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WSU's C.J. Allen, Liz Harper advance to NCAA Track and Field Championships

Baseball also takes game one from Cal, 4-1.

Washington State Athletic Communications

It was a pretty great Friday for WSU athletics, as a pair of track and field athletes advanced from the NCAA West Prelims to the NCAA Track and Field Championships, while baseball beat Cal in the opening game of its final series of the year.

C.J. Allen advanced in the 400-meter hurdles, finishing second in one of six semifinal heats with a time of 50.77 seconds. He was leading the heat until the final three meters, and his time was the second fastest overall. He is the current Pac-12 champion.

Heptathlete Liz Harper will compete in both that event and the high jump after clearing 5-foot, 8 1/2 inches during a "jump off." She had cleared 5-9 1/4 earlier to advance to the tiebreaker.

The NCAA championships will be in Eugene, Oregon, from June 8-11.

Meanwhile, back home, baseball picked up a 4-1 victory over Cal behind a strong pitching performance from sophomore Damon Jones and a huge clutch double from junior catcher Stefan Van Horn.

Jones pitched 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball, giving up just one run on three hits while striking out three. Van Horn pounded a 3-2 fastball into the left-center gap to clear the bases with two outs in the fifth inning to provide all the run support the Cougs would need.

"I actually had gotten all fastballs all three at bats, so I was pretty confident I was going to get another fastball," Van Horn said. "I was just trying to stay inside it, put a good swing on it, and see what happens."

On a personal note, this is super cool for me - Stefan was a student of mine at the school where I teach, and his first couple of years were pretty rough, baseball-wise. But he's come on this year to make most of the starts at catcher (splitting time with freshman Ty Johnson), and he's come up with some big hits to drive in 23 runs -- third on the team.

Ryan Walker closed out the game with 3 2/3 scoreless innings to earn the save, his fifth of the season.

The series continues today at 4 p.m. at Bailey-Brayton Field. It will be broadcast on Pac-12 Networks. If the Cougs can win one or both of these last two games, there's a chance they could finish out of the bottom of the standings -- a pretty substantial accomplishment in Marty Lees' first season.

Links

Allen and Harper Advance From NCAA West Prelims - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
WSU's CJ Allen (above) and Liz Harper punched their tickets to the NCAA Track & Field Championships next month.

Jones, Van Horn Lead Cougars to 4-1 Win Over Cal - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
Damon Jones retired 11 in a row at one point and went 5.1 innings to earn the win.

Cal loses baseball series opener at Washington St. - SFGate
Washington State catcher Stefen Van Horn hit a three-run double in the fifth inning as the Cougars (19-33, 11-17 Pac-12) handed Cal a 4-1 loss Friday in the opener of the teams’ final Pac-12 series of the season in Pullman, Wash.

GoFundMe goal for Riley Sorenson and his family over halfway thanks to jumbo donor - Washington State - Scout
THE CAMPAIGN set up by Washington State’s athletic department to aid Cougar center Riley Sorenson’s family with funeral, medical and related expenses following the passing of his mother Karen is more than halfway toward its $25,000 goal thanks to a head-turning donation by one anonymous contributor.

Toughest stretch: Washington State - Pac-12 Blog- ESPN
Washington State's early Pac-12 games against Oregon, Stanford and UCLA could help build momentum or put the Cougars in a hole.

Top 10 Cougs: Nos. 9 and 10 - Washington State - Scout
IT BEGAN AS a top 5 list, but that proved far too limiting. It’s still a tall order at 10, as worthy candidates ended up having to be left off the list. Nevertheless, we asked the writers and editors of Cougfan.com to place their votes for the top 10 Cougs headed into the summer of 2016. Today, we reveal Nos. 9 and 10 …