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Cougs blank Portland in non-conference finale, 3-0

WSU heads into the final series of the season with a shot to finish over .500.

Washington State Cougar Baseball versus University of Washington at Bailey Brayton Field in Pullman, WA - Brandon White (26) Jack Ellis/CougCenter

The Cougs were riding high as they came down the home stretch of the 2022 baseball season. That is... They were riding high until they ran into the UCLA Bruins over the weekend. The 15th ranked team in the nation ran WSU out of the park on Friday and Saturday, outscoring the Cougs by a combined 14-1 before completing the sweep in a tight game on Sunday.

Entering the final week of the regular season, WSU badly needed a convincing win to get back on track. Luckily, they got that win on Tuesday afternoon at Portland shutting out the Pilots in a 3-0 win.

The Cougs got things started in a hurry. The team scored a run in each of the first three innings, and Bryce Matthews led the way during that stretch. The sophomore put WSU on the board with a first inning RBI double. Then, after a second inning RBI groundout from Elijah Hainline, Matthews struck again in the third with his sixth home run of the season to push the Cougar lead to 3-0. Matthews finished the game 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI.

And that was all the offense the Cougs needed Tuesday in the City of Roses. Junior pitcher Dakota Hawkins delivered a dominant performance on the mound, going five strong frames, allowing just a pair of hits while striking out a career-high 10 batters. From there, the bullpen shut things down closing it out with four no-hit frames, capped off by a 1-2-3 ninth inning from Caden Kaelber on his way to his sixth save of the season.

With the win, the Cougs move to 24-26 overall as they enter their final series of the regular season. Of course, this year, the end of the regular season doesn’t necessarily mean the start of the offseason. For the first time, the Pac-12 is set to hold a conference baseball tournament starting next week in Scottsdale with the top-8 teams in the conference standings playing in a double-elimination bracket. WSU enters their final series of the regular season in 10th place at 9-18 in Pac-12 play, sitting two games back of Cal for the final spot in Tournament play.

The Cougs will need a sweep and a little luck in their final three games of regular season play. They’ll look to do their part of that equation in a three-game set against Arizona State in Pullman. First pitch in game one is set for Thursday night at 6 p.m with TV coverage on Pac-12 Washington.

Hawkins, Matthews Lead Cougars to Shutout Win at Portland

Washington State starting pitcher Dakota Hawkins fired five shutout innings and Bryce Matthews homered in a 3-0 victory over Portland at Joe Etzel Field Tuesday afternoon.

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