Cougars' Late Comeback Falls Short By a Run
Feb. 3, 2001
LAS VEGAS - Three runs in the eighth inning were not enough to give the Washington State baseball team a come-from-behind victory as the UNLV Hustlin' Rebels held on for a 10-9 win Saturday afternoon at Martin Field. Cougar hitters faced four different pitchers with two outs in the eighth, nearly pulling off the come-from-behind victory.
Newcomer Richard Hall, making his WSU debut, started the rally with a double into the left field corner off Rebel pitcher Jared Bonnell and scored three batters later when Stefan Bailie was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Tyson Boston singled in Evan Hecker and Mike Knight closing the gap to one run, but the Cougs could not get any closer in their last four outs.
'Right now, our position guys are playing very solid defensively, really playing more as a team than last week,' WSU head coach Tim Mooney said. 'We just need to stop beating ourselves on the mound.'
For the second straight game, the top of the Cougar batting order got off to a fast start in the first inning when Stefan Bailie drove in his first of three runs in the game with a sacrifice fly, scoring Evan Hecker. Two batters later second baseman Bookie Gates sent Mike Knight home with a lined shot sown the left field line to increase the lead to 2-0.
However, for the second straight game, Cougar starting pitching couldn't hold the lead in the early innings as sophomore Tyson Thompson committed three errors trying to throw out Rebel hitters at first base. Thompson gave up seven runs through four innings, but only two earned runs came across the plate sue to the fielding mistakes.
'We are hitting well at the top of the order. If we could only get a strong pitching performance, we would be in good shape.'
The Cougars scored two runs in the fifth to close the defecit to three runs, and in the top of the seventh, Gates rocketed a Bonnell pitch over the left field fence, driving in two runs to make it a 7-6 game.
Sean Donlin made his season debut in the fifth and did not allow a UNLV hitter to get past first base until the seventh inning. In the seventh, Rebel center fielder John Cruz drove in two runs with a double down the third base line that was ruled fair by home plate umpire John Deluca, surprising nearly everyone in the stadium, including coaches and players from both teams. Cruz later scored from second base on a wild pitch from Donlin to finalize the UNLV scoring.
WSU (1-5) 200 020 230 - 9 11 4
UNLV (2-0) 220 300 30x - 10 10 2
Tyson Thompson (1), Sean Donline (5), and Jon Baeder.
Courtney Hall (1), Jared Bonnell (6), Ben Scheinbaum, Brad Maloff, Jake Gann (8), and James Nepa.
W - Hall (1-0), L - Thompson (0-1), S - Gann (2). HR - Gates (1).
T - 3:10, A - 362
WSU Hits - Knight 3, Bailie, Boston, Gates 2, Robertson, Baeder, Hall 2.
UNLV Hits - Ruiz, Cruz, Schuler, Kitsch, Jacobitz 2, Nepa 3, Johnson 2.
E - Thompson 3 (3), Gates (1), Schuler (1), Strong (1). 2B - Bailie, Gates, Hall, Cruz.