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Cougar Baseball is better, but needs to improve tremendously

That ended...poorly. On the other hand, it was pretty easy to see coming. While the late season version of the WSU baseball team was clearly better than the one that began Pac-12 play, the Cougars faced the two Pac-12 teams who were clearly better than the rest in Oregon State and Stanford.

When WSU began the closing six-game stretch by taking a lead to the ninth inning at Oregon State, it looked as if this young team might be able to hang with the big boys. Then, much like the football team folded the tent down the stretch at Colorado and got murdered by Washington, it was straight downhill for the guys on the diamond.

One can’t point to either pitching or hitting as the primary culprit, though the Cougar bats went into a pretty deep slumber after their final victory over UCLA. In the last seven conference games, their run totals were: 2, 3, 0, 3, 2, 3, 1. It’s not Seattle Mariner-level ineptitude, but it’s not far off. Meanwhile, they gave up 12 or more runs four times in the final seven. I’m no rocket surgeon, but that doesn’t seem to be a recipe for success.

Given the rollercoaster nature of the baseball team’s 2017 season, it’s difficult to draw any immediate conclusions. Their conference record remained basically the same (11-19 in 2016, 10-20 in 2017). Their overall record improved to a greater degree as they won 24 games, seven more than 2016. That’s due in large part to the fact that they were able to beat the non-conference teams they should beat, which is an improvement over last year when they lost three of four to both Utah Valley and Texas State.

So while non-conference play and the middle stretch of the Pac-12 season showed what the Cougars may be capable of next season, the final two series were a pretty sobering look at how far Marty Lees and his guys have to go.

Post Script: Hopefully all of you are getting to enjoy an extended weekend due to the holiday. As a reminder - Veterans Day is for the living. Memorial Day is for those who said their last “goodbye” before they or their loved ones wanted to. So on Monday, take a second or two to think about the brave men and women who went to war and never came home. Just as importantly, think about the loved ones left to carry on. Happy Memorial Day.


Pac-12 football win-total analysis for the 2017 season
Won’t believe the Cougars can start fast until I see them do it. And one loss early, which I view as likely, would create huge problems in the charge to eight wins.

Debt service for Pac-12 athletics in excess of $100 million
An analysis of Pac-12 financial projections indicates the schools owe more than $100 million in debt service in fiscal year 2017 alone.

Pac-12 football: Required weekend reading
If it turns out that former Baylor defensive coordinator Phil Bennett knew about the transgressions, Arizona State and coach Todd Graham would have to explain the decision to hire Bennett.


Cougars Drop Season-Finale to No. 8 Stanford On Senior Day - | Washington State University Athletics
Prior to the game, WSU recognized senior lefthanded pitcher Trenton Dupre, the only senior on the roster.


Best beer I had this week: Let’s switch it up a bit to start. I like to think I’m pretty open-minded when it comes to craft beer. I’ll try just about anything and I like many different styles, from saison to stout. One of the first styles I took to was the brown ale. Dogfish Head’s India Brown Ale, Rogue Hazelnut Brown and Cigar City Maduro are some of my favorites. However, if you think for one second that I’m going to want to try a beer in this can, you’re sadly mistaken.

As far as the best, I’ll go with the Anchor Steam Blackberry Daze IPA that I had on Saturday. Very, very good.


Killing C.I.A. Informants, China Crippled U.S. Spying Operations - The New York Times
At least 18 C.I.A. sources were killed or imprisoned in China between 2010 and 2012, one of the worst intelligence breaches in decades. Investigators still disagree about how it happened.