What a change one week (and a Sella's calzone) can bring.
Last weekend the Cougs struggled to put up runs and lost the series to a middle-of-the-pack Oregon team. We were left wondering if the offense could get on track and if the back end of the rotation (the non-Chad part) could prevent enough runs to win.
Well Chad wasn't good, the offense exploded for 32 runs in three games, and WSU has themselves a sweep of the #18 California Golden Bears.
The wins put Wazzu at 9-9 in conference (25-17 overall) and tied for fifth in the Pac-10. They are also just one game out of second place (Also just two games out of 9th for balance). In a league that could potentially have eight teams go to regionals, WSU has put themselves in a very good spot.
Read on for a quick recap of each of this weekend's games.
Chad Arnold manned his usual Friday night post, but did not give us the dominant effort to which we have grown accustomed. He struck out just one of the 24 batters he faced, threw only 53 strikes out of 93 pitches, and lasted one out into the fifth while giving up six runs (four earned) on seven hits. Most of the damage was done in the top of the fourth, when Cal tagged Arnold for five runs.
Fortunately, the bottom of the fourth saw the Cougar bats awaken for a five-spot of their own. Eventually, the WSU offense put up 13 runs capped by Matt Fanelli's two-run double in the 8th. Fanell's double was one of only three extra base hits for WSU on the day.
On Saturday WSU saw themselves in another big hole at 6-1 headed into the bottom of the sixth. Once again, the Cougs fought back with a big inning. This time it was nine runs led by the a 3-run home from Michael Weber.
David Stilley started the game, but lasted just one inning. James Wise pitched the next four and two-thirds innings, giving up four runs on four hits and three walks. As a foreshadow of things to come, Adam Conley was left on the bench in the top of the ninth in a save situation. Connor Lambert came in to pitch a 1-2-3 ninth.
In the finale earlier today, Adam Conley made his first start of the season and was effective. He threw 113 pitches, struck out three, and gave up up 3 earned runs in six and two-thirds. For the record, this is a CougCenter.com approved move. Conley is probably the team's second best pitcher and the the starting staff has been shaky outside of Arnold. Obviously he can handle extended work, judging by the pitch count. We'll have more on this later.
WSU's bats were huge again, as they put up nine runs. The headliner was a three-run blast from right fielder Patrick Claussen. The Cougs did their usual scraping for the rest of the scoring, putting up six more runs with just one more extra base hit.
In all, Wazzu put up just eight extra base hits the entire weekend and still managed those 32 runs. This team thrives on "small ball" (the occasional three-run bombs help as well) and so far they have easily been at their best at home, where they now have a series win over #1 Arizona State and a sweep over #18 Cal.
The only logical explanation is that they must be serving Julia Child's Beef Bourguignon for pre-game meals.
/Watched Julia and Julia today.
/Was gilfriend's idea.
/Begs for man card back.
/Realizes he stole this from Spencer Hall