Cougars head to Eugene for Pac-12 series at Oregon - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Cougars head to Eugene for Pac-12 series at Oregon

Photo: WSU Athletics Photo: WSU Athletics
By Washington State Athletics
WASHINGTON STATE (8-15, 3-6 Pac-12) at OREGON (16-11, 3-6 Pac-12)
Eugene, Ore. | PK Park (4,000) | April 6-8, 2018
Friday, 6 p.m. | Saturday, 2 p.m. | Sunday, Noon
 
PROBABLE STARTERS
Isaac Mullins | RS-SO | LHP | 0-2, 4.91 ERA, 19 K, 22.0 IP vs. Matt Mercer | JR | RHP | 3-2, 2.53 ERA, 41 K, 42.2 IP
Scotty Sunitsch | SR | LHP | 2-1, 3.86 ERA, 21 K, 32.2 IP vs. Kenyon Yovan | SO | RHP | 2-1, 5 SV, 2.63 ERA, 40 K, 27.1 IP
Cody Anderson | SR | LHP | 1-5, 5.29 ERA, 26 K, 34.0 IP vs. Kolby Somers | FR | LHP | 1-3, 3.16 ERA, 20 K, 25.2 IP

COUGARS HEAD TO EUGENE FOR WEEKEND SERIES AGAINST OREGON
Washington State resumes Pac-12 Conference play with a three-game series at Oregon beginning Friday at 6 p.m., continuing Saturday at 2 p.m. and concluding Sunday at Noon.
 
FOLLOW ALONG
Follow all the season's action on the Washington State baseball official twitter page @CougBaseball, instagram page @Coug_Baseball and wsucougars.com. Links to live stats and radio streams will be available at the baseball schedule page on wsucougars.com. Every home game will be webstreamed through wsucougars.com. 
 
ON DECK
The Cougars return to Bailey-Brayton Field for a three-game series with California beginning next Friday.
 
LAST TIME OUT
Robert Teel hit a go-ahead home run in the eighth inning for a 4-3 win over Gonzaga at Bailey-Brayton Field Tuesday. Teel led off the inning with his first career homer, an opposite-field solo shot to right field and Ryan Walker closed it out with a perfect ninth inning for his third save. WSU used eight pitchers and received two-hit games from Justin Harrer and Ryan Ramsower. Harrer hit his team-leading fifth home run, a two-run shot in the first, and  reliever Collin Maier picked up his first WSU win after getting the final out in the eighth inning.
 
LAST WEEKEND
Washington State took out of three from visiting Arizona State last weekend, clinching its first series win over the Sun Devils since 2013 and first series win over ASU in Pullman since 2010. The Cougars used a Justin Harrer 10th-inning walkoff homer to win Thursday and Danny Sinatro's walkoff RBI-single to claim Friday's game. ASU starter Eli Lingos posted a six-hit shutout Saturday to avoid the sweep.
 
ABOUT WASHINGTON STATE
Winners in four of their last six, Washington State enters the weekend with an 8-15 mark after beating Gonzaga 5-3 Tuesday and 3-6 in Pac-12 Conference play after posting a 2-1 series win over Arizona State last weekend. in Pullman. Offensively the Cougars are led by outfielder Blake Clanton's .311 batting average while JJ Hancock adds a .295 batting average to go along with five doubles. Justin Harrer paces the club with five homers and 14 RBI. Head coach Marty Lees is in his third season at Washington State.
 
WSU-OREGON SERIES HISTORY
Washington State leads the all-time series with Oregon 152-127-1 after taking last season's series 2-1 in Pullman.  Last year, rain cancelled Friday's opener and forced a doubleheader Saturday. The Ducks claimed the opener but JJ Hancock gave the Cougars a game two win with a walk-off RBI-single in the ninth. In Sunday's finale, WSU rallied from a 5-0 deficit with a run in the seventh and three in the eighth before Justin Harrer clinched the series with a walk-off two-run double down the left field line for a 6-5 win. The Ducks own a 69-66-1 mark against the Cougars in Eugene and have won the last two series at PK Park. WSU is looking for its first series win in Eugene since taking two of three in 2012.
 
