Baseball

Cougs Take 3 of 4 in Season-Opening Series Against UC Davis

Game 1 – Final Score: WSU 11- 1 UC Davis

 A strong outing from Junior SP Zane Mills helped propel a blowout win in the season-opener. UC Davis came out of the first inning up 1-0, but that is all they were able to manage off of Mills and company.  He went seven strong innings, striking out three and giving up one unearned run on a total of five hits.

The offense popped off for 11 runs on 13 hits behind five Cougs with multi-hit days. Junior SS Kodie Kolden had himself a day, with three hits including a triple. Junior 1B Kyle Manzardo went big fly on a three-run bomb to take the lead in the fifth. Here’s a fun fact for Manzardo: after recording a hit in this game, it extended an 18-game hit streak, dating back not one, but two seasons. Freshman 2B Kyle Russell had two hits, including a double, and two RBIs in his college baseball debut.

Game 2 – Final Score: WSU 12 – 5 UC Davis

Kyle Manzardo, a 2021 Preseason All-American extended his hitting streak to 19 games after having a field day at the plate, racking up three base-hits. DH Tristan Peterson and Senior 3B Jack Smith both drove in three runs, respectively. Walks and two errors also killed the Aggies.

Junior SP Brandon White was almost flawless in game two of four. He went five scoreless with six K’s and only two hits. UC Davis got four of their five runs on a grand slam in the sixth, but by then, WSU had already given White and staff a large cushion.

Game 3 – Final Score WSU 5 – 3 UC Davis

The third game of the series was the closest and also the most unique of four against the Aggies of UC Davis. The opposing team started off up 2-0 up until the top of the sixth. Two walks and a pair of hits brought the Cougs within one. One inning later, WSU was able to tie things up on a single by Senior OF Collin Montez. The game was suspended prior to the eighth inning due to darkness. The next day, Jack Smith mashed a clutch, go-ahead three-run shot in the ninth, propelling the Cougs to their third consecutive win. Manzardo moved to 20 straight games with a hit.

Will Sierra started gave up the two initial runs, with only one being earned. Bryce Moyle and five more Coug pitchers held the Aggies to one run to help out the offense. The group on the mound struck out six collectively.

Game 4 – Final Score UC Davis 13 – 5 WSU

The fourth and final game of the series was the only one to not go WSU’s way. Despite Kyle Manzardo reaching 21 straight games with a base-hit and Freshman Kyle Russell starting his career with four straight games with a hit, the Aggies offense was far too powerful.

Pitching was WSU’s issue in the series finale. Starter Dakota Hawkins gave up seven runs, six earned, despite striking out six. Five more pitchers were used, but they gave up six earned to the Aggies.

WSU won their first season-opening series for the first time since 2011.

Up Next: Four-game series at Dixie State starting Thursday, 2/25.

(Photo via WSU Athletics)

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