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Cougars aim to sweep Huskies

The Cougs have taken the first two games of their annual series against Washington.

The Cougar baseball team ventured over the mountains to Seattle this week, and things got off to an inauspicious start, as Seattle University beat WSU, 7-4. Things didn't figure to get much better, as a weekend series with Washington, a team fighting for first place in the Pac-12. So of course the Cougs responded by taking the first two games of the series.

As with Friday night, WSU used one big inning to break the game open. Friday it was the sixth, when the Cougars plated seven runs. They didn't wait as long Saturday, jumping on UW starter Joe DeMers in the third inning, scoring five runs on six hits to take a 5-1 lead. From there, starter Ian Hamilton took over, scattering five hits over six solid innings. Hamilton was also aided by the WSU defense, which turned two double plays to stifle rallies.

After WSU put up two more runs in the top of the seventh to take a 7-2 lead, reliever Trenton Dupre came on and slammed the door on any hope of a UW comeback. Dupre allowed just two hits over three innings, walking none and earning his second save of the season. Offensively, third baseman Shane Matheny turned in the best day, going 3-4 with a double, an RBI and two runs scored.

What makes this more impressive is the fact that Washington had lost just one series all season, dropping two of three at Oregon State in April. Well, now we can make it two, and the series isn't even over yet. One thing I noticed when scanning the conference standings: The Pac-12 is pretty bad this season. But no matter. Hopefully the Cougs can close out their first sweep of the season against the cross-state rival. Sunday's game will air on the Pac-12 Networks at noon.

EDIT: While attending a beer festival on St. Petersburg Beach last night, somehow I missed this. H/t to faithful reader WazzuCrew for pointing it out. Hamilton and Matheny may have had good games, but Jake Lees, son of the WSU coach, was the unanimous MVP. My four year-old has those same shoes, but he's never come close to pulling off moves like this.

Baseball

Cougars Back Hamilton in 7-2 Win at No. 14 Washington - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
Washington State scored five in the third inning and back an impressive start from Ian Hamilton in a 7-2 series-clinching win over No. 14 University of Washington Saturday afternoon.

Football

Post-spring position unit reviews: Pac-12 North defensive backs
The best surprise of this spring for the Cougars might’ve been the emergence of early enrollee Jalen Thompson. He performed well in the spring scrimmage (four tackles, one pass breakup) and looks to be the starter at free safety.

Post-spring position unit reviews: Pac-12 North receivers
The Washington State wide receiver corral looks to be even more impressive in 2016.

Top Pac-12 story lines from spring practice
Spring practice brought resolution at Oregon State with the naming of Darell Garettson, allowing the Beavers to join UCLA (Josh Rosen) and the Washington schools (Jake Browning/Luke Falk) in attaining quarterback clarity. But that’s it: The eight other teams must wait for training camp, or beyond.

Beer

Best beer I had this week: Haven't done this in a while because, well, I forgot. It definitely is NOT because I quit enjoying craft beer. The beer nerds among you may remember something called Beer Camp Across America. It was an idea contrived by the folks at Sierra Nevada, in which they collaborated with 12 different breweries throughout the US in 2014, producing 12 different beers. Many of them were very good.

This year, they tweaked it a good bit. Instead of 12 different beers, there are six. Aligned regionally, a total of 31 breweries took part. I don't know about you, but when I see six different breweries working to make one beer, the first thought that comes to me is, "Too many cooks in the kitchen." But I digress.

Thursday night at Cigar City, the fine folks from Sierra Nevada rolled out this year's six Beer Camp selections, and I was fortunate enough to taste them all. So now I shall rank them for you, dear reader, in my life-long quest to drink beer so you don't have to.

1) Family Values Imperial Brown Ale (Midwest) - This was easily the best of the six. Not too sweet, and stronger than many brown ales. Brewer list: Schell's, Dark Horse, Sun King, Half Acre and Perennial.

2) Moxee Moron Imperial Session IPA (PNW and Rockies) - An session IPA that checks in at 7.5% ABV? Makes total sense. Hence, the name. This was very mild for an IPA and, while not really a session beer, was quite good. Brewer list: Bale Breaker, Barley Brown's, Black Raven, Melvin and O'Dell.

3) Stout of the Union Robust Stout (Southwest) - Probably an above-average stout. No more, no less. Brewer list: Bagby, Beachwood, Smog City, Societe and The Lost Abbey.

4) Sweet Sunny South Southern Table Beer (Southeast) - I've heard of table wine, but I'd never seen or tasted table beer. This was quite good, and very different. It's definitely a good thing to have if you're hanging out at the beach this summer. Brewer list: Austin Beerworks, Bayou Teche, Creature Comforts, Funky Buddha and Wicked Weed.

5) West Latitude Session Rye (NorCal) - Pretty tasty for a rye beer, and not nearly as bitter as the few ryes I've had in the past. Brewer list: Bear Republic, Faction, Mad River, Magnolia and Maui (which I don't believe is in California but ok).

6) Pat-Rye-Ot Revolutionary Pale Ale (Northeast) - This beer was apparently produced by people and breweries located in the original colonies. They should probably stick to throwing tea into the harbor, because this beer is flat awful. Like really, really bad. Brewer list: Devil's Backbone, Dogfish Head, Trillium, Lawson's and Stoudt's.

In reality, the best beer I had this week was something called Tootsie Roll Porter. It was produced in some guy's garage, and is one of the best beers I've had in a long time. Go figure.

Craft Beer Revolution? The Small Brew That Is Taking On Budweiser, Miller and Coors - Forbes
If someone said this to me, I'd find another place to drink. "What do you have that’s in the lager family?" He raised an indignant eyebrow and disdainfully replied, "Nothing. That’s not what we are about."

Non-Sports

Lots of good stuff this week. So much that I couldn't pick just one. They're all worth a read, or even a skim of you've got the time.

The day we discovered our parents were Russian spies | World news | The Guardian
Turns out my favorite show, The Americans, is rooted in real life! (without the cool stuff like sex, sham marriages and murder, but still)

What Makes Texas Texas - The New York Times
People in this rapidly changing state believe their way of life is under attack, and they are making a kind of last stand by simply being Texan.

Tampa Bay Walmarts get thousands of police calls. You paid the bill.
Hat tip to Jeff Nusser for finding this. I've been to the Walmart on Gandy (South Tampa) twice, and it's one of the most depressing places I've voluntarily visited. Something tells me that Walmart can afford to hire private security, but refuses to do so.