Cougars battle Ducks in Eugene

WSU heads on road after winning three of four games at home

Junior+infielder+Andres+Alvarez+dives+into+third+base+during+a+game+against+Gonzaga+on+Tuesday+at+Bailey-Brayton+Field.+WSU+won+the+game+4-3.

ABBY LINNENKOHL | The Daily Evergreen

Junior infielder Andres Alvarez dives into third base during a game against Gonzaga on Tuesday at Bailey-Brayton Field. WSU won the game 4-3.

COLIN CONNOLLY , Evergreen reporter

WSU baseball will head to Eugene to face the University of Oregon for a three-game series starting Friday.

The Cougars (8-15, 3-6) are coming off a series with Arizona State University in which they took two of three games and a victory against Gonzaga University on Tuesday.

After the home stand, Head Coach Marty Lees said the team feels much better about where its at and is ready to take their momentum into the series against Oregon (16-11, 3-6).

“Coming home, getting our legs underneath us, getting extra time to work with our kids in the cages and the pen, there’s no replacement for that,” Lees said.

Senior left-hander Cody Anderson, WSU’s probable starter for Sunday, said the series against the Ducks will be a tough one. He said all three games were a grind last year and this time he expects the same.

Anderson said the Cougars feel confident despite their record not being where they want it to be. He said all that really matters to the team is how it acts in the dugout and the bullpen.

Anderson said the Ducks are known for their defense and pitching, rather than having a lot of solid batters in their lineup.

He said Oregon has a lot of speed and likes to do quirky things on the base in order to throw off the routines of opposing pitchers.

“I really have to control the run game,” Anderson said. “If I do what I am capable of, I will get the results I want.”

Getting ahead in the count with early strikes and moving to the breaking ball later against the Ducks’ left-handed hitters is something Anderson said he will try to do.

“I remember how I got them out last year, and that gives me an idea of how to attack those same hitters this year,” Anderson said. “Other than that, it’s a new club, so it’s a whole new ball game.”

In order to get its first series win at Eugene since 2012, the team will have to continue to play great defense, Lees said.

From a pitchers’ perspective, Anderson said having a reliable defense behind him makes all the difference. He said that, for not being a strikeout pitcher, it is huge knowing he has people behind him giving their all and laying out for every ball put in play.

“They have my back and I’ve got theirs,” Anderson said, “and that is all that really counts.”

First pitch for the opening game of the series is set for 6 p.m. Friday at PK Park in Eugene. The game can also be seen live on the Oregon Live Stream.