COUGARS AMONG LEAGUE LEADERS DURING PAC-12 PLAY
Washington State enters the fourth week of Pac-12 Conference play ranked among the league leaders in a couple categories. Through nine Pac-12 games, the Cougar offense is tied for first in triples (3), third in home runs (7) fourth in hits (82) and fifth in slugging percentage (.394) and the pitching owns the fifth-most strikeouts (61). Defensively, WSU leads all Pac-12 teams with 12 double plays turned and is tied for second in fielding percentage (.982). Individually in conference play, JJ Hancock is sixth in batting average (.394) and fifth in hits (13) while Justin Harrer shares the lead in home runs (4) and is tied for fifth in RBI (8).
 
BY THE NUMBERS IN 2018
18 - Ryan Walker retired 18 consecutive batters over a span of three appearances, at UCLA, at Arizona, ASU
12 - WSU had 12 comeback wins in 2017, including in each of the first seven wins of the season
12 - WSU has played 12 one-run games in 2018 and posted an 8-4 record
10 - JJ Hancock enters the Oregon series having reached base in 10 straight games
9 - WSU has seen 9 pitchers make their WSU debuts in 2018 including 6 true freshmen
8 - WSU's 8 wins in 2018 have all been by one run
6 - WSU owns 6 comeback wins in 2018 including three of walkoff variety
6 - WSU owns 6 last at-bat wins in 2018 including both wins over Arizona State and Tuesday vs. Gonzaga
5 - Wyatt Segle had 5 hits against UC Riverside in Tempe (2/18), WSU's 5-hit game since Adam Nelubowich in 2013
1 - WSU handed Arizona its first home loss of the 2018 season March 24, UA had won its first 10 home games
 
RECORD BOOK WATCH (PAGE 6)
Senior lefthander Scotty Sunitsch put his name in a couple WSU career Top-10 lists last season while senior righty Ryan Walker has also worked his way on to the record book. Sunitsch enters the weekend with 77 career appearances, good for fourth in WSU history while Walker moved into the Top-10 a couple weeks ago and now owns 73, good for 9th in school history. Sunitsch also owns nine career saves, tied for ninth in WSU history while Walker's moved into a tie with Sunitsch after notching his ninth career save in Tuesday's win over Gonzaga. Walker, who recorded three wins in relief last season to push his career relief wins total to nine, added a relief win against UC Riverside opening weekend and picked up another with four shutout innings last Thursday against Arizona State, clinching No. 11 of his career, fourth-most in WSU history. 
 
COMEBACK KIDS AT IT AGAIN IN 2018 (Page 5)
After posting 12 comeback wins in 2017, the Cougars have tallied six comeback wins including a pair of walkoff wins last weekend against Arizona State. The Cougars trailed UC Riverside 6-1 in the Husker Classic finale before tallying two runs in the seventh and four more in the eighth behind a pair of two-out two-run singles from JJ Hancock and Cal Waterman with Waterman's proving to be the game-winner. WSU added another win in its final at-bat at Grand Canyon, breaking a 4-4 tied with a run in the ninth inning for a 5-4 road win. The Cougars added another one against Saint Mary's (3/8), erasing Saint Mary's 6-3 lead with Dillon Plew's three-run double in the seventh inning before WSU scored the winning run in the 11th inning after a Saint Mary's throwing error. The Cougars added another two days later, trailing 1-0 in the first inning before a pair of solo homers games clinched a 2-1 win against the Gaels. Last weekend against Arizona State, the Cougars erased a 4-0 second-inning deficit with a six-run second inning and later won in the 10th on Justin Harrer's solo homer. The very next night, the Cougars erased a 1-0 first-inning deficit with two runs in the first later walked off on ASU again, this time on Danny Sinatro's 11th-inning RBI-single. Tuesday against Gonzaga, the tied the game with a Collin Montez RBI-sacrifice fly in the seventh inning and Robert Teel hit a go-ahead homer in the eighth inning that proved to be the game winner in a 4-3 victory.
 
COUGS TURN FIRST TRIPLE PLAY SINCE 1999
In WSU's 2-1 win over Saint Mary's March 10, the Cougars turned their first triple play since 1999. Saint Mary's had runners on first and second with nobody out. SMC popped up a bunt attempt that catcher Cal Waterman dove for and caught. He jumped to his feet and fired to James Rudkin at first base to double-off the runner for the second out and Rudkin then fired to Andres Alvarez at second base to get the runner at second base for the final out. It was WSU's first triple play since doing to so at Arizona State (4/11/99).
 
