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Cougar baseball starts season on Friday with a trip to Texas

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Football season is over and basketball season is winding down, but don't fret! Cougar baseball is just a couple days away from their first pitch and the new preseason rankings are out.

WSU Athletic Communications

It's in the low 40's. There's a crisp a breeze in the air. The possibility of snow is always right around the corner. Ah... It must be baseball season on the the Palouse.

Luckily, WSU opens up their season on Friday with a road trip to Nacogdoches, Texas (Where it's sunny with highs in the 70's this weekend) for 4 games. The Cougs will play in a tournament at Stephen F. Austin University, playing the hosts on Friday, UT-Arlington on Saturday, Missouri State on Sunday, and wrapping up with another game against "Stone Cold" Stephen F. Austin on Monday. It's all part of an 8 game trip that ends at the MLB Spring Training fields in Mesa and Surprise, AZ where they'll play Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas, and Kansas State on February 19-22.

WSU started their 2014 season with high hopes, but ended it with a disappointing 7th place Pac-12 finish. In 2015, the Cougs are missing big names from their lineup. Most of last year's starting lineup, including Nick Tanielu, Collin Slaybaugh, Trace Tam Sing and Yale Rosen are on minor league rosters right now. The 2015 Cougars, made up of only 5 seniors, are a very young team and expectations are low. In the preseason coaches' poll released on Monday, WSU was chosen to finish 10th out of 11 (Colorado doesn't field a team).

Analysts aren't expecting much from the Cougars either. Aaron Fitt of D1baseball.com mentions that the Cougars have a lot of question marks, especially on offense:

The infield features three new faces in freshmen Shane Matheny and Jack Strunc along with redshirt sophomore Shea Donlin, who did not play last year. The only returnee who was remotely productive offensively last year is OF Ben Roberts (.289/.359/.369), but it is unclear who will protect him in the lineup.

The top and bottom of the pitching staff, however, is in great shape. The rotation is anchored by senior Joe Pistorese, who finished last year with a 4-3 record and a 3.31 ERA, while the bullpen is led by closer Ian Hamilton, who had a 2.70 ERA in 2014 and was the only pitcher to record a save last season (15).

The Cougars will be led by a veteran core, but will live and die by the production of their underclassman. One thing that's fun about young talent is that, most of the time, you have no idea what's going to happen. That's going to make 2015 WSU baseball an interesting team to watch (if only to see their awesome new batting gloves).

For more Cougar baseball coverage, WSUCougars.com has posted a couple of preview videos with coach and player interviews focusing on specific positions. Their first video on catchers is here, their second on outfielders is here, and the other position previews are on the schedule.

Basketball

Washington State's Lacy ready to change the world
Few graduating college basketball players have the Washington State senior guard’s perspective on life and the sport they love; even fewer who have averaged 13 points across a four-year career.

Ernie Kent Featured in Washington State Magazine - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
“You should embrace every day what you do. Just like in the game of basketball, we say ‘Value every possession.’ We have to go through all these pitfalls, all that adversity, to get the team there. I’m asking the fans, ‘Hey, embrace all this.’”

Cougar Women Open Road Trip Friday Against Colorado - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
Washington State faces Colorado Friday at 6 p.m. (PT).

Marcus Trufant

Former Seahawk hired as MHS football coach - Monroe Monitor
After hanging up his jersey as a Washington State Cougar and a Seattle Seahawk, Monroe’s Michael Bumpus is taking on his new role as the head coach of Monroe High School (MHS) football team. The Monroe Bearcats have a growing program that has seen post-season play the past four years in a row.