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UCLA faces Cougars and nasty weather

Wed., April 1, 2009

Donnie Marbut is not a fan of bad weather.

But Washington State’s fifth-year year head baseball coach wouldn’t mind if the cold temperatures, rain and occasional snow showers that have plagued the Pullman area in recent days stick around through the weekend.

It could, Marbut figures, help his team’s chances against Pacific-10 Conference rival UCLA, when the Bruins invade Bailey-Brayton Field for a three-game series that kicks off at 5:30 p.m. on Friday.

“You’re always hoping for any edge you can get,” said Marbut, whose Cougars (10-12 overall, 2-1 in the Pac-10) opened league play in Berkeley, Calif., last weekend by taking two out of three games from California. “Most of those (UCLA) guys are from southern California, and probably aren’t used to the cold weather as much as we are.

“But when you’ve got a program as well-coached and talented as UCLA’s, I’m not sure how much the weather really changes things.”

The Bruins (10-14, 4-2) took two of three from Arizona at home last weekend and are scheduled to host Loyola Marymount in a non-conference game tonight before preparing for their trip to Pullman.

Marbut was pleased with the way his Cougars played against Cal, but admits the 8-2 loss to the Bears on Sunday was disappointing.

“It’s just the way we lost it,” he explained. “We feel like we kind of gave them that game, because we made some uncharacteristic mistakes. It’s too bad you worry about the losses so much, you know, because we played really played well on Friday and Saturday, and all I can think about is the Sunday game.

“That’s probably the wrong way to look at it, because any time you can go on the road and win two out of three in our conference, you’re doing something right.”

Pac-10 honors for WSU’s Jones

Washington State freshman outfielder Derek Jones has been named the Pacific-10 Conference Player of the Week after torching host California for three home runs, a triple, six RBI and six runs scored during a three-game series against the Bears.

Jones finished the series with a .571 on-base percentage and 1.500 slugging percentage, and is the first WSU freshman to receive the Pac-10’s POW award since the league reunified in 1999.

Zags getting votes

After taking two of three games in its West Coast Conference-opening series at San Francisco last weekend, Gonzaga University received votes in this week’s ESPN/USA Today poll for the second straight week.

The Bulldogs, 17-7 overall heading into Tuesday night’s non-conference matchup against Washington in Seattle, also received votes following their 6-1 start.

Reeling Bucs return home

Whitworth University hopes to feast on some much-needed home cooking this weekend when it entertains Northwest Conference rival George Fox in a pair of noon doubleheaders at Merkel Field on Saturday and Sunday.

The cellar-dwelling Pirates (4-18, 2-14) have lost 14 of their last 15 games and suffered the indignity of losing three times to Willamette (8-11, 6-7) in Salem, Ore., on Sunday when they dropped an 11-6 decision in a game that had been suspended on Saturday and then lost both games of a scheduled doubleheader 4-3 and 7-1.

George Fox (17-6, 12-2) comes in having won 13 of its last 14 and firmly established in second place in the NWC standings, just a game behind league-leading Linfield (20-3, 14-2).

CCS out to stop skid

Community Colleges of Spokane (8-2, 0-4), after going 8-2 in non-conference play, will try to snap a four-game NWAACC losing streak when it entertains Blue Mountain this afternoon at Spokane Falls in a doubleheader that starts at 1.

The Sasquatch (8-2, 0-4) suffered 5-3 and 1-0 home losses to Treasure Valley on Monday and dropped into last place in NWAAC’s East Region standings.

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