Cougars face No. 3 Oregon State in Pullman

Head Coach Marty Lees will face his old team in series starting Friday


ABBY LINNENKOHL | Daily Evergreen File

Senior outfielder JJ Hancock connects with the ball against Santa Clara University on April 22 at Bailey-Brayton Field.

RYAN BLAKE, Evergreen reporter

WSU baseball will head into a three-game series as the underdogs against No. 3 Oregon State University. WSU Head Coach Lees will also face his old team as he coached at Oregon State for 11 years and won NCAA titles in 2006 and 2007.

The Cougars (14-23) return home after a 1-3 road trip in Seattle. They lost a one-run game to Seattle University on Wednesday and dropped two of three to University of Washington.

Lees said he felt his team played better than their record indicates.

“Really felt like we should have come back three and one instead of one and three,” Lees said.

Oregon State (33-7) began the year winning 20 of their first 21 games before dropping two of three to Utah at the end of March. The Beavers also lost two in a row against University of Arizona in April. They enter the series having won nine of 10.

Lees said the margin for error against the Beavers is small.

“We’re going to have to attack them,” Lees said. “If you decide to roll over they’ll be glad to just take three games from you. We’re going to have to come out and play good baseball. When we’ve played good baseball we’ve been right there to win.”

Lees said he feels confident having two quality starters in senior left-handed pitcher Scotty Sunitsch and junior right-handed pitcher Parker McFadden.  However, Lees said the team is still searching for a third starter.

Sunitsch threw a complete game no-hitter on April 8 against University of Oregon and holds a team leading 2.80 ERA.

McFadden threw five innings in a combined no-hitter against Santa Clara in his start and took a no-hitter into the sixth inning of Sunday’s 6-5 loss against UW.

With two more home runs last weekend junior infielder Justin Harrer moved up sixth in the conference with 10 home runs. Blake Clanton, who also homered twice, leads the team with a .336 batting average.

“It’s going to be a challenge but one that we embrace and one that we look forward to,” Lees said.

The Beavers lead the Pac-12 with a .310 batting average.

Friday and Saturday’s games are scheduled for 5 p.m. at Bailey-Brayton Field. The series will wrap up Sunday at 1 p.m.