WSU stays in Arizona after notching first win of season

Cougars came back from five-run deficit by crossing plate six times unanswered to capture first victory



Then sophomore Andreas Alvarez prepares to hit the ball pitched by Arizona on April 9, 2017 at Bailey-Brayton Field.

RYAN BLAKE, Evergreen reporter

WSU baseball split the final two games of its weekend series in Tempe, Arizona, losing 5-3 to University of Nebraska before taking the finale with a 7-6 win over University of California, Riverside (2-2) on Sunday.

The Cougars (1-3) jumped to an early lead against the Cornhuskers after shortstop Andres Alvarez doubled to begin the first game and later scored on a fielder’s choice. WSU added another run in the bottom of the third on an Alvarez single that scored sophomore Danny Sinatro, who had singled and stolen second base.

Senior left-hander Scotty Sunitsch started on the mound for the first time since the 2016 season. Sunitsch allowed five hits and three walks to keep the Cornhuskers to two runs during his six innings of work. Freshman Michael Newstrom replaced him in the seventh with the game tied 2-2.

Mistakes once again plagued the Cougars on defense. Nebraska (3-1) scored two more runs in the top of the seventh on a walk, throwing error, hit by pitch and wild pitch.

The Cougars cut the deficit to 4-3 in the bottom of the eighth when Junior Wyatt Segle singled, bringing home senior James Rudkin. Nebraska added one more in the top of the ninth with a solo home run, and WSU went quiet in the bottom of the final inning to give the Cornhuskers the win.

WSU salvaged the final game of the road trip with a 7-6 comeback victory over UC Riverside. The Cougars piled up 18 hits off Highlander pitchers, including five from Segle’s bat.

Freshman Hayden Rosenkrantz got the start and made his first appearance in a WSU jersey. He threw three scoreless innings, but ran into trouble in the fourth. After a leadoff single, Rosenkratz allowed back-to-back home runs to give UC Riverside a 3-1 lead.

The Highlanders added another run in the top of the fifth off redshirt sophomore Davis Baillie. They scored two more in the seventh on a leadoff home run, a ground-rule double and a run batted in to give them a commanding 6-1 lead.

The Cougars fought back. Three straight singles in the bottom of the eighth loaded the bases. Senior Blake Clanton grounded into a double play to score Segle, and freshman Jack Smith reached base on an error to score junior Justin Harrer, making it a 6-3 game.

After the first two batters recorded outs in the bottom of the eighth, WSU’s next eight men to the plate pushed across four runs to make it a 7-6 game. Senior JJ Hancock singled with the bases loaded to plate the first two runs of the Cougars’ comeback. Sophomore Cal Waterman singled up the middle with runners on second and third to plate the next two runs and give the Cougars the lead.

Senior Ryan Walker closed out the game in the top of the ninth to secure the 7-6 victory and give WSU their first win of the season.

Final game of road trip

The Cougars will finish their Arizona road trip with a midweek game against Grand Canyon University in Phoenix.

The Cougars dropped three of their four games in a weekend series in Tempe, Arizona. WSU committed seven errors and allowed nine unearned runs over the course of its opening games. Additionally, WSU pitchers threw four wild pitches and hit five batters.

The team did find success offensively over the weekend. They drew 18 walks as a team while striking out just 26 times. They weren’t able to string many hits together, however, and were outscored by 13 total runs in the four games.

Junior first baseman and Skagit Valley Community College transfer Wyatt Segle leads the Cougars offensively with eight hits in 13 at-bats. Junior Andres Alvarez recorded seven hits in 14 at-bats with two doubles.

Grand Canyon enters Tuesday’s matchup coming off a weekend series with No. 7 Texas Christian University. GCU won the finale of the three-game series 9-8 in a 12-inning thriller.

First pitch is set for 5 p.m. Tuesday at Brazell Field.