Cougars outlasted by Catamounts in second game of series

Chris Shaw | Evergreen Baseball reporter

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Opportunities came and went for the Washington State Cougars on Saturday afternoon as the Western Carolina Catamounts captured an 8-6 victory at Bailey-Brayton Field. 

The Catamounts secured at least a split in the four-game series behind a solid start by senior Jordan Smith, who gave up five runs on seven hits in six innings. After Smith exited, five relievers held WSU to one run, and Colton Davis earned his first save of the season by throwing 1 1/3 shutout innings. 

Centerfielder Trek Stemp and third baseman Nick Tanielu each collected two hits for the Cougars, and Tanielu drove in two runs. Stemp said the team was more aggressive but could not capitalize on key chances in the game. 

“It’s not like we’re not fighting hard,” Stemp said. “It’s just things haven’t been going our way. There are a few tune-ups that we’re going to have to do defensively, offensively, in pitching, and with everything.”

In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Cougars plated one run after a leadoff single from Stemp and an RBI triple from senior catcher Collin Slaybaugh. Then the Cougars loaded the bases and had the chance to take the lead late in the game, but freshman Luke Stratman struck out with two outs, ending the threat. 

Joe Pistorese pitched in five innings of relief after junior starter Tanner Chleborad surrendered seven runs on seven hits in four innings. 

Game 3 starts at noon tomorrow and pits senior Jason Monda against redshirt senior T.J. Fussell.