It didn’t take very many runs to beat the California Golden Bears on Friday night as junior starter Joe Pistorese threw a complete-game shutout to earn the victory.
The Cougars won 3-0, jumping on the board early with the help of an RBI double from junior outfielder Yale Rosen in the first inning. Rosen was 3 for 3 and scored a run.
“I’m just out there having fun right now,” Rosen said. “I’m sticking to the plan at the plate and on the field, and it’s all working out for me.”
The Cougars scored twice in the first and once more in the third, but the Golden Bears had no answer against Pistorese, who scattered five hits over all nine innings. He threw 127 pitches to achieve his masterpiece.
“I’d like to say I don’t think about it but I was definitely hunting it out,” Pistorese said. “In the fifth inning, I was thinking I should take it one inning at a time, and by the time the seventh rolled around, I wanted it and was hunting it out a little bit.”
While the California defense committed three errors on the night, the Cougars were polished in the field, and had a few spectacular plays in support of their starting pitcher.
“With your defense behind you, making plays like that, gives you a lot of confidence in the later innings,” Pistorese said. “They played phenomenal tonight and the credit goes all to them.”
One of them was Rosen, who made a diving catch out in left field to help Pistorese.
“He’s unreal when he’s on the mound,” Rosen said. “He gets up there and, just the tempo of the game he brings, you know he’s going to pound the zone and come right at you. That’s the mentality we have every time Joe’s on the mound.”
The Cougars now have a four-game winning streak and have the upper hand in this three-game series against the Golden Bears. WSU also returns to .500 with the win, and also is 4-3 in the Pac-12 conference.
“It feels like we’re starting to get where we want to be now,” Rosen said. “We started out rough but we’re starting to build it together. If we keep building off of this right now, we’re trying to get a Pac-12 championship, so if we keep winning in the Pac-12, we’ll be set.”
On a night where the juniors excelled, it looked as if the team meeting the juniors called last weekend worked. The junior class saw the team needed to change its trajectory, and Rosen notices a difference already.
“I think we’re having a lot more fun,” Rosen said. “Inside the dugout and out on the field, we’re all talking, we’re all laughing, and having a good time, so it makes things easier.”
Game 2 of the series is scheduled to begin tomorrow at 2 p.m. at Bailey-Brayton Field. Junior Tanner Chleborad is expected to start for the Cougars against senior left-hander Kyle Porter, who is 4-1 with a 2.75 ERA.