Cougars hold on to early lead to defeat Arizona

WSU scored five runs in top of first inning



Senior first baseman James Rudkin focuses on the pitcher, waiting to rush to second, during a game against Saint Mary’s on March 8 at Bailey-Brayton Field.

RYAN BLAKE, Evergreen reporter

WSU baseball snapped its six-game losing streak in a 5-4 victory over University of Arizona on Saturday.

The Cougars got out to an early lead after scoring five runs in the top of the first inning.

Five straight hits, including an RBI double by junior infielder Justin Harrer, scored two runs and loaded the bases with one out. Senior outfielder J.J. Hancock took a hit-by-pitch to bring in the third run and keep the bases loaded.

Junior catcher Robert Teel followed with a single to centerfield to bring home two more runs and make it 5-0.

Senior left-handed pitcher Scotty Sunitsch started the game on the mound for WSU and ran into trouble in the bottom of the first inning. With runners on second and third and one out, a passed ball charged to Teel brought home the first run for the Wildcats (12-10).

Sunitsch got the next batter to groundout but the runner from third base scored on the play to make it 5-2 WSU.

Sunitsch settled down after the first and finished the day allowing two runs on six hits over five innings.

The game would remain 5-2 until the bottom of the seventh inning. Arizona loaded the bases after a hit-by-pitch and back-to-back walks by freshman right-handed pitcher Hayden Rosenkrantz.

Junior catcher Cesar Salazar would single up the middle to score two runs for the Wildcats and make it a 5-4 game. After another walk, freshman left-handed pitcher Michael Newstrom relieved Rosenkrantz and got the first out of the inning on an infield fly.

Senior right-handed pitcher Ryan Walker then came on for Newstrom and retired the next two batters to get the Cougars out of the inning.

Clinging to a one run lead, Walker worked a perfect eighth and ninth inning to close out the game for the Cougars and secure a 5-4 victory. Walker retired all eight batters he faced, striking out five.

WSU totaled 12 hits and four walks offensively but failed to score after its five-run first inning. Both teams left 11 runners on base.

The series wraps up 12:30 p.m. Sunday in Tucson.