyler Stasiowski to put out the fire. Max Hartman took advantage of Stasiowski’s cold arm, made a bit frostier by the marketing team’s strategic playing of Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday’. Hartman scored Parke on an RBI single and made his way to second off of Will Cresswell’s single.

“Anytime you can put the winning run or the tiny run on pace in the ninth inning, I think it shows you fight out of your team. So I think our guys responded just a little too. too little too late,” Choate said.

Stasiowski sent the Cougs home by drawing a failed check swing from Taggart. Cal 4 WSU 3.

Choate said he sensed a lack of competitive effort from his team as he saw his team swing at pitches they should not swing at.

“It was frustrating. You know, I thought we gave some bats away. I wasn’t real pleased with our compete level tonight. I think we could have competed at a different level and so hopefully we will address that and compete a little bit better tomorrow,” Choate said.

Spencer Jones took over from Taylor in relief, allowing freshman Jarren Advincula, the younger brother of WSU’s 2023 centerfielder Jonah Advincula aboard. He forced Tayman who had reached with a single and a home run, into a double play, but walked Green Jr.

Andrew Baughn got the ball, but it was catcher Jacob Morrow who made the crucial throw to second to catch Green Jr. stealing.

Baughn secured the first two outs of the ninth, but not before Max Handron reached with a single up the middle. Despite Taylor’s quality start, Cal cashed in with the difference in the game thanks to an overthrown pickoff attempt by senior reliever Jack Lee. Handron advanced to third off of the error and made it home off of. Nico Button’s hit.

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About the Contributors
SAM TAYLOR, Evergreen sports co-editor
Sam is a senior multimedia journalism major from Lacey, Washington and the sports editor for spring 2024. He was the sports editor for the 2022-23 school year and managing editor for the summer and fall 2023. He plays the trumpet in the Cougar Marching Band, loves sports and has worked at the Evergreen since fall 2021.
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.