A GRIP ON SPORTS • As we sit and write, we can hear the rain hitting the roof, the deck, the driveway. The rhythm is almost musical, sometimes Led Zeppelin-like, other times something from a Gershwin tune. The soundtrack of late spring in Spokane.
• What else is on the agenda, other than sitting and listening to the falling rain? We thought we would answer some questions. Not ones from anyone in particular. Just ones we’ve thought of ourselves.
• Are the M’s turning it around?
The latest road trip has started fine, what with a series win in Baltimore and last night’s 4-3, come-from-behind victory at Texas. Good for them. But remember, Baltimore is one of the worst teams in baseball and the Rangers, though improved, still has more holes than a teenager’s new jeans. Let’s talk after the next road series ends.
That’s in Houston. The Astros are running away with the A.L. West again and have served as the M’s Public Enemy No. 1 for years now.
• What the heck happened with the West Coast’s college baseball teams yesterday?
The bottom line? They didn’t play well. Gonzaga threw their first-team All-American, Gabriel Hughes, and Columbia battered him en route to an 8-2 victory. Now the Zags will have to battle through the loser’s bracket in the Virginia Tech-hosted regional.
But GU was not alone. Only second-overall seed Stanford rolled to an easy win. WCC tournament champion USD and third-seeded Oregon State won by a run. Every other West Coast team lost, from UC Santa Barbara to UCLA, from Oregon to … well, that’s it. Arizona didn’t play as a near-hurricane hovers over Miami. We forgot only eight West Coast schools are among the 64, so the 3-4 first-day mark wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
• What will Gonzaga do if Real Madrid wing Baba Miller announces Monday he’s going to become a Zag? After all, GU’s roster already has its full compliment of 13 scholarship players. How is there room?
There is always room. Maybe someone decides to transfer. Or someone is unable to play anymore due to injury and, while continuing to have a scholarship, doesn’t play and doesn’t count against the NCAA-mandated allotment.
If Miller wants to play in Spokane and the Bulldogs want him, room will be made.
• Can Kyle Smith restock the Cougar roster?
Yes. He already is. Washington State announced yesterday 6-foot-9 French forward Maël Hamon-Crespin has signed with the school. The 17-year-old, along with other freshman-to-be, Adrame Diongue, will help the Cougars fill the inside holes created when two of last year’s bigs, Efe Abogidi and Mouhamed Gueye decided to enter the transfer portal.
And don’t forget, Gueye, who is only going to be a sophomore, may still return.
WSU: We have a link to the official release about Hamon-Crespin to pass along. … Elsewhere in the Pac-12 and college sports, Jon Wilner has a mailbag in the Mercury News this morning. … As we mentioned above, Oregon State barely got past New Mexico State in Corvallis. … Oregon fell to Michigan in the opening round of the NCAA baseball tournament. … UCLA struggled and lost to Florida State. … At the softball World Series, UCLA stayed alive by defeating Northwestern. … Arizona did as well, moving on at the expense of Oregon State, 3-1. The Beavers were able to get their young roster a taste of what Oklahoma City is like. … The Utah football program is becoming nationally known.
Gonzaga: There was more news from GU yesterday, including a report on when the Zags will meet Washington next season. Theo Lawson has that story. … Jim Meehan has the story on former walk-on Will Graves transferring to Southern Oregon for his senior season. … Malachi Smith bet on himself a couple times recently and that’s led, finally, to Spokane. This Athletic story tells about his journey and the woman who accompanied him from a distance. … In baseball, we linked the story on the Zags loss and Gabriel Hughes’ All-American honor above. … Former Gonzaga assistant Tommy Lloyd agreed to a new contract that gives him another $1 million per year. Jim has that story as well. … Around the WCC, BYU participated in the Big 12’s spring meetings, which seems a little weird. … The Cougars have a new face on their roster for their final WCC basketball season.
EWU and Idaho: Around the Big Sky, more details are available about the victim in a 2017 murder in which an Idaho State football assistant is implicated.
LCSC: The Warriors, who used to win the NAIA World Series regularly, were back in the finals this week. But in a Lewiston title game spread over two days due to lightning and rain, they fell to Southeastern University 11-5.
Indians: No game Friday in Canada. The rain, en route to Spokane, stopped in Vancouver and washed it away. A doubleheader is scheduled for today.
Mariners: Eugenio Suarez drove a high fastball into the right-field seats in the ninth inning last night, lifting the M’s to a 4-3 win over Texas. … Julio Rodriguez had the best month of May of any American League rookie.
Storm: The offense decided to take the night off. Thus, Seattle lost. It was that simple.
• We planted some grass seed in a couple bare spots out front earlier this week. Usually, we have to nurture them with loving attention. Not this week. The sky took care of the watering, our No. 1 concern. Now we just need the sun to return to complete the process. Maybe next week. Until later …