OLIVER MCKENNA | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE
WSU baseball travels to California for its third conference matchup of the season to face Cal in a three-game series starting Friday.
The Cougars (7-20, 0-6) are coming off a 12-10 win over Gonzaga on Tuesday and a series sweep from No. 2 Stanford this past weekend at Bailey-Brayton Field.
WSU, who ended a 12-game losing streak with the victory against the Zags, needs to come out swinging to pick up its first conference win over the Golden Bears (14-11, 2-4).
Cal swept Long Beach State in a three-game series this past weekend, outscoring the Dirtbags 30-11.
The Cougars have struggled away from Bailey-Brayton, only producing a 4-16 record in those contests and scoring a total of 86 runs on the road.
Head Coach Marty Lees said he expects the bats to be alive again against the Golden Bears, like they were against Gonzaga.
“I expect [the bats] to be great every weekend, and so do they,” Lees said. “We’ve been able to put together nine, 10, 11, 12 hits, but only amount to one or two runs, so our offensive production [Tuesday] was good.”
The Cougars are still looking for their first series win since March 8-10, when they took two out of three games against Cal State-Northridge at home.
Lee said freshman right-handed pitcher Brandon White will start Friday night, junior left-handed pitcher A.J. Block will take the mound Saturday and sophomore right-handed pitcher Hayden Rosenkrantz will pitch in the series finale Sunday.
In his last start, Block started out great against No. 2 Stanford last Saturday, allowing two runs on five hits through five innings to help WSU hold a comfortable 5-2 lead. Unfortunately, he got in some trouble in the sixth inning, and the Cardinal scored three runs en route to an 8-5 win.
Senior shortstop Andres Alvarez helped bring in three runs for the Cougars in the win over the Zags, including a two-run home run in the first inning. He is hitting .312 this season with 29 hits and seven RBI.
Alvarez said he hopes to continue his momentum when it comes to hitting in the series against the Golden Bears and help the Cougs leave Berkeley with a series win.
“I just want to stay consistent, help my team win any way I can and anything I can do to help us win,” Alvarez said.
Freshman left-handed pitcher Ky Bush said he wants the offense to come alive as it did against Gonzaga and for the whole team to contribute.
“[We’re] just looking for a whole team effort out of everyone,” Bush said.
The Cougars are looking forward to facing Cal junior left-handed pitcher Arman Sabouri, who will start for the Golden Bears on Friday and hasn’t allowed a home run this season. He has allowed nine earned runs and tossed 34 strikeouts in 26.1 innings of work this year.
First pitch for the series opener is set for 7:05 p.m. Friday at Evans Diamond. The three-game series can be seen live on Pac-12 Networks.