Throwing error caps off Cougar collapse

McFadden carried a no-hitter into sixth inning of second game, but WSU blew four run lead in defeat



Junior infielder Justin Harrer rounds third base on his way to home against Santa Clara on April 20 at Bailey-Brayton Field.

RYAN BLAKE, Evergreen reporter

WSU baseball split a doubleheader with University of Washington at Husky Park in Seattle on Sunday.

After Saturday’s game was rained out, the Cougars (14-23) shut down the Huskies’ (20-19) bats in a 4-1 victory in the first game early Sunday morning.

Senior left-handed pitcher Scotty Sunitsch made his 10th start of the season in game one. He entered with a 3.02 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 53.2 innings.

Sunitsch continued his run of dominance by allowing one run on four hits over seven and one-third innings. He struck out eight and walked one batter while working into the eighth inning.

The Cougar offense gave Sunitsch the support he needed and scraped together four runs on six hits and two walks.

WSU got on the board first in the third inning. Freshman infielder Mason De La Cruz singled with two outs and was driven home by a double to left centerfield by sophomore infielder Dillon Plew.

The Cougars scored two more runs in the top of the fourth. Junior infielder Justin Harrer singled to lead off the inning before senior outfielder Blake Clanton homered, giving WSU a 3-1 lead.

It was Clanton’s fourth home run of the year. He leads the team with a .330 batting average.

Harrer extended the Cougars’ lead to 4-1 in the top of the sixth on a solo home run to right field. Harrer leads the team with 10 home runs this season.

UW threated to make a comeback in the eighth inning. Sunitsch gave up a single and hit a batter to put runners on first and second with one out.

Senior right-handed pitcher Ryan Walker replaced Sunitsch on the mound. After getting a pop out, Walker hit a batter to load the bases. He struck the next batter out to escape the jam and secure the victory for the Cougars.

WSU lost 6-5 on a walk-off wild pitch in game two after holding a 5-2 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth inning.

Junior right-handed pitcher Parker McFadden started for WSU in the second leg of the doubleheader. He allowed one run on two hits while striking out nine in his five and one-third innings of work.

McFadden carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning before giving up a leadoff single. It was the first hit the junior right-hander gave up as a starter. He made his first career start last Sunday against Santa Clara University, where he threw five no-hit innings en route to a combined no-hitter for the Cougars

WSU’s offense, with a little help from the Huskies, got on the board early with two runs in the top of the third. Senior first baseman James Rudkin singled and De La Cruz reached on an error to begin the inning.

Two batters later, Harrer singled to centerfield to score Rudkin from second. De La Cruz crossed home plate on the play as well due to a throwing error by the Huskies.

The Cougars got three more runs in the top of the seventh on Clanton’s second home run of the day. Plew singled to center to begin the inning, and the Huskies walked Harrer to put two on with one out.

Clanton drove the third pitch of his at bat over the fence in left field for his fifth home run of the year, giving WSU a 5-1 lead. Clanton is second on the team in home runs behind Harrer.

Sophomore left-handed pitcher A.J. Block took over for McFadden in the sixth and kept the Huskies’ run total at one until the eighth inning. A walk followed by a double and a throwing error by senior outfielder J.J. Hancock made it a 5-2 game.

Walker began the ninth inning holding on to the three-run lead. A leadoff walk followed by a home run cut the Cougar lead to 5-4 with nobody out. Walker hit the next batter and the Huskies used a sacrifice bunt to move him to second.

Senior left-handed pitcher Cody Anderson took over for Walker and gave up a single to freshman outfielder Braiden Ward to plate the tying run. After another single, redshirt senior right-handed pitcher Collin Maier took over for Anderson with runners on first and third and one out.

Maier threw a wild pitch that went between the legs of junior catcher Robert Teel to give UW a 6-5 walk-off win.

WSU returns home to face Oregon State University 5 p.m. Friday at Bailey-Brayton Field.