WSU baseball set to take on Stanford for final series

RYAN BLAKE, Evergreen reporter

WSU baseball (24-26, 10-17) wraps up their season with a final three-game series against Stanford (37-14, 18-9) beginning Thursday at home.

The Cougars come into the series on a four-game losing streak. The team just played Oregon State (45-4) in Corvallis over the weekend and was overwhelmed by the number one team in the conference, resulting in three losses. WSU had previously won four consecutive series against Washington, Utah, Oregon and UCLA.

Depending on the outcome of the upcoming series, the Cougars could finish anywhere between last and fifth place in the Pac-12.

The Cougars fell in the rankings for many statistical categories after the rough weekend at Oregon State as the squad now ranks eighth in runs scored (253), ninth in ERA (5.18) and second to last in errors (64). When you’re playing the Beavers though, and it doesn’t matter who you are, the outcome is usually far from pretty.

OSU broke the previously-held record of 26 conference wins in the Pac-12. They now have 27 but are vying to increase that record in their final series of the year.

WSU’s starters for the weekend have not yet been announced, but redshirt junior left-hander Damon Jones and junior left-hander Cody Anderson are likely going to get a start. Both of the southpaws have pitched well this season.

Since regaining his role as a starter against Washington in late April, Jones has had five starts, dominating opponents with a 1.23 ERA in 22 innings.

Anderson continues to be the Cougars’ most consistent starter. The tall left-hander owns a team best 2.87 ERA and has not given up more than three earned runs in an outing this season. Anderson has gone five or more innings in five of his last six outings, helping preserve the bullpen on a staff short of arms.

The Cardinal ranks ninth in the country and are second only to Oregon State in the Pac-12 standings.

Led by Head Coach Mark Marquess, Stanford has put together a well-rounded season. The team ranks fourth in runs scored (272), third in team ERA (3.53) and tied for third in fielding percentage (.979).

Stanford retired Marquess’ number nine following the team’s walk off victory over Washington (26-25, 12-15) Sunday. Marquess will retire following the 2017 season after an impressive 41 years as the Cardinal head coach.

Stanford has turned the burner up to high as they’ve won 18 of their last 20 contests coming into the weekend series. Fortunately for the Cougars, the series will be held in Pullman.

WSU has capitalized on its home field advantage this year with an 18-7 record at home compared to a 6-19 record on the road.

The series will be televised on the Pac-12 Network with game one set to begin at 6 p.m. Thursday at Bailey-Brayton Field.