Cougars Travel To Gonzaga, Host Washington In Conference Opener
March 20, 2007
PULLMAN, Wash. -
Washington State Baseball
WSU (10-6) at Gonzaga (14-10); vs. Washington (10-8)
March 20 Patterson Baseball Complex (1,300) March 23-25 Bailey-Brayton Field (3,500)
Spokane, Wash. Pullman, Wash.
Game Times: Mar. 20 (3 p.m.) Mar. 23 (5:30 p.m.) Mar. 24 (2 p.m.) Mar. 25 (Noon)
PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS
Tuesday Lambert , RHP (1-1, 1.53) or Ratigan (1-2, 6.39) vs. Chris Highmark, LHP (2-4, 6.03)
Friday Wayne Daman Jr., RHP (2-0, 2.05) vs. Nick Haughian, LHP (0-1, 2.75)
Saturday Matt Way, LHP (2-1, 7.45) vs. Jorden Merry, RHP (4-1, 1.60)
Sunday Nick Ison, RHP (3-2, 5.60) vs. Tyler Cheney, LHP (1-1, 3.86)
For the first time this season the Cougars came away with a series-opening victory, defeating the Flames 5-2 behind a strong pitching performance by Wayne Daman Jr. Game Two was a slugfest as UIC jumped to a 4-0 lead, trailed 9-7 after six innings then used a seven-run seventh to come away with a 14-11 win. In the finale Nick Ison threw seven innings, allowing one run one five hits while Jim Murphy and Nick Hall added home runs in a 9-3 victory. For the series the Cougars hit .318 as a team, led by Paul Gran's .500 average. Gran went 6-for-12 with three triples and four RBIs, while Murphy added two home runs and six RBIs.
Gonzaga enters Tuesday's mid-week contest with a 14-10 record, having won four straight and 11 of its last 13. The Bulldogs completed a three-game sweep of visiting Rider this past weekend, earning a 9-4 win Sunday afternoon. Gonzaga started the season with a 3-8 mark, all of those games being played on the road. For the season Bryan Winston leads the team with a .439 average, while Dustin Colclough is hitting .342 with a team-best three home runs. On the mound Josh Monroe is off to a 3-0 start with a 2.81 ERA in seven appearances. As a team the Bulldogs are hitting .280 and have a staff ERA of 5.43. The Cougars lead the all-time series, 175-86-1, with the two teams splitting the six-game series last season. Today's game marks the first of four during the 2007 season.
Washington enters the week with a 10-8 record, riding an eight-game winning streak. This past weekend the Huskies posted their third-consecutive series sweep, taking all three games against Cal State Northridge. UW also has sweeps over Pacific and Southern Utah during the streak. Prior to Friday's opener against the Cougars, Washington will host Portland Tuesday then meet Gonzaga in Spokane Wednesday afternoon. As a team the Huskies are hitting .268 on the season while Bradley Boyer is hitting a team-best .345 among regulars. Curt Rindal leads the team in the power categories, with four home runs and 14 RBIs. On the mound right-hander Jorden Merry is 4-1 with a 1.60 ERA in five starts while Nick Hagedone has registered four saves in his seven appearances. The Cougars lead the all-time series, 227-174-0, with the Huskies taking two of three during the most recent meeting.
SERIES-ENDING GAMES BELONG TO COUGARS
Coming in to the 2007 season, WSU head coach Donnie Marbut made finishing series a point of emphasis. Through the first five series of the season, the point has been received. WSU is 5-0 in series-ending games, winning 6-1 at Northridge, 7-6 at Texas, 7-4 at San Jose State, 11-0 against Rider and 9-3 last Sunday against Illinois-Chicago. In those five games the Cougars are hitting. .320 as a team, have a staff ERA of 2.40 and have committed just two errors. Last season WSU was 5-7 in series-ending games.
GRAN MAKING TRIPLES LOOK EASY
Shortstop Paul Gran is making the difficult look easy. In three games over the weekend the junior from Bothell, Wash. laced three triples, including two in WSU's series-opening 5-2 win over Illinois-Chicago Friday night. It was part of Gran's 6-for-12 series against the Flames, which also featured two runs scored and four RBIs. For the season Gran leads the Cougars with four triples and over the last five games he has raised his average from .214 to a season-high .302.
