NORMAN, Okla. — Washington State got back-to-back homers from Derek Jones and Jared Prince in the sixth inning Saturday to beat Wichita State 3-2 in an NCAA regional elimination game.
The Cougars (32-24) had managed just one hit through the first five innings against Jordan Cooper before coming through in the sixth. They will play another elimination game Sunday afternoon against either Oklahoma or Arkansas.
Wichita State winds up 30-27 despite a strong performance by Cooper (8-6), who pitched a complete game. The right-hander gave up just three hits and tied his career high with 10 strikeouts.
Chad Arnold (8-3) went 7 1/3 innings for the victory. Two relievers helped the Cougars get out of the eighth and Jeremy Johnson pitched the ninth inning for his 10th save. He got Cody Lassley to hit a blooper to second baseman Michael Weber for the final out with a runner at second.
Washington State didn’t get a runner into scoring position in the first five innings and Cooper struck out five out of six during one stretch. He started the sixth by getting Garry Kuykendall to ground out, then walked Jay Ponciano on four pitches before Jones hit his 12th homer of the season. Prince followed with a homer to left.
Arnold, a sophomore, gave up six hits and struck out 10, a career high. He allowed two hits in the seventh after his team had given him the 3-1 lead, but he also struck out the side to get out of trouble. He gave up a leadoff homer to Ryan Jones in the eighth and was removed after striking out Clinton McKeever and getting behind 2-0 on Chris O’Brien.
O’Brien wound up walking but Adam Conley struck out Ryan Engrav. Connor Lambert them came on and got Josh Rosecrans to fly out and end the inning.
Jones had the Shockers’ other RBI, a sacrifice fly in the third inning. Wichita State took advantage of an infield error and a wild pitch on a strikeout to score the unearned run.
The come-from-behind victory was Washington State’s 17th of the season.