Washington State will attempt to right the ship against Washington this weekend and snap their three game losing streak. The Cougar baseball team (15-28, 8-16 Pac-12) will have a tall order, however, as the Huskies (27-16, 13-8 Pac-12) are a top the Pac-12 standings and ranked 14th in the nation.
The Cougs, who are last in the conference, fell to a Utah team last weekend that is tied with Washington with a 13-8 conference record. The Huskies, meanwhile, traveled to USC and took two out of three against the Trojans.
Starting on the mound for WSU will be Damon Jones, Ian Hamilton, and Scotty Sunitsch, all of whom boast an ERA in excess of 5.00. While pitching over 40 innings this year, it will only be Sunitsch's second start of the season Sunday. Opposing batters have only hit .229 off the sophomore lefthander, but he has given up 18 walks and three home runs.
Looking at WSU's batting stats, there are quite a few players with likable on base percentages, but the team figure of .329 lags far behind that of its opponents (.370). Slugging percentage tells a similar story, and the two illustrate many of the Cougars struggles thus far. While their batting average is almost identical to their opponents, WSU is drawing fewer walks, and hitting for less power. The Cougs three leaders in OBP, Trek Stemp, Dugan Shirer, and Ty Johnson have combined for 10 extra base hits this season, all doubles.
In order to go into Seattle and steal the series, WSU will need better performances from their starters, and hopefully a little extra pop from the bats. This season hasn't gone according to plan in all likelihood, but winning a series at UW for the first time since 2004 would give the team some momentum as the year's end is in sight.
Games will be played Friday at 7 p.m. Saturday at 4 p.m. and Sunday at noon, and will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks.
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