Cougars battle bitter rival UW in Seattle

WSU hopes to claim series victory over UW for fourth straight time


ABBY LINNENKOHL | Daily Evergreen File

Junior infielder Justin Harrer runs to second base in a game against Santa Clara on Sunday at Bailey-Brayton Field.

RYAN BLAKE, Evergreen reporter

WSU baseball will visit University of Washington for a three-game series beginning Friday at Husky Ballpark in Seattle.

The Cougars (13-20) enter the series with the Huskies (18-18) after playing a game against Seattle University on Wednesday, during which they blew a two-run lead in the seventh inning in a 4-3 defeat to the Redhawks.

The series kicks off the last five weeks of the regular season for WSU, in which they will play five different Pac-12 opponents. A standalone game against Gonzaga University on May 15 is the final non-conference contest on the schedule for the Cougars.

WSU has fared better in Pac-12 play this year. They own a 6-9 record in conference games and a 7-11 record in non-conference games.

Senior outfielder JJ Hancock had an 18-game on-base streak snapped against Santa Clara University on Sunday, but he leads the Cougars with a .365 batting average in Pac-12 play.

Junior infielder Justin Harrer has eight home runs and has driven in 19 runs this season.

The Huskies return home after dropping two of three to University of California, Berkeley, this past weekend and losing a game to University of Texas Rio Grande Valley on Monday.

UW and WSU have posted similar offensive numbers this year, with each holding a .253 team batting average. But the Huskies have the fifth best team ERA in the Pac-12 at 3.62, while the Cougars are ninth with a 4.83 ERA.

Junior right-handed pitcher Joe DeMers anchors the Husky staff. He has a fourth best 1.95 ERA and eighth best 53 strikeouts in the conference this year. Hitters are batting .195 off him, good for second best in the conference.

Senior right-handed pitcher Alex Hardy has been a force in their bullpen this year as well, with a 2.25 ERA, sixth best in the conference.

WSU took two of three from then No. 30 Huskies in Pullman last April. Then sophomore catcher Cory Meyer was walked in the 11th inning to claim a 5-4 walk-off victory in the first game of the season.

The Cougars lead the all-time series 242-193, and WSU has won the last three series against UW.

First pitch is set for 7 p.m. Friday. The game can be watched live on the Pac-12 Networks.