Cougars hit road for final time this season

WSU is 9-8 in one-run games this year



Then-senior right-handed pitcher Ryan Walker throws a pitch during a game against USC on May 11 at Bailey-Brayton Field.

RYAN BLAKE, Evergreen reporter

WSU baseball will travel to California to face No. 3 Stanford University in its last road series of the season.

The Cougars (15-28-1) lost to Gonzaga University 3-2 in a 13-inning game Tuesday after dropping two of three to University of Southern California over the weekend.

Head Coach Marty Lees said his team needs to get better but acknowledged their consistent effort.

“One thing I do appreciate about this team is they do move on and they keep playing hard. We’ve had a lot of close games this year, just a handful that were out of reach, so it’s there,” Lees said.

Tuesday’s loss was the 17th game decided by one run in 2018 for the Cougars. They are 9-8 in those games and Lees said his team has had to rebound a lot this year.

“We haven’t won a lot of games this year and it’s wearing on them,” Lees said. “The energy, the enthusiasm, the will is there, we just need to capitalize.”

WSU is last in the Pac-12 in on-base percentage with a .337 mark and the Cougars 5.39 team ERA is second to last in the conference.

The Cardinal (40-8) enter the weekend a game and a half ahead of No. 2 Oregon State University in the conference standings despite dropping two of three to the Beavers over the weekend.

Prior to its series with OSU, Stanford had won 15 of 16 games.

The Cardinal have fared well offensively this season, with the sixth best on-base percentage in the conference. Stanford’s 2.75 team ERA leads the conference and Cardinal pitchers have allowed two runs or less in 26 games this season.

“There’s some great leadership on this team, no one takes a day off,” Stanford Head Coach David Esquer said in a press release after a 5-1 victory over Brigham Young University on Tuesday. “All that matters is taking care of business and finding ways to win.”

Lees said his team will focus on continuing to get better and playing for pride.

“We’re going to keep grinding with these kids,” Lees said. “They’ve worked very hard. Now the work needs to go to the field and just relax, enjoy and do what they’re capable of doing.”

WSU will battle the Cardinal 6 p.m. Friday at Sunken Diamond. The game can also be seen live on Pac-12 Networks.