Poor Pitching and Quiet Bats, WSU Swept Away in the Desert

The Cougars concluded their nine-game road trip in Phoenix this past weekend, and it is a series they will love to forget about. The lengthy road trip went through the states of Oregon, Nevada and Arizona, where WSU went 3-6. They return home to Pullman with an overall record of 12-8, and 1-5 in conference play. Here is a recap of the three-game series against the 16th-ranked Arizona State Sun Devils.

Game 1: WSU 0 – 10 ASU

After a four-run first, ASU never slowed down their offensive prowess. The Sun Devils benefitted off of WSU’s pitching troubles and two defensive errors.

Junior starter Brandon White lost his first game of the season, moving his personal record to 3-1. White went five innings of nine-hit, and eight runs (seven earned), while striking out three and also walking three (with one HBP). Freshman RHP Elias Farland came in for relief of White.

WSU’s hottest hitter, junior first baseman Kyle Manzardo was scratched from the lineup with a hamstring injury. Senior right fielder Collin Montez had two hits, including a double.

Game 2: WSU 4 – 5 ASU

Like game one, ASU got out to another early lead, putting up three on WSU in the first inning. This game, unlike the series-opener, was much more of a contest. After being down 3-0 for more than half of the contest, WSU was able to take the lead in the top of the sixth, scoring four. ASU then responded with two of their own in the bottom of the eighth and halted a bases-loaded WSU threat in the ninth to close things out.

Junior starter Zane Mills was solid. He gave up three earned runs on six hits, striking out five, and only walking one Sun Devil hitter. Four other WSU relievers were used, only giving up two hits after Mills, but not striking out a single ASU batter.

In that sixth inning, Keith Jones II singled, Preston Clifford reached on a fielder’s choice and Justin Van De Brake doubled, which brought two Cougs in. But in the bottom of the eighth, ASU’s Jack Moss singled and scored one, but a fielding error on the same play brought in the winning run for the Sun Devils.

Kyle Manzardo, who pinch-hit in the ninth, reached base via an intentional walk, and broke Brady Everett’s 2005 record of 42 consecutive games on-base. He now sits at number one in the WSU record books with a 43-game on-base streak and counting.

Game 3: WSU 0 – 9 ASU

The series finale was scarily similar to the series opener. WSU was shutout and gave up nine to the Sun Devils. Also much like game one, four runs were allowed to ASU in the bottom of the first.

Junior RHP Dakota Hawkins was the starter in the final of three games. After the loss, his personal record moved to 1-3, and a 5.92 ERA. Hawkins went 5 1/3 innings, six runs (five earned) on seven hits.

The Cougars offense, much like most of the series, was dormant in the finale. WSU was only able to muster a mere two hits, which came from Arizona-native Jacob McKeon and third baseman Jack Smith. ASU pitching struck out seven Cougar hitters throughout the one-sided contest.

Up Next: The Cougars have now lost four in a row and look to rebound during next weekend’s series. WSU (12-8, 1-5) heads back to the Palouse to take on the Stanford Cardinal (13-3, 2-1) for three conference games, Thursday-Saturday (4/1-3).

(Photo via ASU Athletics)

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