WSU baseball takes two of three from UCLA


KOHLTON STEINKE | The Daily Evergreen

Sophomore infielder Andres Alvarez bats during Saturday’s game against UCLA at Bailey–Brayton Field.

RYAN BLAKE, Evergreen reporter

The Washington State University Cougars (24-23, 10-14) took two of three games from UCLA (25-23, 14-10) over the weekend to secure their fourth consecutive series victory.

Game 1

The Cougars recorded 13 hits while Damon Jones allowed just one run as WSU took Friday night’s series opener by a score of 7-1.

Jones, a left-hander, continued his dominate run in Pac-12 play as the Cougar’s Friday night starting pitcher. In his five and one-third innings pitched, Jones allowed just one run on four hits, striking out two.

Jones has pitched well as of late, giving up two runs over his last 21 and one-third innings of work, lowering his season ERA to 5.28.

The only run that UCLA managed came on a home run by infielder Zander Clarke, leading off the top of the fifth inning.

Junior right-hander Ryan Walker relieved Jones in the sixth inning and held the Bruins in check the rest of the way. Walker allowed just two hits and struck out five over three innings of work.

Offensively, WSU flexed their muscles with 13 base hits, including four extra base hits. Junior outfielder Blake Clanton started the scoring as he tripled in the bottom of the second inning. Freshman utility Danny Sinatro brought in the first run of the game with a single. Sinatro later scored that inning on a single by sophomore infielder Andres Alvarez.

In the bottom of the third, with junior infielder Shane Matheny on, sophomore outfielder Justin Harrer blasted his team-leading fifth home run of the season to straight away center field to give the Cougs a solid 4-0 lead.

The Bruins’ pitching kept WSU quiet until the eighth inning, when freshman catcher Cal Waterman crushed his second home run of the year to left field, scoring Sinatro.

The Cougs added one more on a Matheny double that scored freshman infielder Dillon Plew from first to give them a 7-1 lead.

Game 2

WSU continued to pile on the hits as the Cougars took the second game of the series by a score of 7-3 on Saturday.

Junior left-hander Cody Anderson was the starting pitcher and continued to build on his solid season to date. Anderson allowed two runs on four hits over five and two-thirds innings of work, striking out two and stranding runners on base all day long.

Offensively, the Cougars continued to put pressure the Bruins’ pitching staff. WSU again got out to an early 1-0 lead after junior first baseman James Rudkin singled home Alvarez in the bottom of the first inning.

With the game tied at one in the bottom of the fifth, the Cougars got two runs — one on a sacrifice fly by Rudkin that scored Plew, and another on an RBI double by Harrer that scored Matheny.

WSU stretched their lead to 6-2 in the sixth on a two-run single by Matheny who later scored on an RBI double by junior J.J. Hancock.

A Clanton home run to lead off the seventh inning gave the Cougars their seventh and final run of the day. It proved to be more than enough offense.

UCLA scored one in the top of the eighth on a solo home run but could not complete the comeback as the Cougars held on to win 7-3 for both their fourth straight win and their fourth straight series win.

WSU recorded 12 hits, four for extra bases, and three walks during another impressive showing by one of the Pac-12’s top offensive teams.

Game 3

Going for the series sweep, WSU struggled on both sides of the ball and fell 12-2 in an all-around ugly game in Sunday’s finale.

Freshman left-hander Isaac Mullins started the game on the mound for the Cougars but lasted just an inning and two-thirds before being pulled. Mullins allowed three runs on three hits and walked two batters.

Freshman right-hander Davis Baillie relieved Mullins in the second inning and allowed one run during his two innings of work.

A.J. Block, another freshman left-hander, took over for Baillie in the fourth. Block got touched up as he pitched just an inning and one-third, allowing five runs on six hits.

Overall, WSU pitching allowed 12 runs on 15 hits and five walks as UCLA cruised to an easy victory for the final game of the series.

Bruin’s pitcher Jon Olsen confused Cougar hitters all day. Olsen allowed just two runs on four hits, striking out nine in his seven strong innings of work.

Alvarez recorded three of the Cougars’ six total hits. As a team, WSU had a tough time making contact, striking out 11 times on the day. Although four of the Cougars’ six hits were doubles, it wasn’t enough to sweep UCLA.

WSU faces Gonzaga tomorrow in Spokane before travelling to Corvallis to play Oregon State (41-4, 24-3) this weekend. It will be a test as the Beavers are ranked first in the Pac-12 division, having only lost three games in conference play.