PULLMAN – It was a game of big numbers for the Cougars – and not the good ones.
The Washington State baseball team gave up 19 runs, 17 hits, 11 walks – eight of which led to runs – went through six pitchers and committed four errors Monday afternoon in front of 623 at Bailey-Brayton Field. They lost 19-9 to No. 25 Oregon State.
But that’s not the whole story.
The Cougars (24-20 overall, 5-10 Pac-10) ran away with the series against the Beavers (21-18, 9-9) this weekend, defeating the defending two-time national champions 10-3 on Saturday and 11-4 on Sunday. When Oregon State arrived in Pullman, it was ranked two spots higher at No. 23.
And though Monday’s game showed early promise to be another Cougars slugfest, the scale tipped the other way.
“I hope that we just realize it’s one game,” WSU head coach Donnie Marbut said. “We played two really good games against a good club, beat them up twice. Hopefully we’re not dwelling on this Game 3.”
The Beavers jumped out to a 9-2 lead in the third inning as three WSU pitchers let them rotate around the loaded bases one batter at a time. Cougars starting pitcher Chad Arnold allowed six runs in 21/3 innings.
Then the Cougars answered in the bottom of the third, with two outs, when OSU starter Jorge Reyes walked two consecutive batters then hit the next two. Michael Weber drove in two runs with a line drive to left field, and Greg Lagreid launched a three-run homer over the right-field wall.
And that was about it for the Cougars, as their bats settled down and their mound crumbled. They scored once more – on a Lagreid sacrifice fly – while their pitchers served walk after walk, and hit after hit.
Infielders dropped tags and overthrew basemen. They scrambled without success to intercept infield bloopers in time. The nail in the coffin was Lonnie Lechelt’s two-RBI triple in the seventh that gave the Beavers their 19th run.
“If you pitch bad and you play bad defense, you’re going to lose, absolutely,” Marbut said. “And we did both of those things.”
For the Beavers, Monday’s game was do-or-die. Head coach Pat Casey said they needed to maintain at least a .500 conference record if they had any postseason dreams.
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