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Cougar Baseball gets much-needed victory

Marty Lees’ squad really needed this one

WSU Athletics

Good morning. As you’re probably aware, it hasn’t been a banner season for WSU Baseball. The Cougars didn’t exactly start the season off with a bang, losing their first three games and six of their first eight before a four-game series cancellation. They did rebound to split a series with St. Mary’s, but it was all downhill from there.

Despite the bad record, it wasn’t like the Cougars were getting boatraced. Their conference opening series at 14th-ranked UCLA was an exercise in frustration, as they lost all three games by a total of five runs. It was more of the same at Arizona Friday evening. After getting nickel-dimed for five runs over eight innings, WSU rallied in the ninth to make it 5-4. The Cougs had the tying run on second, but he was thrown out trying to move up on a pitch in the dirt, so once again they lost by one damn run.

Saturday started off very promising as the Cougar bats were awake early. Justin Harrer and Blank Clanton notched RBI singles, and JJ Hancock took one for the team, drawing a hit-by-pitch with the bases loaded. Robert Teel followed with a two-run single, and suddenly the Cougars were threatening to blow it open. Ahh, but it was not to be, as WSU’s bats decided to head to the clubhouse for the rest of the night.

On the mound, Scotty Sunitsch allowed Arizona to creep back into the game, allowing two runs (one earned) in the first. That would be all he’d allow through his five innings of work, however. Hayden Rosenkrantz relieved Sunitsch in the sixth and kept WSU on track, setting Arizona down in order. The next inning would not go quite as well. Here’s how the bottom of the seventh began: hit-by-pitch, walk, walk, single (plus an error), walk. Suddenly it was 5-4, the bases were loaded with nobody out, and once again it was looking as if WSU would suffer another deflating defeat.

Following a quick Michael Newstrom appearance, in which he was able to coax a popup, Ryan Walker entered the game in what you could call a high-leverage situation. Walker struck out the first batter and got a groundout to end the inning. That was only the beginning. Walker went back out in the eighth and here’s what happened: groundout, strikeout, flyout. The Cougs loaded the bases with one out in the ninth, but couldn’t get an insurance run across.

Then, as the great Mariners announcer Dave Niehaus was fond of saying, it was hang-on time. Marty Lees stayed with the hot hand in Walker, and was handsomely rewarded. Walker broke out the flamethrower, striking out all three Wildcat batters on 11(!!!) pitches. In all, Walker faced eight batters, retiring all eight and striking out five. I get the feeling Walker will sit for the rubber match. He certainly earned the rest.

Speaking of the rubber match, it begins at 12:30 and is available via Arizona Live Stream. You can also listen to Matt Chazanow’s radio call. Go Cougs.


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Best beer I had this week: Now, I know what none of you are thinking - Where has this idiot been the last couple weeks? I also know what the rest of you are thinking - Why didn’t he stay there? Well, the Mrs. and I were drinking making our way through Africa, visiting Cape Town, going on a safari and taking in Victoria Falls. As you can see below, Africa is not lacking for craft beer, as I certainly tried my share.


Sugarman was far-and-away the best beer I had. Golden Song and The Buccaneer were also very good. The coolest part of the beer adventure was finding a new craft brewery in Victoria Falls. I never ever thought I’d find myself in a brewery in Zimbabwe. They also serve a really good pressed pork belly.

Oh, and if you ever wonder whether you should visit South Africa (specifically Cape Town and Kapama Game Preserve) you should definitely do so. It was incredible.

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