Cougars battle Trojans hoping to end winless streak

WSU has only won one game since sweep of Santa Clara at home



Senior outfielder Blake Clanton holds back his swing to take a ball during a game against Santa Clara on April 22 at Bailey-Brayton Field. WSU won 5-0.

RYAN BLAKE, Evergreen reporter

WSU baseball continues its seven game home stand against University of Southern California on Friday looking to end a four-game winless streak.

The Cougars (14-25-1) wrapped up a three-game series with No. 3 Oregon State University with a 7-7 tie on Sunday. It was the first tie for WSU since 1992 and its first conference tie since 1936.

Lightning forced the teams off the field at the start of the tenth inning. OSU won the first two games of the series by a combined score of 26-4.

Senior outfielder Blake Clanton said the team needs to put the weekend behind them and not dwell on the outcome.

“I think we just need to come together and get better as a team,” Clanton said.

WSU has struggled since sweeping Santa Clara University. The Cougars are 1-5-1 since April 22, including three blowout losses by eight or more runs. They have not won a series against a Pac-12 team since taking two of three from Arizona State University at the end of March.

USC (21-22) started the season 8-3, which included a six game winning streak. The Trojans defeated University of California, Berkley over the weekend, taking two out of three games in the series. They won just three of their previous 12 games prior to a victory over the Golden Bears on Friday.

Both teams have had similar struggles at times this year. USC has posted a team ERA of 5.25, which is ninth worst in the conference, while WSU has a team ERA of 5.38.

Both schools have stumbled at the plate as well. The Cougars are ninth in the Pac-12 with a .249 batting average compared to the Trojans tenth place .248 batting average.

WSU has benefited from the powerful combination of Clanton and junior infielder Justin Harrer in the middle of the order. Clanton leads the team with a .322 batting average and is 11th in the conference with a .562 slugging percentage while Harrer is sixth in the conference with ten home runs.

First pitch is set for 5 p.m. Friday at Bailey-Brayton Field. The second game of the series will be contested at 2 p.m. Saturday and the series finale will played at 1 p.m. Sunday.