Washington State needed its firemen to douse Arizona’s red-hot bats, stifling the Wildcats for a 5-3 win on Saturday and ideally cooling them off long enough to secure a fifth consecutive series win today in Pullman.
The Wildcats rolled into town on Friday fresh off a Tuesday win over No. 10 Arizona State in which they scored 17 runs, and reeled off another 14 in a series-opening romp over WSU.
Saturday, WSU (25-20, 8-12 Pac-12) trotted out staff ace Joe Pistorese (6-4, 2.70 ERA), dependable middle reliever Sam Triece and closer Ian Hamilton, who fanned a pair in the ninth to pick up his 11th save this season and 26th of his career, extending his school record.
“With Joe starting, as an offense we know we’ve just got to put up a couple runs and we’ll be pretty solid,” said Ben Roberts, who had a double and triple.
WSU has won its last four series, with three of those coming against Pac-12 opponents, and will have a chance to make it a fifth with a win over the Wildcats today. Though the Cougars have yet to sweep a conference opponent, their ability to bounce back from losses has been impressive for a team relying heavily on freshmen.
Freshmen like third baseman Shane Matheny, who manned the hot corner so well on Saturday that coach Donnie Marbut said “He kind of won the game for us,” despite Matheny not collecting a hit.
While he and fellow freshman Jack Strunc had a few error-prone weeks defensively recently, those learning experiences seem to be paying off.
“You look at players and you think they can be special, and we think Shane can be special,” Marbut said. “He was going through a deal and you’re in the best conference in the country and you’re a freshman, he was going through all those types of things.”
The Cougars scored in the first inning when Roberts smacked a ball that fell between UA’s center and left fielders, bouncing to the wall and scoring Derek Chapman as Roberts slid into third base. Ian Sagdal followed with a single to score Roberts.
The Wildcats (26-18, 10-13) tied the game at three apiece in the top of the seventh with two outs when Pistorese fielded a grounder and fired it to first base, hitting the back of Justin Behnke, who likely would have been out with a better throw. Jared Olivia, who got aboard with an RBI double, scored on the play.
But the Cougars regained their lead in the bottom of the inning as Shea Donlin singled up the middle to score Matheny and Sagdal, and the WSU pitchers put the Wildcats bats on ice the rest of the way.
• Brandon Bailey pitched seven scoreless innings, Justin Jacobs had three hits and drove in three runs and Gonzaga topped No. 2 UCLA 6-1 in the second game of a three-game nonconference series in Los Angeles.
Bailey allowed seven hits, two walks and struck out four in improving his record to 8-4. The Bruins (32-11) and Bulldogs (21-22) play the rubber game today at 1.
• Jordan McGowan drove in seven runs and Community Colleges of Spokane (25-12, 14-10) swept Blue Mountain (13-27, 5-19) in a Northwest Athletic Conference doubleheader at Spokane Falls Community College.
McGowan hit a seventh-inning grand slam in the Sasquatch’s 12-4 win in the opener.
In the nightcap, Ryan Murkle had five hits and three RBIs and McGowan drove in three more to guide CCS to a 14-4 win.
• Travis Eckert pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings to guide Oregon State past Washington 4-1 in a Pac-12 Conference game in Seattle.
The win gave the Beavers (29-14, 12-9) a 2-1 series victory over the Huskies.
Washington (24-21, 8-16) starts a three-game set at Arizona on Friday.
Track and field
Washington State’s Bria’una Watley set a meet record in the women’s 200-meter dash at a dual meet with Washington at Husky Track in Seattle.
Watley finished in 23.35 seconds, second-best in Cougar women’s history. The previous meet record was held by WSU’s Pam Qualls, who posted a time of 23.81 in 1987.
The Washington men beat Washington State 113-50 and the Washington women claimed a 99-64 victory.
Community Colleges of Spokane (39-4, 25-1) swept Treasure Valley (17-27, 13-11) in a Northwest Athletic Conference doubleheader in Ontario, Oregon.
Katelyn Geyer had four hits and four RBIs and Berkley Fisher and Shawnee Zink each hit home runs in the Sasquatch’s 15-6 opening-game win.
In the nightcap, Alex Shuster had three hits, scored twice and drove in two runs and CCS beat the Chukars 11-3.
• Kimberlee Souza hit a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the seventh inning to give No. 20 Washington (38-13, 9-9) a 5-4 win over Oregon State (25-24, 5-17) in the opener of a three-game Pac-12 Conference series in Seattle.
Alec Martin’s two-run single in the fifth gave Moscow a 2-1 win over Lakeland in a 4A Region I game in Rathdrum.
Lakeland will host Sandpoint on Wednesday. The winner of that game will play Moscow on Saturday for a state berth.
The Lewis and Clark boys and girls edged Richland for the team title at the Inland Empire Tournament at Mead and Mt. Spokane high schools.
LC’s Luke Brittan topped Richland’s Trent Prussing 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 in No. 1 singles. The Tigers claimed the title at No. 1 doubles too, with Kyle Fager and Jacob Johnson earning a 6-0, 6-0 win over Richland’s Callum Pe and Colton Sowers.
Central Valley’s Kyra Harames claimed the girls title at No. 1 singles, beating Lind-Ritzville/Sprague’s Tracy Melville 6-1, 0-6, 6-3.
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