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Spring break road trips are supposed to take college students to exotic locales, which is exactly what’s happening to the members of the Gonzaga University baseball team. Of course, you would have to consider Shreveport, La.; Lubbock, Texas; and San Antonio “exotic.”
Utah avoided a sweep and sent Washington State to its first loss of the season with a 5-1 non-league baseball victory Sunday at Bailey-Brayton Field in Pullman. Rick Anton pitched seven solid innings for the Utes (6-5), who lost the first three games of the series.
The start itself is impressive, but how Washington State University began the 2010 baseball season is even more so. The Cougars returned from Lubbock, Texas, with a 6-0 record, their best start since the 1988 team won its first nine games. WSU swept the four-game Brooks Wallace Memorial Classic at Texas Tech without two of its top three starting pitchers.
Washington State scored its most runs in 11 years in a 23-0 win over Seattle University on Sunday in Pullman. Fifteen Cougars collected hits and five pitchers combined on the shutout for WSU (2-0). The Cougars pounded out 23 hits as a team, and the 23 runs were the most they’ve scored since putting up 23 against New Mexico State in 1999.
Late winter, when a young man’s fancy turns to … baseball? It seems to be the case, as the local Division I college baseball season opens this weekend, with Washington State hosting Seattle today and Gonzaga in Tucson, Ariz., for the Cactus Classic.
Unlike the past two years, the weather is cooperating as the Inland Northwest’s college baseball teams begin preparations for the 2010 season. “Hopefully it will continue, knock on wood,” said Gonzaga coach Mark Machtolf, whose Bulldogs officially begin defense of their West Coast Conference title with their first practice Tuesday.
OMAHA, Neb. – LSU, which two years ago wasn’t good enough to qualify for its conference tournament, is the best team in college baseball again. The Tigers won their sixth national title Wednesday night, breaking open Game 3 of the College World Series championship series with a five-run sixth inning that carried them to an 11-4 victory over Texas.
OMAHA, Neb. – Freshman Taylor Jungmann limited LSU to five hits in his first complete game, and Russell Moldenhauer hit his record-tying fourth home run of the College World Series as Texas evened the best-of-3 finals, 5-1 over LSU on Tuesday night. The top-seeded Longhorns (50-15-1) forced a winner-take-all game tonight for the national championship. LSU (55-17), ranked No. 1 in the major polls, lost for the first time in 15 games.
FULLERTON, Calif. – There was disappointment over the end of a season and sorrow over failing to be one of the last two teams standing in the Fullerton Regional. Yet Gonzaga’s baseball squad also knows that Sunday’s 9-7 loss to Utah doesn’t have to produce a crestfallen view of the 2009 season. These Bulldogs, picked to finish fourth in the West Coast Conference, exceeded a lot of expectations by reaching an NCAA baseball regional for the first time since 1981. Not long after the final out was recorded, the accomplishments of a highly successful season were already being merged with Sunday’s disappointing conclusion to the 36-18 campaign.
NORMAN, Okla. — The Norman Regional ended the way it began for Washington State. With a rocky outing from its bullpen.
NORMAN, Okla. – Washington State ace Matt Way came through with a pitching performance to remember in the opening game of the NCAA baseball tournament’s Norman Regional. Unfortunately for WSU, the outing from its bullpen was one to forget.
They are talented, tough-minded and, in most cases, battle-tested. They arrive each workday knowing their challenge is monstrous and their margin for error minuscule. They are the “Friday Night Guys” of college baseball, the pitchers who climb the mound – usually on Friday nights – for the tone-setting opening game of every crucial weekend series. And if you don’t have a good one, you’ve probably already put the bats and balls away until next spring.
The happy residue of both Gonzaga and Washington State picking this as their year to return to the NCAA baseball tournament after an extended hiatus is probability taking a beating all the way around. The Zags haven’t been in the Diamond Dance since 1981, the Cougs since 1990. So this is a convergence of the unlikely, and among the small wonderments nudging the story along are the cases of Jay Ponciano and Tyson Van Winkle.
Knowing they were already one of the 64 teams in the 2009 NCAA Division I baseball championship field took much of the suspense out of Monday morning’s television viewing for the Gonzaga Bulldogs. Still, the Zags couldn’t help but expel a collective cheer – tinged with both relief and excitement – upon learning they will head to Fullerton, Calif., later this week to take on Georgia Southern in the opening round of one of 16 four-team NCAA Regionals scattered across the country.
PULLMAN – When you haven’t even been on the road to Omaha for 19 years, it doesn’t really matter where the first stop is. But when the Washington State University Cougars found out Monday morning their first NCAA Division I baseball tournament since 1990 would start in Norman, Okla., against the Arkansas Razorbacks, their celebration went up a notch.
The publicity photo you never see is the one snapped in April with the baseball diamonds at either Gonzaga or Washington State freshly blanketed in white after an out-of-left-field snowstorm. As a recruiting come-on, it’s more of a chase-away. A bat rack is no place for a scoop shovel.
Jay Ponciano’s RBI single in the ninth inning capped Washington State’s rally from a four-run deficit in the Cougars’ 7-6 win over No. 25 Oregon State on Sunday in Corvallis, Ore. The Cougars (28-22, 16-8 Pac-10) won two of three games from the Beavers.
Gonzaga University’s Mark Machtolf and Washington State’s Donnie Marbut both had reasons for concern when their teams’ college baseball schedules were finalized over the winter – especially with the way their league seasons were to play out. Machtolf’s Bulldogs were looking at playing four of their first five three-game series against West Coast Conference foes on the road. Marbut’s Cougars were facing a similar challenge, having to go on the road to play three of their first five series against Pacific-10 Conference opponents.
Shea Vucinich homered and drove in three runs as Washington State beat USC 6-4 on Sunday in Los Angeles for a 2-1 win in the Pac-10 baseball series. The Cougars (21-18, 10-5 Pac-10) are in sole possession of second place in the conference.
Washington State won its fourth consecutive baseball game, scoring six times in the seventh inning Tuesday in a 13-8 non-conference win over Utah in Salt Lake City. Senior Greg Lagreid had a career night with four hits and five RBIs for the Cougars (19-16).