Cougs blow five run lead in ninth inning, tie USC in series finale

Game was called after 12th inning due to NCAA travel curfew rules resulting in 10-10 tie



Then-junior left-handed pitcher AJ Block throws a pitch during the game against Stanford on March 30 at Bailey-Brayton Field.

SAM GRANT, Evergreen reporter

WSU baseball managed to slide by with a 10-10 tie against USC in Los Angeles on Saturday in the finale of a three-game series.

The game was called after the 12th inning due to NCAA travel curfew rules which requires adequate time for student-athletes to catch a flight home and be prepared to go to class Monday.

The result was WSU’s first tie since last season when they tied Oregon State 7-7 at home.

The tie means the Cougars (8-27-1, 1-13-1) escaped from suffering their seventh series sweep of the season.

It looked like WSU was on its way to notching its ninth win of the season, but a five-run ninth inning by the Trojans (17-20-1, 8-9-1) forced extra innings.

WSU gave the start to junior left-handed pitcher AJ Block, who surrendered five hits and four runs in six innings of work.

USC took the lead early with a two-run home run in the bottom of the first inning.

However, the Cougars responded in a big way. In the top of the third inning, junior infielder Dillon Plew stepped up to the plate with one out and the bases loaded and hit a grand slam to right field to give WSU a 4-2 lead.

A single by freshman outfielder Tyson Guerrero and an error by the Trojans helped push across two more runs for the Cougars before the inning was over.

Defensive issues continued to be a burden for USC in the sixth inning as an error allowed WSU to score two more runs and take an 8-2 lead.

The Trojans offense cut into the Cougars lead in the bottom of the sixth inning, scoring two runs off a single and a wild pitch to make it 8-4.

After six innings, the Cougars pulled Block and replaced him with redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Davis Baillie.

WSU managed to squeeze in one more run in the ninth to take a 9-4 lead  into the bottom of the inning.

The Cougars were three outs away from a victory, but USC had other plans.  The Trojans used a pair of singles, a fly out and a hit-by-pitch to score five runs and tie the game up.

After two scoreless innings, the Cougars gained the lead in the top of the 12th inning as Guerrero reached home plate on a sacrifice bunt by freshman infielder Kodie Kolden.

The Trojans responded in the bottom of the inning with an RBI double to tie the game at 10-10.

The Cougars now shift their focus to Gonzaga, who they will face at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Spokane. WSU beat the Zags earlier this season 12-10 at Bailey-Brayton Field.