PULLMAN – Washington State lost the final game of its three-game series against rival No. 30 Washington, 7-1, on Sunday afternoon. But the Cougars had already secured a badly needed series win over the Huskies, and maybe reset their season.
The team held a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the rocky results in recent weeks, which saw the Cougars lose 10 of 11 games. WSU had been close in many games, even the blowouts often being decided by one abysmal inning in the midst of several competitive ones.
On Monday, the team lost to Gonzaga in Spokane, 9-4. On Tuesday, coach Marty Lees told the group it needed to manufacture a fresh start. WSU (18-19, 4-11 Pac-12) beat Seattle U 9-4 on Wednesday, and took the first two games from the Huskies (21-16, 8-7) on Friday and Saturday to pick up its first Pac-12 series win.
“It was a great series,” Lees said. “I’ll take a series win every weekend. We’d like to see more consistency, obviously, but we made strides this weekend with consistency. I think we did grow as a team this weekend.”
The Cougars won on Friday when Cory Meyers drew a bases-loaded walk with two outs in the 11th inning to win, 5-4. On Saturday, the Cougars won 6-3 thanks to a five-run fifth inning that was keyed by Danny Sinatro’s bases-clearing triple.
Lees is relying heavily on underclassmen such as Sinatro, a freshman, whose coach says that he can be one of the country’s best center fielders as an upperclassman.
It was another freshman, Dillon Plew, who starred for the Cougars at the plate on Sunday, even though the rest of the WSU bats were quiet. Plew homered in the sixth inning for WSU’s only run while also smacking a pair of doubles.
Plew’s homer was an insufficient answer for UW’s sixth inning, which saw the Huskies score four runs on just one hit, thanks to a hit batter followed by three consecutive walks.
The Cougars will host the Zags for a rematch on Tuesday, then hope to use the momentum from the UW series to win their series at Utah. The Cougars are just 4-15 this season in games away from Bailey Brayton Field.
“We took a series from a very good team, and a well-respected team around the country,” Plew said. “The Pac-12 season is only halfway over so, never say never. We’re playing every game hard and you never know what can happen in this league.”
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