Rock ‘em sock ‘em; Cougar baseball takes series against Spartans


Yale Rosen drives a ball towards right field during a home game against San Jose State, Sunday, March 30.

An early deficit was not nearly enough to hold the WSU Cougars Sunday afternoon.

The Cougar baseball team clawed its way back into the game and then dominated the San Jose State Spartans the rest of the way, winning 16-3. With the victory, the Cougars captured the series against the Spartans by winning three straight after dropping Game 1. 

WSU tallied 20 hits in the game, and redshirt sophomore left fielder Ben Roberts hit his first home run of the season, a three-run shot in the bottom of the sixth inning. Junior second baseman Ian Sagdal added a three-run triple in the eighth inning. 

“It came to a full count and I knew (the pitcher) was going to give me something to hit,” Roberts said. “I just put a good swing on it and it carried out of the ballpark.”

The Cougars put the ball in junior right-hander Sean Hartnett’s hand to start the game, and he looked shaky in his first start of the season. He began the game with two walks but sent the next three hitters down in order to keep the Spartans off the board. 

Hartnett exited after 1 2/3 innings because he got himself into another jam in the top of the second inning. Freshman shortstop Alec de Watteville led off the top of the second with a single, but when Hartnett retired the next two batters, he looked under control again. However, Hartnett hit sophomore third baseman Mike Simonini and junior center fielder Andre Mercurio to load the bases for senior catcher Kyle Gallegos, who then singled to bring in two runs. Senior left fielder Matt Lopez continued the rally with a single that plated another run, which ended Hartnett’s day. 

Hartnett gave up three runs on three hits, and had thrown 52 pitches by the time he left the game. Junior Sam Triece came in from the bullpen and struck out senior first baseman Matt Carroll to end the inning. Triece ended up throwing 4 1/3 innings and did not allow a Spartan to cross the plate, earning the win for the Cougars. 

“It’s just a big team win. It’s good to go into our series next weekend with a couple wins under our belt so it was a good win for us,” Triece said. 

Meanwhile the Cougars chipped away gradually at Spartans starter, junior Kalei Contrades. WSU did not score in the first two innings, but scored one run in the third and the fourth innings to bring the score to 3-2. After the Cougars tied the game in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by sophomore center fielder Trek Stemp, Contrades was replaced by senior left-hander Johnny Melero, who was given the task of facing junior right fielder Yale Rosen. 

After working a full count against Melero, Rosen lined the next pitch up the middle to drive in the go-ahead run. Rosen was then caught trying to steal second, but with two outs, redshirt sophomore third baseman Nick Tanielu grounded a double down the left field line to extend the inning. The Cougars followed that double by breaking the game wide open, and when the bottom of the fifth finally ended, WSU had hung four runs on the board to take the lead, 6-3. 

The scoring did not end there, though. In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Cougar offensive onslaught continued with four more runs. Three of those runs came on the home run from Roberts, and the Cougars had built a 10-3 lead by the end of the sixth. 

“It’s just about never letting up and the sign we have in our dugout that says, ‘no white flags,’” Roberts said. “We just keep going and step on their throats. That’s something we’re going to need to do more as the season goes on, so that was good to do that today.”

The Spartans had to use seven pitchers in the game and only one managed to not give up a run. 

With the win, the Cougars move to 12-13 on the season.