That’s a wrap; Cougar baseball loses final game of season

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CHRIS SHAW | Evergreen reporter

The 2014 season ended as bitterly as one would have expected for the WSU baseball team.

Playing against No. 21 Arizona State, the Cougars dropped two of three games in their final series of the season, finishing with a record of 24-30. Meanwhile, the Sun Devils locked up third place in the Pac-12 conference.

Sunday’s game was the lowest-scoring affair of the weekend as the Sun Devils triumphed 6-3, scoring all the runs they needed in a four-run fourth inning that knocked Cougar starter Tanner Chleborad out of play.

After the first two batters in the inning reached base with singles, Chleborad recorded a strikeout. However, the next batter reached on a fielder’s choice, and the runner coming from first was allowed to reach second base on an error by the second baseman, Ian Sagdal. It was one of three errors WSU committed that day.

ASU redshirt junior Tucker Esmay and sophomore Johnny Sewald followed with singles to drive in a total of three runs. When junior Sam Triece replaced Chleborad, another run scored on an RBI groundout to first base.

Junior Yale Rosen went 2 for 3 for the Cougars, including a two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth inning.

The Cougars picked up the win on Saturday in a 10-7 shootout that included 15 WSU hits. Senior Jason Monda gave up five runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings for the Cougars and struck out a career-high eight hitters.

The fourth inning was a big one for the Cougars as they tallied eight times in the frame. This was the most runs the Cougars had scored in one inning all season. It was also their highest scoring inning against a Pac-12 opponent since they scored the same amount of runs in a single frame against Stanford in 2011.

“It’s never over, and we didn’t have that killer instinct,” head coach Donnie Marbut said. “We score eight and give up five, but we held on to win, and that’s what you’re supposed to do at this time of the year – is win ballgames.”

The Sun Devils kept it close with a five-run fifth inning and added runs in the sixth and the eighth. Freshman closer Ian Hamilton shut the door on an Arizona State comeback with 1 1/3 shutout innings. Hamilton earned his 15th save of the season with his performance.

Arizona State bested the Cougars on Friday by opening the series with a 12-8 victory. Several crooked numbers flashed on the scoreboard throughout the night as the Cougars struck first with a four-run second inning, highlighted by a three-run double from freshman Luke Stratman. The Sun Devils answered with three runs in the following inning.

The score remained at 4-3 until the seventh inning, when both teams pushed across a run in their half of the frame. The Sun Devils broke it open in the top of the eighth inning with six runs, four of which were unearned. Two more runs crossed the plate in the ninth inning for Arizona State, and the Cougars could muster only three runs in the ninth, taking the loss.