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Cougar Baseball splits Doubleheader

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WSU Atletics

Good morning. The WSU baseball team didn’t exactly get off to an auspicious start early Saturday, but they totally made up for it by late afternoon. After Oregon shut down the Cougars in the first game, winning 8-2, the Cougars rode the backs of their pitchers and pulled off yet another last at-bat victory, winning 2-1.

The opener was actually competitive for much of the game. Trailing 2-0 into the fifth inning, WSU was able to scratch out two runs on Oregon pitcher David Peterson, who heretofore has been largely untouchable this season. Going into the seventh, the game was tied at two. Oregon took a 4-2 lead, and WSU was unable to match them.

In the ninth, the roof caved in, with Oregon scoring another four runs to put it away. It’s no surprise that WSU’s bats were largely silent against Peterson. The junior from Denver has now compiled a 10-2 record with a 1.99 ERA and 117 strikeouts. Oh, and he’s walked eight (!!!) batters. To put that in perspective, he struck out 61 batters over the entirety of 2016. So you’ll excuse the Cougs if they weren’t able to muster much against him.

The bats for both sides were largely silent throughout the second game. The Cougs opened the scoring in the first, and that would be it for both teams until the top of the sixth when Oregon managed a run of their own to tie it. Both runs came via RBI-groundout subsequent to sacrifice bunts. Somewhere, Donnie Marbut is fist-pumping his approval.

WSU starter Cody Anderson only needed 68 pitches to get through six innings, but nonetheless, Ryan Walker relieved him in the seventh, tossing two scoreless innings. WSU couldn’t get anything going after the first inning, with Oregon starter Matt Mercer retiring 21 Cougars in a row at one point.

Scotty Sunitch came on to pitch a scoreless ninth, and Mercer once again took the mound for the Ducks. Following a Shane Matheny one-out double, James Rudkin singled to put runners on the corners. J.J. Hancock, the only Cougar with multiple hits in the game, singled to right and the Cougs forged a split.

Anderson and Hancock were the stars of the game, with Anderson turning in a great effort on the mound and Hancock pushing across the game-winner. After a disastrous start to Pac-12 play which included a 1-5 record against the conference’s two worst teams (USC and ASU), the Cougs might (stress might) be finding their sea legs. A win Sunday would give WSU its third straight Pac-12 series win, and would even their season record at 22-22.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 1 p.m., and is available via live stream.

Football

In which Mike Leach goes full blow torch on, well, somebody.

Inside College Football: NFL proving it can't run from spread offense QBs anymore - CBSSports.com
"I know a lot of coaches in the NFL and talked football with a lot of coaches in the NFL," Leach said. "The NFL has progressed steadily toward the spread offense, not away from it. Most coaches in the NFL don't share these concerns."

Pac-12 football: Eight takeaways from spring practice
From clarity at quarterback to the avoidance of serious injuries to the emergence of impact players, spring practices in the Pac-12 provided necessary answers.

NFL Draft: Projecting top Pac-12 prospects for 2018
Yes, this looks low, and it could prove to be low. But it correlates to Day Two, and I’m not sure Falk, tough and smart as he is, has the arm for the first round.

Baseball

Cougars Walk-Off In Game 2, Split Doubleheader With Oregon - WSUCougars.com | Washington State University Athletics
Washington State junior outfielder JJ Hancock drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning to take game two 2-1 and split a doubleheader with Oregon at Bailey-Brayton Field Saturday afternoon. The Ducks won the opening game 8-2 with two runs in the seventh and four more in the eighth.

Beer

Best beer I had this week: This week’s beer drinking was largely truncated due to a business trip. More on that in a minute. I got home in time to try a few, however, and this week’s winner is a great option as the weather warms up. Among the beers I brought home from my spring game trip was Orlison’s Orangelicious. It is really, really good. They also make a beer called Shin Splints IPA, which is apt for Sunday, considering this morning is Bloomsday.

Ok, you probably noticed that last Sunday’s HCA was of a far higher quality than most other Sundays. That’s because Mr. Nusser stepped in for me as I took an eight-day jaunt to Abu Dhabi, UAE. The route included a 14.5-hour nonstop flight from Dallas to Abu Dhabi, departing DFW at 8 p.m. and arriving at 7:30 p.m. The return flight departed Abu Dhabi at 4 a.m. and arrived in Chicago at 9:30 a.m.

As you probably gathered, both of those flights (which were damn near 100% capacity) included a time change of nine hours, with one going overnight. Given all that, the number of small children (let’s say six and under) never ceases to amaze me. This was my fourth such trip in the last year-plus and it never changes.

I don’t know about you, but I’m sure as hell not taking a kid on any type of flight like that until they’re at least a teenager for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which is the cost. Not only that, but many of the people on those flights were connecting through Abu Dhabi, meaning their day was several hours longer. I can’t even imagine what that kind of toll that takes on a kid. Hell, my kids take forever to adjust when we fly from FL to WA.

Despite all that, I think my favorite part occurred when we were waiting to board the flight to Chicago. The gate next to ours was a flight to JFK. They started boarding about 20 minutes before we did, and as they made announcements the rubes at my gate started lining up, thinking our flight was boarding. This once again proved that the idiocy at airports is a universal one.

One thing I’ll give Abu Dhabi, and it’s a big one - You clear U.S. Customs before (!!!) you get on the plane. This is a gigantic time-saver when you land in the states, and is something I wish every large foreign airport did. That time you save in Chicago is best served by taking advantage of Tortas Frontera. If you’re ever in O’Hare, make your way to Gate K3 in Terminal 3 and get the Cuban. You’re welcome.

Anyway, I’ll get off the soapbox now.

Non-Sports

35 Years Of American Death | FiveThirtyEight
The lesson - If you want to live, move west.