Cougars Win on the Road, Take Two of Three from the Golden Bears

A three-game conference series win for WSU in northern California this past weekend, their first series win at Cal since 2015. After falling by a run in the first game, the Cougars were able to win two straight backed by several phenomenal pitching performances. After winning the series, WSU moved to 19-15 overall and 7-11 in Pac-12 play. Here is a recap of all three games from Berkley.

Game 1: WSU 2 – 3 Cal

The game was all tied-up at zeros until the fifth, where both WSU and Cal each scored a run. The Cougars were able to put one more run on the board in the top of the eighth, but yet again, Cal responded with two more runs of their own in the bottom half of the same frame. WSU was not able to score in the ninth and lost the series-opener by a run.

Brandon White got the start for the Cougars, and he was solid through five and a third. He allowed only one run, which was not earned, six hits and six strikeouts. It was a big bullpen day for WSU, where after white, six more pitchers were used, where none of them went more than a full inning. Michael Newstrom was tagged with the loss in game one, where he gave up two unearned runs in the eighth. Cal’s three unearned runs were scored on an error, a hit-by-pitch and sacrifice fly.

WSU was able to out-hit Cal 8-7. First baseman Kyle Manzardo, designated hitter Tristan Peterson and catcher Jake Meyer all had multi-hit performances. Manzardo and outfielder Justin Van De Brake each had an RBI in the opener, both coming by way of a single to right field.

Game 2: WSU 4 – 2 Cal

It was all about junior RHP Zane Mills in game two, who absolutely tore up the Golden Bears in a complete game effort.

Mills’ record improved to 4-3 overall on the season. He went all nine innings, giving up six hits, on two earned runs and ten strikeouts. Mills had only two walks on the contest, and one was intentional. The two runs given up by Zane were given up in the bottom of the eighth, meaning he held Cal scoreless for seven innings. His ERA now sits at 3.81, but what is a more impressive stat on Mills this season is his K/BB rate, which after his complete game, is 5/1.

The Cougars rattled off 14 base hits in this one. Shortstop Kodie Kolden (RBI), first baseman Kyle Manzardo (two RBIs) and third baseman Jack Smith all recorded three hits of their own in the second of three against Cal. Freshman Kyle Russell had the other/first RBI on the game, where he doubled in the top of the second to get the scoring chart active for WSU.

Game 3: WSU 4 – 3 Cal

Dakota Hawkins was strong in the finale, and some timely hitting helped WSU win their second consecutive conference game.

Hawkins (3-5) got the win as the starter Sunday night. He went five innings, three hits, three earned runs, striking out five, and walking none. The bullpen was untouchable in game three. Michael Newstrom and Grant Taylor (save) went four innings, one hit and six Ks, and yet again, no walks surrendered.

WSU jumped out to a 3-0 lead after four innings and got their winning run in the fifth. Shortstop Kodie Kolden went 2-4 with a double, and infielder Jacob McKeon went 1-3 with a double and two RBIs. The Cougars four runs came off of a throwing error in the third, McKeon’s two-run double in the fourth and a fielder’s choice by Collin Montez in the fifth.

Up Next: WSU (19-5, 7-11) heads to Spokane, where they will take on Gonzaga Tuesday (4/27), and then heads 80 miles south to Pullman to face the Oregon Ducks for three next weekend at Bailey Brayton (4/30 – 5/2).

(Photo via Cal Athletics)

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