PULLMAN – Hoping to save its bullpen for the rest of a critical three-game series, Washington State needed its ace, Joe Pistorese, to be at the top of his game. Pistorese delivered, and then some, throwing a five-hit shutout to give the Cougars a 3-0 victory.
He kept Cal off balance, mixing a curveball with his fastball early in the game and then introducing a slider later to finish with five strikeouts.
It was Washington State’s first complete-game shutout against a Pac-12 opponent since Kyle Kawabata did it against Washington on April 15, 1995.
“I’d like to say I don’t think about it, but I was definitely hunting it out,” Pistorese said.
“I think I got to the seventh – in the fifth inning I was just going to take it one inning at a time, but by the time the seventh rolled around I wanted it.”
With the win the Cougars (13-13, 4-3 Pac-12) take sole possession of sixth place in the conference.
The Cougars wasted no time giving Pistorese all the offense he would need, scoring a run on back-to-back doubles from Trek Stemp and Yale Rosen in the first inning.
Cal second baseman Brenden Farney committed a fielding error and throwing error later in the inning to put Ben Roberts on base and score Rosen.
Farney committed a third error in the seventh inning.
Stemp gave the Cougars some unnecessary insurance when he scored in the third after Nick Tanielu ground into a fielder’s choice after singles by Stemp and Rosen.
Rosen was Washington State’s star offensively, going 3 for 3 to up his average to .383. He also drew an intentional walk, stole a base and made a diving catch in left field to give Pistorese some defensive support.
After a four-game backslide to end March, the Cougars have won four in a row.
“I think we’re having a lot more fun,” Rosen said.
“Inside the dugout, outside on the field, we’re all laughing and having a good time so it makes things easier.”