The Washington State Cougars found their way – as in Matt Way – to second place in the Pacific-10 Conference on Saturday night.
Way came within two outs of a complete game and Jay Ponciano and Greg Lagreid each drove in a pair of runs to propel the Cougars (23-20, 12-7) to a 5-3 victory over the Oregon Ducks (14-32, 4-15) at Bailey-Brayton Field in Pullman.
Way and Oregon starter Erik Stavert were locked in a scoreless duel until the bottom of the seventh inning.
WSU’s Shea Vucinich reached on an error by right fielder Antony Kreitz to open the inning. Vucinich advanced to second on a one-out groundout by Lagreid. Jared Prince reached base on an error by shortstop KC Serna, moving Vucinich to third. Michael Weber followed with an infield single to drive in Vucinich. Ryan Peterson was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Ponciano, who delivered a two-run single for a 3-0 lead.
WSU stretched the lead to 5-0 in the eighth. Garry Kuykendall reached on a one-out bunt single. Vucinich walked and both runners advanced on a groundout by Derek Jones. Lagreid singled up the middle to drive both runners home.
Oregon finally got to Way in the top of the ninth. Danny Pulfer singled to lead off the inning and Serna followed with a double. Paul Eshleman’s groundout scored Pulfer and Kreitz singled home Serna to make it 5-2 and end Way’s night after 116 pitches.
Seth Harvey relieved and Darrell Hunter greeted him with a single to put runners at the corners. Harvey struck out pinch-hitter Mitch Karraker, but Josh Hogan singled home Kreitz to pull the Ducks within 5-3. Harvey ended the game and picked up his second save of the season when Curtis Raulinaitis flied out to right field.
Way (7-4) allowed eight hits and struck out nine.
WSU moved a half-game ahead of third-place Oregon State.
•Elsewhere in the Pac-10: Julien Pollard’s two-out grand slam capped a six-run first inning and the Washington Huskies (22-24, 11-9) rolled to a 15-6 victory over the 25th-ranked Oregon State Beavers (29-13, 12-8) in Seattle.
Caleb Brown homered and drove in five runs to help Huskies starter Jason Erickson (4-4) even his record.
•NWAACC: The front-running Columbia Basin Hawks (41-7, 23-5) ended the postseason hopes of Community Colleges of Spokane by sweeping the Sasquatch 5-1 and 5-2 in Pasco.
CC Spokane (20-18, 12-16), which handed CBC two of its five NWAACC losses with a doubleheader sweep at home earlier in the season, finished in a three-way tie for sixth place.
Pac-10: The fourth-ranked Washington Huskies (41-10, 14-7) used a six-run first inning to breeze their way to an 11-3 victory over the 12th-ranked California Bears (35-18, 10-10) in a regular-season finale in Seattle.
Washington set a school record with a 15-1 record at Husky Softball Stadium this season. Cal handed the Huskies their only home loss on Friday. The win clinched second place in the conference for Washington – behind only UCLA.
•Region 18: The North Idaho Cardinals had three players – catcher Renae Kimbell, infielder/outfielder Lauren Maloney and OF Jessica Fagan – named to the All-Region 18 first team. Pitcher/infielder Amanda Krier and IF/OF Wailana Buchanan made the second team for NIC.
The top-seeded and host Salt Lake Bruins defeated the Southern Idaho Golden Eagles 3-1 in the Region 18 title game to advance to the NJCAA national tourney.
NIC’s Maloney was named to the all-tournament team.
•NWAACC: The Community Colleges of Spokane Sasquatch unleashed their offense in posting a 17-0, 19-1 doubleheader sweep over the Big Bend Vikings in a Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges regular-season finale in Moses Lake.
CC Spokane’s Ashley Fargher went 8 for 8 with seven RBIs on the day. Teammate Michelle Wells was 6 for 8 with a grand slam and eight RBIs, while Heather Jackson had six hits in eight at-bats.
The Sasquatch (34-9, 22-6) tied Wenatchee Valley for first place. The NWAACC tournament begins Friday in Portland.
•Division III regional: Emilee Lepp, a freshman from Colville, singled home the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning as the Linfield Wildcats (39-5) rallied to post a 2-1 victory over East Texas Baptist (39-9) in the semifinals of the West Regional in Marshall, Texas.
Fellow Linfield freshman Staci Doucette tripled home Rochelle Friend, who had reached with a one-out single, to tie the score and set the table for Lepp.
Linfield began the day by eliminating Louisiana College 4-1. Lepp went 2 for 4 and drove in a pair of runs.
Linfield will play Texas-Tyler today and must beat the Patriots twice to advance to the NCAA finals.
Track and field
Pac-10 combined: Washington State’s Kyle Schauble is in eighth place after the first day of the championship event in Eugene, Ore.
Schauble amassed 3,372 points through the first five events of the 10-event, two-day affair. WSU’s Sean Harris is 11th with 3,240 points.
Oregon’s Ashton Eaton topped the 14-man field with 4,309 points.
•Vandal Jamboree: Four WSU Cougars posted NCAA regional-qualifying marks at the event in Moscow.
Shawn Swartz won the men’s high jump – clearing 6 feet, 103/4 inches. J Hopkins won the men’s 400-meter hurdles with a time of 52.07 seconds. Christian Crain won the men’s long jump with personal-best leap of 24-1 and Alexa Huestis won the women’s pole vault – clearing 12-71/2.
Also, two Idaho Vandals had regional-qualifying efforts at the meet. Beau Whitney won the men’s discus with a toss of 170-5, while Lucas Pope cleared 16-63/4 to win the men’s pole vault.
The Vandals men’s 4x100 relay team – Sam Michener, Mike Carpenter, Dominic Schmidt and Elvie Williams – qualified for regionals with a time of 40.65. It is the first time in school history Idaho has qualified for regionals in the 4x100.
Also at the meet, the Eastern Washington Eagles had a pole vaulter – Gabe Chavez – qualify for the Big Sky Conference championships. Chavez cleared 15-7 and placed fifth. It was the Eagles’ 49th Big Sky qualifying performance this season.
•Oregon Twilight: CC Spokane’s Sean Coyle set a school record in the men’s steeplechase at Eugene.
Coyle clocked in at 9:09.15 and placed sixth.
CWU spring game: Ryan Robertson completed 10 of 16 passes for 138 yards and a touchdown to lead the White team to a 7-3 victory over the Crimson team in Central Washington’s annual Crimson vs. White Spring Game at Tomlinson Stadium in Ellensburg.
Linebacker Buddy Wood, a Riverside High School graduate, sparked the White defense with seven tackles, including three for losses.
NCAA Central Regional: Idaho Vandals freshman Kayla Mortellaro shot a 6-over-par 78 in the final round to place 27th in Columbus, Ohio.
Mortellaro finished the 54-hole tourney with a 14-over 230.
UCLA’s Maria Jose Uribe edged teammate Stephanie Kono by one stroke to win medalist honors with a 4-under 212.