HUMES CRACKS SAVES LIST
A little over a quarter of the way through the 2007 season and left-hander reliever Ross Humes has already broken into the single-season top 10 in saves. Last Friday the sophomore worked two scoreless innings to registered his fifth save of 2007, tying him for ninth on the Cougars single-season list. Humes has been stellar in save situations this season, converting all five opportunities while allowing just two hits in 9 1/3 innings of work. In that span he fanned 11 and walked only two, with both hits surrendered being singles.
Following this weekend's three-game series against Washington, the Cougars continues the homestand with a quick two-game series against Brigham Young, Mar. 27-28 at Bailey-Brayton Field. It caps a stretch in which WSU will have played 11 of its last 12 games at home. Following the BYU series the Cougars continue conference play with a three-game set at California, Mar. 30-Apr. 1. WSU will stay in Northern California for an extra day to face the University of San Francisco, Monday, Apr. 2.
FOLLOWING THE COUGARS
All Washington State University baseball games can be heard live on KCLX Radio (1450 AM). Steve Grubbs begins his second season calling all the baseball action. In addition, all games can also be heard online at www.wsucougars.com and all home games and selected road contest can be followed on-line via Gametracker, also at wsucougars.com.
BIRTHDAY BOY DELIVERS
Junior Nick Hall celebrated his 22nd birthday in fine fashion, connecting for his first home run of the season in a 9-3 Cougar victory over Illinois-Chicago. Hall came on as a pinch-hitter in the 8th inning and sent a 2-0 pitch deep over the wall in right field. It was the second home run of Hall's WSU career. It was also his third hit in his last five at-bats as he is hitting .333 for the season.
Senior Jeff Miller had the Cougar's first five-hit afternoon when he went 5-for-5 with two doubles in Game Two of the Illinois-Chicago series...the last Cougar to get five hits was Jared Prince last season agaisnt Chicago State (3/7)...freshman Cody Bartlett had the first multi-hit day as a Cougar, going 2-for-3 with a triple and RBI in the finale against Illinois-Chicago...senior Zach Borba is hitting .385 (10-26) over his last seven games...Borba has four-multi-hit games in that stretch, including a season-high-tying three twice...Senior Wayne Daman Jr. improved to 2-0 and lowered his ERA to 2.05 after a season-high eight-strikeout performance agaisnt Illinois-Chicago...opponents are hitting just .193 against the right-hander...senior Mike Gilbert is 9 for his last 15 (.600) over the past six games, raising his average from .143 to .455...Senior Nick Ison worked a seaso-high 7.0 innings in a 9-3 win over Illinois-Chicago...Ison allowed one run on five hits with four strikeouts...junior Garrett Kimbrel, a converted left-handed pitcher, has allowed just two singles and no runs with five strikeouts over his last 5.1 innings pitched (2 outings)...junior Jim Murphy has hit safely in seven of his last eight games...in that stretch he is batting .321 (9-28) with 3 home runs and 8 RBIs...junior junior Simi Reynolds is hitting .600 (6-10) over his last 3 games with 5 RBIs, 3 runs scored, a double and a triple...Scott Suttmeier is hitting .360 (9-25) since being moved into the starting lineup to start the San Jose State series...sophomore left-hander Matt Way had a career-high 7 strikeouts in a 10-3 win at San Jose State...sophomore Ross Humes has registered a save in each of his last five save opportunities.
HEAD COACH Donnie Marbut
Donnie Marbut is in his third season as head coach at Washington State University and fourth overall after pending the 2004 season as an assistant on the Cougar staff. Marbut has amassed a 69-67 record in two-plus years, while his 57-60 mark in his first two seasons are the most wins by any Cougar coach in his first two years. Prior to WSU, Marbut served as head coach at Edmonds Community College from 2000-03, where he posted a 152-38 record and earned Coach of the Year honors in 2002 and 2003.