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Cougar baseball begins this week with dreams of Omaha

Brian Green has the Cougs looking for their first trip since 2010

Washington State Communications department Washington State Athletics

Washington State will begin their 2022 baseball season this week with a four-game series in Hawaii beginning on Friday. Head coach Brian Green is looking to get the Cougs back to Omaha for the first time since 2010. The Cougs are coming off their best season since 2015 and their most conference wins since 2014.

Friday and Saturday’s first pitch is scheduled for 8:35 pst in Honolulu, Hawaii at Les Murakami stadium. Sunday’s game will be at 3:05 pst before playing another evening game with another 8:35 first pitch on Monday.

Last season, the Cougs finished with a 26-23 record despite starting the season 11-2. Things hit a rough patch and they lost eight of their next nine games and could never really recover. Green then spent the offseason bringing in some of the nations top recruits and landed the 40th ranked class. The 2020 class, which was ranked 29th, has now had a full offseason on campus and looks to build on the success that Green has brought into the program.

This years team will be led by three seniors who are taking advantage of their additional year due to Covid; infielder Jack Smith and outfielders Justin Van De Brake and Collin Montez.

Smith hit .311 and started all 49 games last season at third base. He added 13 doubles, 28 RBI’s and two home runs while setting career highs in every category except slugging and on-base percentage. Van De Brake will be in his third season with the Cougs after joining them as a transfer from Tacoma Community College in 2020. He hit .255 last season with 7 doubles, a triple, and four home runs while adding 22 RBI’s while starting 40 games spread out throughout the outfield last season.

Montez is quite possibly the most important piece returning this year as he will play a massive role in getting this team into the postseason. Last year he hit .316 with 10 doubles, two triples, and seven home runs while bringing in 36 runs. He has proven to be patient at the plate as he was walked 32 times last season while striking out just 41 times after starting in all 49 games last season.

The Cougs 2022 season starts with this weekends four-game series against Hawaii and another four-game series against Long Island next weekend. They then will play Tarleton State once before they play in the Frisco Classic including games against Texas A&M, Wichita State, and Iowa. This stretch of road games means the Cougars first 12 games will be on the road before they return back home to open conference play with a three-game series against #18 Oregon State on March 11th.

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