PULLMAN – Cody Bartlett is not having the season he would like at the plate for Washington State, yet he still found a way to affect the score Monday.
Inserted into the rubber match of a three-game Pac-10 baseball series against Stanford in the seventh inning, Bartlett scored the go-ahead run. But it was in the eighth inning, having taken the field at shortstop, that he made the game’s biggest play.
With the bases loaded and closer Ross Humes on the mound nursing a one-run lead, Bartlett stretched to his right, diving to stop a Brent Milleville grounder. Scrambling to his feet, Bartlett fired across the diamond and his throw beat Milleville to the bag by a fraction of a step, preserving the lead and, as it turned out, the win for the Cougars.
“I didn’t know if I was going to get it, but I ended up getting him,” Bartlett said. “It was one of those where you threw it and crossed your fingers. It ended up getting there.”
The 4-2 victory for WSU – Jeff Miller doubled home an insurance run – gave the Cougars a series win over Stanford, its first at Bailey-Brayton Field since 1969. It also gave Humes his 11th save, a single-season school record.
“The records come and go,” said Humes, who recorded the final five outs of the game on the heels of a standout effort by starter Jayson Miller. “It’s an honor to get that. As long as we keep winning and I keep getting saves, that’s fine.”
Wins have been hard to come by for the Cougars, who recorded just their second series win in Pac-10 play with the victory against Stanford. This was a series pitting the two teams at the bottom of the league standings, but the Cougars (23-21, 6-12 Pac-10) did well enough this weekend to move closer to the teams ahead of them while Stanford (19-26, 4-14) slid further into the basement.
This series-ender looked nothing like the normal Pac-10 affair with No. 3 starters on the hill, though. Miller went 7 1/3 innings, allowing both Stanford runs, the first on a leadoff home run by Toby Gerhart.
Miller’s counterpart, Erik Davis, was even better until the latter innings. Davis retired the first two hitters in all seven innings he pitched, but a three-run rally in the seventh with two outs gave WSU the runs it needed to win.
“He was doing something special with that fastball or changeup,” Cougars coach Donnie Marbut said of Davis. “We weren’t making good contact off him.”
But the late rally was enough to score a second consecutive conference win, and to do it in style.
“Usually (series-enders) are all about the offense,” Humes said. “Guys start to get a little tired. But I knew (Jayson) was going to go out there and throw great and he did. He held us in there and eventually we got the win.”