Cougs storm past Utes

WSU scored four runs each in fifth, seventh innings in victory



Then-senior outfielder Blake Clanton stares down the ball and takes a pitch against Utah.

RYAN BLAKE , Evergreen reporter

Four players homered as WSU baseball won 14-5 over University of Utah in the series opener Thursday.

Senior first baseman James Rudkin and senior outfielder JJ Hancock each hit two-run home runs in the fifth inning while senior outfielder Blake Clanton and junior infielder Justin Harrer hit back-to-back solo home runs in the seventh.

Harrer opened the scoring in the bottom of the first with an RBI single to right field. WSU (16-31-1) added two more in the third on an RBI double by Rudkin, who later scored on a single by Clanton.

Freshman right-handed pitcher Hayden Rosenkrantz started on the mound for the Cougars. He did not give up a hit in the first three innings.

The Utes (14-39) got on the board in the fourth on a walk and a home run off Rosenkrantz to cut the Cougars lead to 3-2.

Rosenkrantz allowed a leadoff home run in the top of the fifth. He was replaced by freshman left-handed pitcher Bryce Moyle after giving up a double to the second batter of the inning. A sacrifice bunt and two singles brought home the tying and go ahead runs as Utah took a 4-3 lead.

WSU answered with four runs in the bottom of the inning on the Rudkin and Hancock home runs.

“I’ve been pretty happy with the resiliency,” Head Coach Marty Lees said. “They’ve been down a lot and fought. They haven’t come out on the best end of it a lot more times than not, but they don’t give up, they battle and I’m excited about that.”

Nine men stepped to the plate for the Cougars in the seventh as they added four more runs, aided by solo home runs by Clanton and Harrer. WSU added three more in the eighth with help from a two-RBI double by Hancock.

WSU held on to win 14-5. They piled up 13 hits and seven walks.

“We’ve got a bunch of seniors and … everyone wants to play well, play loose and just go out there and have fun,” Rudkin said.

Game two of the series is set for 4 p.m. Friday at Bailey-Brayton Field.