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Cougs spanked at USC

Washington State Cougars Baseball Jack Ellis/CougCenter

The WSU baseball team enjoyed a rather successful start to the baseball season, winning 11 of the first 12 non-conference games. A series win over Oregon State followed, which resulted in a top-25 ranking. But since then, the Cougs haven’t exactly thrived.

They lost a mid-week game against San Francisco, lost two out of three at home against Oregon, lost a mid-week game at Gonzaga, and dropped the opener of a three-game series last night at USC—and it wasn’t close. Despite getting off to a 2-0 lead in the first inning, the Cougs allowed the Trojans to score in bunches and lost 13-3. USC scored runs in the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth innings.

I suppose the only good news is hardly anybody saw it happen, as the box score lists the attendance as a paltry 323.

WSU ace Dakota Hawkins was knocked around, giving up five earned runs and nine hits over 4 23 innings. This was all despite WSU giving him two runs of support in the top of the first thanks to a Sam Brown two-run homer. That was just about all the offense WSU could muster until Will Cresswell singled in a run in the top of the ninth with the game already out of reach.

The doomed innings were the fifth and sixth, where USC scored four and five runs, respectively. A WSU throwing error allowed one run to score and that opened the flood gates.

The Cougs will try to even the series up tonight.

Kyle Manzardo turning heads

While the current crop of WSU baseball players are struggling, one former WSU baseball player is thriving. Kyle Manzardo, taken by the Tampa Bay Rays in the second round of the 2021 MLB Draft, is progressing through Tampa’s farm system and is currently ranked as the team’s no. 4 prospect.

Manzardo definitely won’t crack the starting lineup on Opening Day, but he made a really good impression in camp, according to Tampa’s manager, Kevin Cash. It’s good to see Manzardo progress through the Rays’ farm system.