Oregon State scored a run in the top of the 9th aided by a crucial error and the WSU rally in the bottom half fell short as the Cougs fell to the Beavers on Sunday by a score of 3-2. Pinch hitter Tommy Richards struck out to end the game with the winning run on second base to end a Cougar threat.
Washington State starter Travis Cook lasted just 2/3 of an inning before giving up a couple runs. After that, the Cougar bullpen combined to do a masterful job keeping their team in the game while the offense was stagnant. James Wise and Paris Shewey combined to pitch 7 1/3 of shutout ball, striking out nine. Adam Conley came in for the ninth when OSU put up their deciding third run.
After singling the Beavers to death on Saturday, Washington State was unable to come up with clutch hits in the series finale. The final numbers show they left 12 men stranded on the basepaths, many of which were in scoring position.
These are the types of games of games that we figured this Cougar team would have. They are built to prevent runs and don't really have much pop, so stringing together hits and walks is the name of the game. Their inability to do that on Sunday cost them a sweep. Donnie Marbut summed it up nicely after the game when he said, ""It's nice to have a series victory, but we had put ourselves in a position to sweep, so we are a bit disappointed."
Click the jump for a quick recap of the rest of the weekend.
On Friday, Cougar ace Chad Arnold played the part, going the distance for a second straight start and leading the Cougs to a 5-1 victory. He was flat-out dominant, striking out eleven guys and retiring 13 of the last 14 batters he faced. We knew his stuff gave him the ability to do things like this, and it has been awesome to see him put it together and become a true number one.
The offense cannot be overlooked in this one, as they were able to put up five runs on a guy who had allowed just over a baserunner and inning and struck out 47 in 53 1/3 innings coming in. Overall, it was a fantastic performance on both sides.
The black cloud hanging over the win came when Derek Jones took a pitch off the hand. WSUcougars.com reported in their game notes from Sunday's game that he will miss 2-4 weeks. Derek is one of few guys on this team who can provide instant offense and without him we may see a lot more games like the series finale against OSU.
Of course, the offense performed admirably without their big bat on Saturday, playing station-to-station baseball en route to a decisive eight run fourth inning and and easy 12-4 win. David Stilley looked as good as he has all season, going five innings and striking out four. If he can limit the walks, of which he had four, he can definitely progress into an effective second option for the Cougs down the stretch.
Cody Bartlett will gets my nod for player of the week, as he put up FIVE EXTRA BASE HITS in the series. Cody Bartlett plays second base folks.
The loss Sunday moved the Cougs to 20-14 overall and 4-6 on the conference season. They still have a shot at regionals, but they are going to need to put up some wins on the road. It won't be easy this weekend, as WSU travels to Eugene to face a Ducks team who has been very impressive in just their second year since the baseball program returned.