Battlefield: Cougars lose first game in a series against Northeastern at home, sit at .500


Freshman pitcher Davis Bailie pitches the ball during a game against Utah Valley at Bailey-Brayton Field on March 5.

A fourth inning solo home run spoiled a career outing for junior starting pitcher Ian Hamilton as the Cougars fell 5-3 to Northeastern on Thursday.

Hamilton (0-4) recorded a career high nine strike outs over 6.2 innings pitched while allowing only one walk and one earned run. The junior starter, in just his fourth career start, was again on the wrong end of the Cougars’ fielding blunders.

Northeastern (7-5) benefited from two errors in the bottom of the first by sophomore third baseman Shane Matheny and freshman first baseman Mason Cerrillo. Junior first baseman Cam Hanley reached on a throwing error by Matheny to give NU runners at the corners with two outs.

The following at-bat Cerrillo wasn’t able to get back to first base in time and missed a throw from redshirt junior second baseman Trek Stemp, allowing junior left fielder Pat Madigan to score. The Huskies delivered two more runs on back to back infield singles to give NU a 3-0 lead.

“I feel very disappointed,” WSU Head Coach Marty Lees said postgame. “We’re getting good starting pitching and we’re putting enough hits on the board…We had a different first baseman today – never played first base in college.”

The Cougars struck back in the bottom of the first with three runs of their own. After Stemp walked and sophomore left fielder Derek Chapman singled to left, Cerrillo advanced both into scoring position on a sac bunt.

Junior right fielder Cameron Frost scored Stemp from third on a single to left. Sophomore designated hitter Weston Hatton followed with another single to left, scoring Chapman to cut the lead to 3-2.

Redshirt sophomore catcher Stefan Van Horn delivered Frost on an error by Huskies third baseman Nolan Lang.

“What I like about our team this year is if something bad happens we just erase it and continue playing,” Frost said postgame. “That’s why we came back like we did. It’s a good step up for sure, especially after what happened in the first inning.”

Hamilton and the Cougars regained their focus to hold the Huskies to one hit until the fourth inning home run by senior catcher Josh Treff. Once NU retook the lead they never let it go, even though the Cougars left seven runners on base over the final six innings.

Lees was impressed with Hamilton’s performance despite the loss, with the first-year coach seeing continuous improvements in his No.1 starter.

“He’s a fierce competitor,” Lees said. “He executed every pitch he made. Had he had a night – he gave up a home run, that’s what you do. He battled right back like you’re suppose to do when you do something not right. You get your mind straight just like he did and he executed for two more innings.”

The Cougars’ best chance to come back came in the bottom of the fourth. WSU loaded the bases with no outs after sophomore center fielder Dugan Shirer worked a walk. However, Stemp hit into a called triple play after lining out to second, before Shirer and Matheny were called out on the play.

WSU continues their series with Northeastern Friday at 4 p.m. with freshman right-hander Ryan Ward getting the start.