Not enough: Cougar baseball loses fourth of last five games in close fashion

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Shortstop Trace Tam Sing at bat during a game against USC, May 2, 2014.

CHRIS SHAW | Evergreen reporter

A comeback attempt against Seattle University proved futile on Monday as WSU lost 4-3 on the road. The Redhawks were aided by a big third inning in which they scored three runs against Cougars’ starting pitcher Sean Hartnett.

The Cougars kept the game within reach when they scored twice in the top half of the fourth inning to pull within one run. When left-handed WSU senior Jason Monda stepped to the plate to face left-hander Andrew Olson, WSU elected to replace Monda with a pinch-hitter. The selection, right-handed-hitting Patrick McGrath, came through with a two-run single to bring the Cougars within one run.

However, Seattle added one more run in the bottom of the fourth inning against junior reliever Sam Triece, and that ended up being the difference-maker.

With a chance to come back in the top half of the ninth inning, the Cougars faltered as they could only push across one run against the Seattle bullpen. Both WSU Senior Collin Slaybaugh and redshirt junior Tam Sing singled with one out, and with those runners at first and third, freshman Cameron Frost delivered a sacrifice fly to cut the deficit to one again.

Junior Yale Rosen stepped to the plate with a chance to extend the rally, but he struck out to end the game. The loss dropped WSU to 23-28 on the season.

Senior Collin Slaybaugh went 3 for 5 in the game, and redshirt junior Trace Tam Sing stayed hot with a 2 for 3 for the afternoon.

Revenge was sweet for the Cougars on Sunday as they walloped the Stanford Cardinal 10-1 to avoid a sweep in the three-game series over the weekend. Redshirt sophomore Nick Tanielu went 4 for 4 and the Cougars collected a total of 12 hits on the day.

The game stayed close until the top of the eighth inning, but then the onslaught began. Clinging to a 2-1 lead going into the eighth, the Cougars scored five in that frame and added three more in the top of the ninth to break the game open and secure the victory.

WSU pitcher Tanner Chleborad threw seven innings, allowing one run on three hits. Stanford’s pitcher, sophomore Logan James, went seven innings as well, giving up two runs on five hits, but it was the bullpen that ruined the Cardinal’s chance at a sweep. Freshmen hurlers Chris Castellanos and Griffin Weir each were tagged for three runs.

Redshirt junior Trace Tam Sing drove in three RBIs in the final game of the series, capping off a successful weekend against Stanford.

Saturday’s game turned out entirely differently as Stanford did most of the scoring, winning 9-4 thanks to three home runs. Cardinal Freshman Tommy Edman, junior Alex Blandino and junior Wayne Taylor all hit bombs against WSU starter Jason Monda, who went 4 1/3 innings and took the loss. The Cougars were forced to use five relievers after Monda exited the game, while the Cardinal cruised behind a solid start from John Hochstatter. The junior lefty gave up three runs on three hits in 6 1/3 innings, and the run support he received did the rest of the work.

By the time the ninth inning arrived, the Cardinal led 9-3, but the Cougars tried to get something going against senior reliever A.J. Vanegas. WSU loaded the bases, and with one out, Tanielu drove in a run with a single to bring the Cougars closer, but then Vanegas induced a double play to thwart the rally and end the game.

On Friday, Tam Sing did what he could to keep the Cougars in the game, hitting a home run in the fifth inning and again in the ninth. He finished the game 3 for 3. It was Tam Sing’s first multi-home run game of his career. However, the shortstop’s power surge was not enough as the rest of the WSU offense was stymied by Stanford starter Cal Quantrill, who threw eight innings of one-run ball, allowing four hits and striking out 10. Quantrill earned his fourth win of the season in the 5-2 victory, and junior Joe Pistorese suffered the loss after surrendering four runs in six innings.

The final series of the Cougars’ season begins on Friday in Pullman against the Arizona State Sun Devils.