Cougars Drop Opener To Utah Valley State, 6-5
May 6, 2006
PULLMAN, Wash. - Chris Benson's ninth inning single to left scored Nick Connor with the eventual winning run as Utah Valley State defeated Washington State University 6-5 in a nonconference game Saturday evening at Bailey-Brayton Field.
The loss drops the Cougars to 29-17 on the season while the Wolverines improve to 16-32.
With the game tied at 5-5 heading into the ninth, Connor led off the inning with a single to left off Cougar pitcher Steve Kost. After a sacrifice put Connor on second, Benson hit a 0-1 pitch to left, scoring Connor for the 6-5 lead. In the bottom of the ninth Cougar second baseman Travis Coulter collected his third hit of the game to put the tying run on base. Wolverine pitcher Brett Guerrero got Jay Miller to hit into a game-ending double play to erase the threat.
The Wolverines were first on the board with two runs in the second. Canyon Vance led off the inning with a single up the middle then scored the first run on a throwing error by Cougar pitcher Mike Wagner. Dan Bulow then came home on Kade Boyer's fielder's choice. UVSC added another run in the third when Connor singled then came home on Benson's single to left.
In the bottom of the third WSU cut into the lead as Jared Prince drew a two-out walk then came home on Jim Murphy's triple off the wall in center. The Wolverine extended the lead to 5-1 in the fifth with a pair of unearned runs. Eli Slesk came all the way around from first on a throwing error by Wagner on a Benson come backer. Benson ended up on third following the play then came home on Bulow's RBI single through the left side.
In the bottom of the fifth Jared Prince cut the deficit to one as he drilled a 1-0 pitch deep over the fence in left for a three-run home run. Coulter and Jay Miller scored on the play as Prince connected for his fifth home run of the season. One inning later the Cougars tied up the game as Garrett Kimbrel stole second and scored when Wolverine catcher Cory Newton's throw went into left field.
For the game Coulter had three hits while Jeff Miller added two. Prince had one hit, driving in three while scoring two. On the mound Wagner went six innings, allowing five runs on eight hits. Jeremy Johnson came in to start the seventh and went two scoreless innings, surrendering one hit with two strikeouts. Kost suffered the loss as his record falls to 1-1.
WSU committed two errors in the game that led to four unearned runs.
Utah Valley State collected 12 hits on the game, three by Vance and two each by Connor, Slesk and Benson. Kyle Bleecher started and worked seven innings, allowing five runs on eight hits; while Guerrero worked the final two innings to pick up his third win of the season.
These same two teams continue their three-game series Sunday afternoon at Bailey-Brayton Field. First pitch is set for 2 p.m.