Cougars Begin Three-Game Series Friday at USC

April 27, 2007

PULLMAN, Wash. -

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Cougars (20-18, 3-9) at USC (21-21, 4-8)

Friday-Sunday, April 27-29
7 p.m., 1:30 p.m., Noon
Dedeaux Field • Los Angeles, Calif.
Radio: KCLX Radio (1450 AM)

Series Record: USC leads 55-14

Last Meeting: WSU won 2 of 3 during the 2006 series in Pullman

WSU pounded out 17 hits and after jumping out to a 9-1 lead held on for the 12-9 win over Gonzaga Tuesday in Pullman. The win was the third in four meeting this season against the Bulldogs. Paul Gran and Simi Reynolds each had three hits and Nick Hall, in his first start of the season, collected four RBIs, including a three-run double that highlighted a five-run first inning. Ross Humes picked up his team-leading eighth save as he entered in the ninth with the tying run at the plate before retiring the only batter he faced on an infield groundout.

After dropping the opening game against No. 12 Arizona 3-1, the Cougars stormed back to take both weekend contests, 4-3 Saturday and 5-3 Sunday. WSU received strong pitching performances all weekend as it posted a team ERA of 3.00 while Arizona hitters batted just .182 for the series. Wildcat starter Preston Guilmet held the Cougar bats in check in Friday's win, allowing one run in eight innings. In Saturday's game, Cougar starter Nick Ison went 7.1 innings, allowing two runs on two hits before Ross Humes came on to pick up his seventh save of the season. Mike Gilbert added three RBIs in a winning effort. Sunday saw the Cougs use five pitchers before Humes picked up the win, retiring all four batters he faced to close out the game. WSU scored a pair of unearned runs in the eighth after the Wildcats tied the game in the top of the inning.

For the first time since the Pacific-10 Conference went to a full round-robin format at the start of the 1999 season, two Washington State baseball players have swept the weekly conference awards. Sophomore pitcher Ross Humes was named the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week and sophomore infielder Travis Coulter was awarded the Pac-10 Player of the Week. Humes had a stellar week, going 1-0 with two saves in three appearances. He picked up saves against Gonzaga and Arizona, then earned the win in the series-clinching game over the Wildcats, retiring all four batters he faced. For the week he had a 1.69 ERA in 5 1/3 innings pitched with six strikeouts, no walks, and a batting average against of .222. Coulter played in three games last week where he batted .545, going 6-for-11 with two runs scored, three doubles, a triple and an RBI. In Sunday's series-clinching victory over No. 12 Arizona, Coulter tied a school record by hitting three doubles, all coming in his first three at-bats. Coulter finished the game going 3-for-3 with a walk, RBI and two runs scored.

A little over half way through the 2007 season and left-hander reliever Ross Humes has already broken into the single-season top 10 in saves. This past Tuesday Humes picked up save No. 8, entering the game with two outs, runners at the corners and the tying run at bat. Humes retired the batter for the five-pitch save, moving into a tie for second on the single-season list with Reed Rainey (1985) and Travis Webb (2006). Humes has been stellar in save situations this season, converting all eight opportunities while allowing just six hits in 13 2/3 innings of work. In that span he has fanned 15 and walked only two, while opponents have a batting average against of .143. Humes needs two more saves to match the single-season record of 10, set by Reed Rainey in 1984.

Following the weekend series at USC, the Cougars return to Pullman for finals week. They next hit the diamond May 5 when they begin a three-game series against Stanford at Bailey-Brayton Field. WSU snapped a 23-game skid against the Cardinal last season and took two of three in the series, the first series victory over Stanford since the 1969 season. Game times for the weekend series at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday and noon Monday.

The Torjans enter the weekend series with a 21-21 record, 4-8 in Pac-10 action. USC took two of series at Washington last weekend, its first series win in Pac-10 play this season.The Trojans have faced a difficult schedule, playing 17 games against opponents ranked in the top 25. As a team USC is hitting .275, led by Roberto Lopez and his .328 average. Freshman Grant Green is also above .300 at .312 and leads the team with 52 hits and 34 runs scored. Lucas Duda has team-bests of six home runs and 27 RBIs. On the mound freshman Brad Boxberger is 3-3 with a 2.54 ERA. Ryan Cook is 5-2 with a 4.26 ERA and will get the start Saturday while senior Paul Koss leads the Pac-10 in saves with 14. The Trojans are led by first-year head coach Chad Kreuter, who became just the fourth head baseball coach at USC in the past 77 years. Kreuter had a 17-year professional career, his last being the 2004 season.

