PULLMAN – Washington State’s Grant Taylor delivered a career performance in his final start of the 2022 season, tossing a complete-game shutout against one of the Pac-12 Conference’s top lineups.
The Cougars’ right-handed sophomore ace allowed only two hits – both singles – and two walks, striking out seven across 133 pitches to guide WSU to a 2-0 win over Arizona State on Thursday at Bailey-Brayton Field.
Taylor faced 29 batters – two more than the minimum. He retired the first nine and final nine Sun Devils batters, and threw fewer than 15 pitches in each of the last four innings in a contest that lasted less than 2½ hours.
“When a pitcher says, ‘Give me one more,’ you say, ‘Here’s the ball,’ ” WSU coach Brian Green said. “Those are really fun things to be a part of when players are confident like that.”
“He went out and backed it up. He wasn’t emotional. He stayed with the process and against a really, really good Arizona State offense – very impressive.”
ASU (25-27, 13-14), a top-four offense in the Pac-12 in most stat categories, never had multiple batters on base. The Sun Devils struggled to generate solid contact and popped out 15 times.
A four-hit fourth inning was all the Cougars’ offense needed to back Taylor in the program’s first CG shutout victory in four years. Junior DH Jacob McKeon scored Bryce Matthews with a double down the left-field line – McKeon’s 31st hit in his past 19 games – and senior outfielder Justin Van De Brake sent McKeon home shortly after with a single to right.
WSU managed eight hits, two in the fifth. But the Cougs left men stranded on the corners in that inning.
The teams meet again Friday at 4 p.m. and Saturday at noon. ASU has clinched a spot in next week’s eight-team Pac-12 Tournament in Scottsdale, Arizona. The Cougars had been on a roll over the past month, but they were swept by UCLA last weekend and knocked out of postseason contention.
Taylor didn’t make it out of the second inning in a 10-1 loss to the Bruins on Saturday.
“Just knowing I didn’t put a lot of stress on my arm last week and knowing that my mechanics are fine, pitches were fine – it was just mentality,” Taylor said. “I took that into consideration, just knowing I had a short turnaround. So, the biggest thing for me was intent with my pitches, and I got after it today.”
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