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

Bats, bullpen fail to back Wilford’s quality start

Cougs drop game two versus Trojans 9-4, return for Senior Day Sunday
Connor Wilford exits the game in the 2nd inning against Stanford, May 20, in Pullman, Wash.

Following a season-best offensive performance in the opening game, WSU’s tout with the Trojans of USC, the bats were solid, but not resounding and Conner Wilford’s 6.0 inning, three-earned run performance was spoiled by shaky relief pitching yet again.

WSU baseball (21-28, 9-17 Pac-12) lost to USC (23-27, 13-12) 9-4 Saturday at Baily-Brayton Field.

USC second baseman Ryan Jackson lead off the game with a double. He worked his way home off of two straight fielder’s choices, but Wilford drew a flyout to escape the inning, having just conceded one hit and one run.

Jackson struck again with a one-out single to put a runner in scoring position. Galloway’s RBI single granted the Trojans a 2-0 lead. USC had two runs on three hits through three frames.

The Cougs, who scored six runs in the second and nine runs in the sixth Friday night, ensured the home field fans were entertained.

The 1,490-person crowd comprised primarily of high school Future Farmers of America conference goers and player’s families on Senior Weekend, along with summer semester students and Pullman dwellers, were treated to another Cole Cramer ball in play special.

Facing a new pitcher, Alan Shibley drew a lead-off walk, Crew Parke singled and Max Hartman laid down the perfect bunt to advance Shibley and Parke to scoring position.

Kyle Russell, riding high at 5 for his last six between Friday’s game and on Saturday’s at-bat, drew a walk to load the bases.

Cramer did what anyone wants to do in a one-out, bases-loaded scenario, he hit the ball hard, one problem, it was directly to the pitcher. But the ball was so hard hit, it bounced off of the Trojan’s glove bounced into the air and dribbled into shallow right field as if it was a mouse scrambling away from the gleaming tomcat.

As the ball bounded through the air, the Trojan defense appeared frozen in time. Meanwhile, the Wazzu base runners operated in overdrive, scrambling around the basepaths to even the game 2-2.

Cramer stole second, but Logan Johnstone stuck out and Joey Kramer grounded out.

Wilford flowed through the fourth, fifth and sixth, drawing four swinging strikes to hand three straight zeros.

With Wilford dealing, Hartman backed him up with a lead-off home run in the bottom of the fifth. The Cougs got two more runners on the bases in the fifth, but came up empty-handed, settling for a 3-2 lead.

Wilford stayed in the game in the seventh, where he allowed a lead-off double.

Freshman Rylan Haider relieved Wilford, but failed to protect his lead, conceding three singles and a fielder’s choice, allowing his inherited runner to score and soil Wilford’s line while giving up the lead.

Junior catcher Will Creswell caught a Trojan stealing for the second out of the inning before Haider allowed an RBI double and a two-run home run to sink the Cougars behind 7-3.

Sophomore Giordano Mezzomo pitched the eighth where he conceded two runs and three hits. Cresswell, having already picked off a runner at second, caught a runner lacking at third, flinging the ball to a waiting Cramer to retire the Trojans in the eighth.

After playing hero in the top of the inning, Cresswell homered to put a twig-sized scratch on the USC lead. The Cougs trailed 9-4.

Kevin Haynes pitched a quiet last 1.1 innings, keeping the Trojans scoreless with one hit to his credit, but the Cougar bats were even quieter.

WSU lost 9-4 to USC, setting up a rubber match on Senior Day.

After beating Fresno State 4-3, Cramer said a successful rest of the season for the Cougars included a day-by-day approach.

“Take every pitch one pitch at a time and not look at previous games or future games kind of just take what’s at us and you know kind of just work through the ups and downs,” Cramer said.

The Cougs have had to handle a lot more downs than ups, but Cramer has proved to be a major cause of the Cougars’ successes, with a team-leading

“We’re making a couple more mistakes than the other team does and just like in any game, whether it’s a baseball game or basketball, the team that makes the least amount of mistakes when you’re pretty evenly matched typically wins,” head coach Nathan Choate said after WSU lost to Gonzaga April 23.

WSU faces USC in the rubber match at noon Sunday at Baily-Brayton Field.

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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.