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Cougar Baseball goes for highly improbable sweep

Can’t be one person who saw this coming

Washington State University Baseball versus Stanford April 2nd at Bailey Brayton Field in Pullman, WA. Jack Ellis/CougCenter

Good afternoon! One of these days I’ll find a way to get this thing published on time. Today is not that day. (next week won’t be any better)

After a decent nonconference start to the 2022 season, the Washington State Cougars baseball team stepped on rake after rake once Pac-12 play began. How bad was it? After taking one of three from the Oregon State Beavers, the Cougs lost proceeded to lose 10 straight games before finally beating Utah last Sunday. They followed that up with a 12-0 drubbing at the hands of #15 Gonzaga. Yep, even in baseball Gonzaga has built a top 20 program while WSU languishes.

And it’s not that WSU has been losing games, it’s also that WSU has been losing games badly. Since Pac-12 play began, WSU’s average margin over 15 games has been a woeful 8.5-3.4 in favor of the opponent. Those results are positively Farringtonian.

Given all that, one would be forgiven to expect anything but a few more multi-run losses as the Cougs traveled to Tucson for a three-game set against the 9th-ranked Arizona Wildcats. Welp, let’s go to Michael Scott for a quick recap of Friday and Saturday.

After scoring 11 runs over a 4-inning period to beat Arizona 11-5 on Friday, WSU found itself in a 5-2 hole on Saturday after the Wildcats put up a crooked number in the fourth. That would be all Arizona got, though, as starter Taylor Grant settled down and completed seven innings. On offense, WSU slowly chipped away, scoring two in the fifth and one in the eighth to tie, thanks to a Kyle Russell RBI single.

Russell wasn’t done, though, as he singled in another run in the ninth to give the Cougs the lead. That would be all the support Chase Grillo needed, as he gave up just one hit over the final two innings, while striking out three.

WSU goes for the sweep on Sunday, and the game can be streamed live here.

Hopefully the Cougs can summon some of that magic at Hi-Corbett field that Lou Brown’s Indians did back in the day.

Baseball

Cougars Notch Comeback Win to Clinch Series at No. 9 Arizona - Washington State University Athletics
The Cougars (12-18, 4-10 Pac-12) clinched their first series in Tucson since 2014.

Football

We are now fewer than two weeks from the (usually) annual WSU spring game. Time sure is flying! Before that, WSU will hold another scrimmage next Saturday as the coaches try and figure out which position battles are still heated and which are settling in. Colton Clark’s latest report seems to suggest that things are coming into focus more rapidly on defense than offense. While nobody really knows how far along the position groups are, the one thing I do know is that the longer it takes to find a starting five on the offensive line, the more worried we should all become.

Washington State spring camp notebook: 'Huge evaluation' days ahead for several contested position groups | The Spokesman-Review
Jake Dickert expects several position battles to last well into fall camp, but the first-year Washington State football coach hopes to clear up a few depth-chart questions before spring ball ends.

NFL Draft Offensive Tackle Rankings 2022: From The College Perspective
Top Washington State offensive linemen look like they should fit a the next level because of the scheme, but they sort of don’t – there’s just no transition to the run.

Pac-12 Football: Analyzing Returning Starter Data for 2022 - AthlonSports.com | Expert Predictions, Picks, and Previews
The linebacker and defensive back units should be the focal point of spring ball for Cougars' coach Jake Dickert. Three full-time starters are gone on the back end, while Jahad Woods and Justus Rogers depart at linebacker.

These Last Couple Weeks in Parenting

Team Kendall has been on the road a good bit lately, more on that below. Before we hit the road for spring break, Mrs. Kendall jetted off to Florida with a mission to find us a home. Breaking news: buying a house totally sucks right now. Anyway, her absence meant that I had to tend to the kiddos for eight days. On one of those days, the 10 year-old wanted to wear shorts to school. I said he had to wear pants because the temps were in the 30s. He went upstairs, came back down, and said “Ok, here are my pants!”

I had neither the strength nor the time to explain the flaws in his logic, so I just took another L and headed to work.

After Mrs. Kendall got home, it was time for Spring Break. After Cinque Terre, we spent an afternoon in Pisa, then flew to Vienna and Bratislava before arriving back here last Sunday. This weekend it was time for the Bruges Beer Festival in Belgium. It was our fourth time in that lovely town - probably my favorite place on this continent - and sadly, our last. The kids played this up to the fullest, as they had previously.

If that weren’t enough.

Not sure we’ll find this level of quality gelato and chocolate in the Florida Panhandle, which is why they’re getting a lot more latitude than usual these days. They’ve become so proficient at hunting down the waffles that I just gave them some cash let them venture out on their own this weekend, so long as they came back with a waffle + dark chocolate syrup for old dad. The fact that I didn’t want to get out of bed may also have played into the decision-making process.

Stranger in a Strange Land

I mentioned that we’ve been away a lot lately, and while it’s always fun, the lack of “I’m just gonna sit on the couch for two days this weekend” opportunities can be draining. We’re out and about again next weekend, but after that I’m praying for a few days where I don’t leave the property. The road is rarely without unintentional comedy, however.

This sign was posted on the bathroom door of our room in Italy.

At first, most people would think, “well that’s obvious. What idiot would do that?” That dash of common sense is quickly usurped by, “well, they wouldn’t have to post that if a bunch of morons hadn’t already done it.” God damn, people are the worst.

Speaking of “people are the worst”, if you ever want to abandon the last shreds of your faith in humanity, spend two minutes near the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The amount of people doing that stupid thing where they take a picture while pretending to hold up the tower is enough to make one think the Jonestown guy was on to something.

Then came Vienna, where we decided to take in a practice session of the famous Lipizzaner Stallions at Vienna’s Spanish Riding School. Pro tip - if you think you might have a slight case of hay fever, AVOID THIS AT ALL COSTS. While the family was enjoying the session, yours truly was damn near ready to carve out my eyes to relieve the pain and itching of a debilitating allergic reaction. Took three days for my eyes to look like they hadn’t been repeatedly punched. Good times!

Non-Sports

J&J, worth $400 billion, is using bankruptcy to derail baby powder lawsuits : NPR
Companies that aren't bankrupt are using controversial maneuvers in U.S. bankruptcy court to block tens of thousands of suits. A woman suing Johnson & Johnson died while her case was in legal limbo.

Putin’s Afghanistan | Foreign Affairs
Even at this point, a month into what will undoubtedly become a much longer engagement than Putin estimated, reports abound that the Russian campaign has been plagued by supply issues and low morale.