Cougars hit four homers to take opener from Utah, 14-5 - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Cougars hit four homers to take opener from Utah, 14-5

Photo: WSU Athletics Photo: WSU Athletics

By Washington State Athletics

PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State hit four home runs to post a 14-5 victory over Utah in the series-opener at Bailey-Brayton Field Thursday afternoon.
 
The Cougars (16-31-1, 8-19-1 Pac-12) recorded season highs in runs and home runs and four players recorded multiple-hit games. James Rudkin, Blake Clanton, Justin Harrer and JJ Hancock each homered and reliever Ryan Walker fired three scoreless innings to earn the win. Walker made his 86th career appearance, tied for second-most in WSU history, and recorded 13th career relief win, tied for the school record. Utah dropped to 14-39 overall and 6-22 in league play.
 
In the first inning, Dillon Plew and Blake Clanton each worked walks before Justin Harrer drove an 0-2 pitch the other way into right field to score Plew for a 1-0 lead.
 
In the third inning, Plew led off the inning with a walk and later scored on James Rudkin's RBI-double into the right centerfield gap. Clanton followed by pulling a single through the right side to scored Rudkin for a 3-0 advantage.
 
In the fourth, Utah used a two-run homer to cut the lead to one and added another homer to lead off the fifth inning, tying the game at three. The Utes used four more hits in the inning to push two runs across for a 5-3 advantage.
 
In the bottom of the fifth, Andres Alvarez was hit by a pitch and Rudkin followed with a two-run shot to left centerfield to tie the game at five. One batter later, Harrer beat out an infield single to shortstop and Hancock hammered a 1-1 pitch over the right field fence for a 7-5 advantage.
 
In the seventh, the Cougars used the long ball as Clanton and Harrer went back-to-back for the second time this season. WSU picked up two more runs with a Danny Sinatro RBI-single and another run scored on a wild pitch for an 11-5 lead.
 
In the eighth, WSU added three more runs after a Hancock two-run double to centerfield and an RBI-groundout from pinch-hitter Derek Chapman.
 
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Blake Clanton walked in the 1st inning, extending his on-base streak to 13 games
Ryan Walker made his 86th career appearance, tying Kellen Camus (2011-14) for 2nd-most in WSU history
Walker recorded his 13th career relief victory, tied for the WSU record
Clanton and Harrer hit back-to-back home runs in the seventh inning, the second time they have hit back-to-back homers this season (at UCLA, 3/17)
Clanton hit his 10th homer of the season, becoming the first Cougar to record double digit home runs and doubles since Taylor Ard had 12 homers and 16 doubles
WSU upped its season home run total 36, the most since 2010 (45)

COMING UP
The series continues Friday at 4 p.m. on the Pac-12 Network.

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