Baseball

Cougars go Duck Hunting on the Palouse, Take Two of Three from No. 8 Oregon

After dropping a non-conference game to the Gonzaga Bulldogs on Tuesday, the Cougars faced off with the No. 8 Oregon Ducks over the weekend. After getting shutout on Friday, WSU was able to take down the Ducks on Saturday and Sunday. The Cougars now sit at 21-17 overall and 9-12 in conference play. Here is a recap of the weekend series against Oregon.

Game 1: WSU 0 – 13 Oregon

Tough start to a sunny weekend in Pullman. Oregon came out firing on all cylinders Friday night, shutting out WSU, while also putting up two touchdowns, but missing an extra point.

The game was scoreless heading into the third inning, where Oregon’s powerhouse offense put up five, and then eight more in the following five innings. Junior RHP Brandon White (5-3) was WSU’s starter in the opener. Through three innings, he gave up seven runs, four earned, on six hits, walking three. The bullpen was not much help after White’s exit. Collectively, the pen gave up six earned runs after the third inning.

WSU was able to put up ten hits but leaving eight runners on base did not help. Senior Collin Montez and junior Kyle Manzardo each had multi-hit games

Game 2: WSU 11 – 1 Oregon

Big time bounce back game for the Cougars on Saturday afternoon. Zane Mills, after tossing a complete game against Cal a week ago, had another gem. Five homeruns by the Cougars also played somewhat of a factor in the upset win.

Portland-native Zane Mills improved his record to 5-3 after beating the eighth-ranked team that is about 100 miles to the south of his home town. Mills went seven-plus innings, striking out six, while only allowing one earned. Relievers Michael Newstrom and Connor Barison helped seal the deal after Mills’ day was done.

The Cougars really got to Oregon stater Cullen Kafka. Shortstop Kodie Kolden got after the first pitch of the ballgame and hit it out of the ballpark. In the second inning. First baseman Kyle Manzardo and designated hitter Tristan Peterson both put one out, ending up in a five-run Cougar inning. The other two home runs came from freshman second baseman Kyle Russell in the fourth and catcher Jake Meyer in the sixth. Five WSU hitters had multi-hit games (Kolden, Manzardo, Peterson, Collin Montez, Jack Smith). As if you did not assume already, the offensive player of the game was junior Kyle Manzardo. He was a single-shy of the cycle, with five RBIs and two runs scored.

Game 3: WSU 11 – 6 Oregon

The Cougars won the series against Oregon Sunday evening backed by solid pitching and outstanding hitting. It’s the first time since 2016 that the Cougars won a series against a top-ten team!

Dakota Hawkins got the start on the mound for WSU in game three. He only went two innings, and it was Taylor Grant who earned his first win on the season. Grant pitched four innings, only giving up one earned run, striking out five Ducks. A total of six Cougar pitchers were used Sunday.

Six of the nine WSU hitters had multi-hit games. Catcher Jake Meyer and centerfielder Collin Montez both accounted for three hits. Montez has a double and a home run. The other home run came from designated hitter Tristan Peterson, who had two RBIs on the day.

Up Next: WSU (21-17, 9-12) stays put in Pullman for some time. They get Seattle U on Wednesday (5/5), and then a three-game conference series against the UCLA Bruins next weekend, (5/7-9).

(Photo via WSU Athletics)

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