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WSU NEWS AND NOTES: Baseball Drops Opener To UCLA, Gerrit Cole

Gerrit Cole, shown here pitching in last year's College World Series, was everything he was advertised to be last night in defeating WSU with a complete game five-hitter.
Gerrit Cole, shown here pitching in last year's College World Series, was everything he was advertised to be last night in defeating WSU with a complete game five-hitter.

Adam Conley was really good for eight innings last night. But when you're facing Gerrit Cole of UCLA, often all it takes is one inning where you're not great to do you in, and that's exactly what happened as the Bruins beat WSU, 3-1, on the strength of a three-run fourth inning.

Both Cole and Conley pitched complete games, but Cole -- likely the No. 1 overall MLB draft pick this summer -- was just a little bit better, allowing just the lone run on five hits with seven strikeouts and one walk.

Cole was absolutely as advertised, flashing an arsenal of pitches, all of which he could throw for strikes, including a fastball in the mid-to-upper 90s. About 75 percent of the time the play-by-play guy on the WSU webcast would say the Cougars were in a "fastball count," Cole would throw a slider or changeup -- for a strike, of course.

Conley was nearly as good. He needed 131 pitches but also struck out seven. He gave up two hard hit balls all night, and they just happened to come in the third. After a seeing-eye single got through, a sacrifice bunt and a double off the wall in right field scored the first run. A walk and another double later, UCLA had all the runs it needed. Both doubles were into the jet stream in right.

"That was the best game we have played in the Pac-10 this year," WSU Head Coach Donnie Marbut told WSU Sports Information. "Gerrit Cole is one of the best pitchers in the country and Adam Conley went toe-to-toe with him. Obviously I am bothered by the loss, but I am proud of our effort."

Here are some more comments from Marbut:

I suppose that's a step in the right direction, because Marbut has said plenty of times this year that he wasn't proud of the team's effort. The only problem is, results need to follow soon. Game two is today at 1 p.m., and it's being broadcast Root Sports (formerly FSN Northwest). The Cougs send Chad Arnold, the erstwhile ace still coming back from an offseason elbow injury, to the hill with a 100-pitch limit to take on another potential first-round draft pick, Trevor Bauer. The Cougs had a little bit of success against him last year.

In other news, the athletic department is using every opportunity it can to remind us that it will be unveiling its new "brand and identity program" on Monday night in Spokane at 7 p.m. at the Davenport Hotel:

"One of my priorities when I became athletic director was to have a recognizable look across our department and athletic programs," said Moos. "We have what I and many believe to be the best logo in college athletics, yet we have not had the consistent look on our apparel or throughout our facilities that allows instant recognition for that brand.

"From the outset of our discussions with Nike I challenged them to be innovative, unique and to align the look of Cougar Athletics with the premier programs in America," Moos continued. "After seeing the final product, I believe they delivered on all counts."

If this video is any indication, you might like what you see:

That's about it for this morning. 

EDIT: Here's a schedule of all the activities going on in Spokane this week, passed along by Coug999. Thanks.