Last season WSU captured two of three games over the Trojans, making the first series win over the Trojans since the 1969 season. The Trojans lead the overall series 55-14 and hold a 30-5 record when playing in Los Angels dating back to the 1949 season.

Sophomore designated hitter Travis Coulter tied a single-game record by connecting for three doubles in Sunday's 5-3 victory over No. 12 Arizona. Coulter led off the first and third innings with doubles, both times coming around to score. In the fifth his double off the wall in right brought home the Cougars third run. In his next at-bat, Coulter drew a four-pitch walk in the seventh to finish the day 3-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI. Coulter tied the mark previously held by 15 other players, the most recent being Jay Miller, Apr. 21, 2006 at Northern Colorado.

Senior catcher Mike Gilbert made the most of his third start as a designated hitter this season last Saturday against No. 12 Arizona. Gilbert keyed a three-run fourth inning with a two-run single through the left side to put the Cougars ahead. Two innings later, he blasted a long solo home run over the scoreboard in left field, increasing the WSU lead to 4-1. Gilbert finished his afternoon going 2-for-4 with three RBIs, a run scored, and the first home run of his Cougar career.

Coming in to the 2007 season, WSU head coach Donnie Marbut made finishing series a point of emphasis. Through the first 10 series of the season, the point has been received. WSU is 8-2 in series-ending games in 2007, including last Sunday's 5-3 victory over No. 12 Arizona. Equally impressive is the fact that all of the wins, excluding Texas and California, clinched series wins for WSU. Last season WSU was 5-7 in series-ending games.

In Game Two of the Arizona State series (4/14), senior Jeff Miller connected for his first home run since Mar. 12 against Rider, ending a streak of 60 at-bats without a round-tripper. Miller's solo blast in the ninth innings brought the Cougars to within one before falling 4-3. In Sunday's contest, Miller again connected for a ninth-inning home run, this one a three-run shot to regain sole possession of the home run lead with six on the season. It was the second time this season Miller and homered in back-to-back games, the first time coming in the final two games of the San Jose State series.

The Cougars collected 17 hits against Gonzaga Tuesday night, the 16th times this season WSU recorded a multi-hit game...WSU has outhit its opponent in four of the last five games, tying in hits in that fifth game...Senior Zach Borba went 2-for-3 with an RBI in Saturday's 4-3 win over Arizona...Borba also remains perfect in the stolen base category this season, swiping nine bases in nine attempts this season...sophomore designated hitter Travis Coulter batted .545 (6-11) with three doubles, a triple, two runs scored and an RBI during the Arizona series...senior catcher Mike Gilbert went 2-for-4 in Saturday's win over Arizona (4/21), his first multi-hit game since going 2-4 against Illinois-Chicago (3/18)...junior Paul Gran currently possesses WSU's longest hitting streak at five that stretch he is batting .429 (9-21) with three RBI and three runs scored...sophomore Ross Humes remains a perfect 8-for-8 in save opportunities this season...Humes is currently tied for second on the single-season list...senior Nick Ison had one of his best outings of the season Saturday against No. 12 Arizona as he limited the Wildcats to just two hits through 7 1/3 innings...Ison allowed two earned runs, fanned three and had a batting average against of .087...senior outfielder Ryan Krauser had to leave the series finale at Cal (4/1) in the bottom of the first inning when he crashed into the outfield wall chasing a fly ball...Krauser had not played until a pinch-hitting appearance Friday (4/20) against Arizona...his status is up in the air as to when he can return to the field...sophomore catcher Greg Lagreid continues to flex his muscle as he connected for his sixth home run of the season at Gonzaga (4/17)...Lagreid hit just one home run last season...junior Jayson Miller had a strong showing Sunday against Arizona, working 5 2/3 innings in a starting role, allowing two runs on five hits with five strikeouts...Miller has started each of the last two series...sophomore outfielder Jared Prince is tied for the team lead with 25 RBIs this season and is hitting .326 in Pac-10 play...freshman Michael Ratigan picked up his second win of the season at Gonzaga (4/17) as he started and worked five innings, five hits with two strikeouts...junior Simi Reynolds has hit in each of his last four games, going 8-13 (.615) in that span...He went 3-7 in the Arizona series in two games and 3-for-4 last Tuesday against Gonzaga...junior Scott Suttmeier saw his team-leading 11-game hitting streak snapped in the second game of the ASU marked the longest hitting streak by a Cougar this season.
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