NOTES FROM SERIES AGAINST ARIZONA STATE
Washington State used a pair of walkoffs to take the first two games of the series against Arizona State in Pullman last weekend. Justin Harrer's solo homer to lead off the 10th inning gave WSU an 8-7 win and Danny Sinatro's RBI-single in the 11th inning gave the Cougars a 4-3 win Friday. ASU starter Eli Lingos fired a six-hit shutout to avoid the sweep Saturday. Washington clinched its first series over Arizona State since 2013 and first series win over the Sun Devils in Pullman since 2010. JJ Hancock led the Cougars hitting .400 with three runs scored including Friday's game-winning run in the 11th. Hancock also threw out a runner at the plate from right field in the ninth inning for Friday's win.
 
NOTES FROM SERIES AT ARIZONA
WSU dropped two of three in Tucson, taking Saturday's game 5-4 after scoring five runs in the first inning and received a dominating relief appearance from Ryan Walker who retired all eight batters he faced. The senior righthander entered the game with one out and the bases loaded in the seventh, he retired the next two hitters, worked a 1-2-3 eighth before striking out the side in the ninth. In Friday's opener, the Cougars cut the Arizona lead to one with four runs in the eighth inning. WSU put the tying run on second in the ninth inning but the runner was thrown out at third to end the game after trying to advance on a ball in the dirt. In Sunday's finale, Arizona scored four in the first and three more in the second inning and never looked back despite WSU getting three hits from JJ Hancock including a solo homer.
 
NOTES FROM PAC-12 OPENING SERIES AT NO. 14 UCLA
Washington State was in position to take a series at No. 14 UCLA after owning leads in the eighth inning of the final two games but the Bruins rallied in both games to record a series sweep. Offensively the Cougars were led by outfielder Justin Harrer who homered in all three games, twice over the batter's eye in centerfield. Outfielder/designated hitter Blake Clanton posted a team-high .462 batting average after recording two hits in all three games including a solo home run in the Saturday game. In Friday's opener, WSU led 3-0 in the third inning before UCLA scored three in the third and three more in the sixth for a 6-3 lead. In the ninth, Harrer homered and the Cougars added another run before popping out to end the game with the tying run on second. Saturday, WSU saw Harrer and Clanton go back-to-back as part of a five-run third inning and the Cougars took a 5-4 lead into the eighth. UCLA scored four times in the eighth and WSU brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth but lined into a double play to end the game. Sunday, the Cougars took a 4-3 into the eighth where UCLA used a two-out two-run single to post a 5-4 win.
 
COUGARS SPLIT SERIES WITH SAINT MARY'S
Washington State's initial home-opening series set for the first weekend of March against Sacramento State was cancelled due to weather. The Cougars instead waited a week to play in Bailey-Brayton Field, splitting a four-game series with Saint Mary's. WSU came back to win Thursday's opener 7-6 in 11 innings, scoring the winning run on a SMC throwing error. Friday, Saint Mary's benefitted from a ninth-inning baserunner interference call against WSU, taking the Cougars game-tying run off the board an instead giving the Gaels a game-ending 6-4-3 double play. Saturday, WSU received seven solid innings from Scotty Sunitsch and a pair of solo home runs from James Rudkin and Blake Clanton for a 2-1 win. In Sunday's finale, SMC used their own strong starting pitching performance to hold WSU to one run and three hits for a 3-1 win. 
 
WSU NOTCHES ROAD WIN AT GRAND CANYON
WSU scored the go-ahead run to break a 4-4 tie in the ninth inning and posted a 5-4 victory at Grand Canyon. The Cougars beat an Antelope team who took a game from No. 7 TCU and claimed the WAC regular season title in 2017. Dillon Plew recorded three hits and scored two runs including the go-ahead run in the ninth after starting the inning with a triple. Justin Harrer drove in Plew with two outs in the ninth with a single through the left side. Senior James Rudkin added two hits and an RBI and Nick Strange earned the win by getting the final five outs.
 
