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What is going on with WSU baseball?

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Why have the Cougs continued to struggle this year?

WSU Athletic Communications

After an offseason of lots of hope and praise, the Washington State baseball team has been hit hard and currently sit at 12-19 with a 4-11 conference record. This past weekend, the Cougars looked like they should have this season against #9 Arizona winning the first two games of a three game series including a come back after being down 5-2 heading into the fifth inning.

So, why are we just seeing a glimpse into what the Cougars could/should have been all season? Why are they at the bottom of the conference with just four wins in the conference?

As a team they sit at the bottom of nearly every hitting and pitching category in the conference this season. When you look at individual statistics there is not a single Coug in the top-10 in any of the the categories.

*There are currently just 11 schools in the conference with a baseball team. Colorado is the lone school without a team*

Hitting:

When it comes to hits, the Cougars have tallied 253 in 31 games played this season, 100 hits less than Oregon who leads the conference. of those 253 hits, 49 have been doubles (10th), 3 have been triples (11th), and 18 have been home runs (11th).

They have a combined batting average of .243 with both Oregon and Oregon State batting over .300. They are last in the conference in slugging with .347 with Oregon sitting at .512 on the year.

They have scored just 156 runs this season and are more than 100 runs behind the conference leader, Oregon State. They are ranked 9th in RBI’s (149) with Stanford (144) and Washington (143) are right behind them. Oregon leads the conference with 244 runs batted in.

They have also struggled with walks and strike outs this season as they sit in 8th with 122 walks and 7th in K’s with 262.

When they do get on base they are last in steals with just nine on the year. UCLA leads the conference with 49. When they do steal, they are ranked third in least caught stealing with just 7 times.

Pitching:

Cougar pitchers are ranked third in most runs allowed with 204. Arizona State has allowed the most with 240 while UCLA has allowed the least with 86. Of those 204 runs allowed, 167 have been earned.

They have walked 153 batters this season, more than double what Oregon State has allowed in the same amount of games. They have had success in strike outs this season as they sit in fourth with 289 K’s, just 29 less than what conference leader UCLA has tallied.

There are three pitchers in the top-5 in losses in the conference. Three in the top 12 in hits allowed, two of the top three in runs allowed, two in the top five of batters walked, and two of the bottom four of ERA. Pitching has been a massive struggle for the Cougs this year. The offense is unable to keep up with the amount of runs the pitching is allowing and it has been very obvious with the Cougs playing from behind early in the game.

So, what exactly is going on with the Cougar team that had the 40th ranked class coming into this year and a 29th ranked class the year before?

They are young and lost a lot of top talent over the past few years. They lost top pitchers in Zane Mills, Brandon White, Michael Newstrom, The new young pitchers do not have the experience that those three had. The top two pitchers with the most innings pitched are both sophomores and two of the three pitchers with eight starts on the season are also sophomores. Five relievers with more than 10 appearances each are sophomores as well.

Kyle Manzardo and Tristan Peterson also departed. Losing these two bats have also been a massive blow to the team. Five players who have started multiple games for the Cougs this year are sophomores or younger.

In their 19 losses this season, 15 have been when they have only been able to get 3 runs or less. In 11 of their 12 wins they scored five runs or more and their lone win with less than five runs was a 4-2 victory over Hawaii in the second game of the season. During their 10-game losing streak that lasted most of March and into April they were outscored 86 to 35.

*****

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