NOTES FROM OPENING WEEKEND
Washington State went 1-3 the opening weekend of 2018 and received a couple impressive performances along the way. Junior first basemen/designated hitter Wyatt Segle recorded a hit in all four games capped by a 5-for-5 performance in the comeback win over UC Riverside. Segle was the first Cougar to notch a five-hit game since Adam Nelubowich did so against UCLA in 2013. Segle finished the weekend 8-for-13 for a team-best .615 batting average. Junior shortstop Andres Alvarez recorded multiple-hits in each of the final three games including a three-hit game against Nebraska. Sophomore centerfielder Danny Sinatro recorded his first career three-hit game in the win over UC Riverside and stole three bases throughout the weekend. On the mound, redshirt-sophomore Isaac Mullins struck out a career-high seven in five innings against UC Riverside on opening day and senior Scotty Sunitsch had six strikeouts in six innings against Nebraska. Senior reliever Ryan Walker was dominant in his only appearance, striking out four in 2.2 scoreless innings of the win over UC Riverside.
 
COUGARS LOOKING FOR MORE IN 2018
WSU returned eight starters from its 2017 lineup and two pitchers from its final weekend rotation. Last season, the Cougars upped their win total from a season ago and posted four straight Pac-12 Conference series wins in a 24-29 campaign including a 10-20 mark in league play. In year two under head coach Marty Lees, the Cougars recorded its highest batting average, scored the most runs and hit the most home runs since 2013 while posting the fourth-most doubles (105) in the Pac-12, the most since 2012. Washington State won four straight conference series for the first time since 1995, claiming series against No. 30 Washington, at Utah, Oregon and No. 28 UCLA. The Cougars played well at Bailey-Brayton Field in 2017, posting a 20-10 mark for the best home record since the 2010 team went 20-5.
 
COUGARS SELECT FIVE CAPTAINS FOR 2018
Washington State debut team captains for the first time under head coach Marty Lees in 2018."It was time for a leadership council to lead this team," said Lees, who enters his third-year leading the Cougs. After a team vote, the five leaders chosen were; senior left-handed pitcher Cody Anderson, senior outfielder Derek Chapman, senior left-handed pitcher Scotty Sunitsch, junior infielder Andres Alvarez, and senior outfielder Blake Clanton
 
COUGAR BASEBALL ON WASHINGTON STATE IMG RADIO
This season, 36 games will be broadcast on the Washington State IMG Network and every radio broadcast will be available through the WSU Gameday App via TuneIn and on KQQQ (1150 AM) in Pullman. There will also be select games broadcast on KXLY (920 AM) in Spokane and games will be available on KONA (610 AM) in Tri-Cities. Included in the 36 broadcasts are all 30 Pac-12 Conference contests and all three meetings against Gonzaga University. Matt Chazanow enters his third season calling Cougar Baseball and will be joined in the booth by former Cougar All-American and Major Leaguer Mike Kinkade who will serve as an analyst for select home games in 2017. Kinkade played at Washington State from 1992-95, earned All-America honors as a junior and finished his WSU career the all-time leader in hits, runs scored and doubles and went on to play six seasons in the big leagues with the Mets, Orioles and Dodgers. He was inducted into the WSU Hall of Fame in 2017.
 
BAILEY-BRAYTON FIELD GETS NEW ASTROTURF FOR 2018
Thsi past summer, Bailey-Brayton Field received AstroTurf's state-of-the-art Diamond Series playing surface, replacing the FieldTurf that was installed in 2004. The infield FieldTurf was replaced in 2013. "We are very excited that WSU Athletics made the decision to add new turf for the first phase of the renovations for our baseball program," WSU Head Coach Marty Lees said. "Steve Webb of Coast to Coast Turf oversaw the installation who is a former Coug who played on this field so we know we are in great hands! We are looking forward to playing on one of the country's premiere playing surfaces at Bailey-Brayton Field." For this synthetic turf system, the infield "grass" portion of the field is comprised of a combination of advanced fibers that mimic the look, feel, and playability of natural grass. Base paths, warning tracks, and batter's box all feature a proprietary fiber blend of shorter pile height that accurately emulates clay. All of the elements of the playing surface have been engineered for optimal ball bounce, ball roll, underfoot feel, and durability for the specific part of the baseball diamond in which they are installed.  A special feature called the RootZone acts like a net to encapsulate the sand and rubber and to reduce its splash for more natural hops. AstroTurf is used at approximately 80 percent of all Division I synthetic baseball fields including The Ohio State, Vanderbilt, Michigan and Oklahoma.
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