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Smith’s Ninth-Inning Homer Clinches Season-Opening Series

Feb 21, 2021

WSU-UC Davis 4 BOX | WSU-UC Davis 3 BOX | Boxscore

DAVIS, Calif. (Feb. 21, 2021) – Washington State completed a comeback victory with Jack Smith's go-ahead three-run home run in the ninth inning and clinched the season-opening series against UC Davis Sunday afternoon.
Saturday's game two of a doubleheader was suspended following the seventh inning due to darkness and was completed Sunday where Smith's heroics gave WSU its first season-opening series win since 2011. The Aggies claimed the series-finale 13-5.
The Cougars (3-1) saw junior Kyle Manzardo record hits in all four games to finish the weekend with a 21-game hitting streak dating back to the final game of 2019, the fourth-longest hitting streak in program history.
In game two of Saturday's doubleheader, the Cougars trailed 2-0 before scoring once in the sixth and tied things up in the seventh before the game was suspended due to darkness following the inning. Jack Smith led the way with three hits in the game highlighted by his go-ahead three-run homer in the ninth and sophomore lefthander Ethan Ross closed things out in the ninth.
UC Davis jumped out to an early 1-0 lead with an RBI-double in the opening frame and later pushed the lead to 2-0 as a run came home on a Cougar passed ball for a 2-0 Aggie lead.
The Cougar offense was kept off balance through the first five innings but made a move in the sixth. Montez reached on an Aggie error with one out, Smith rolled a single down the third base line, Brady Hill drew a walk to load the bases and freshman catcher Jakob Marquez worked a bases-loaded walk to bring home a run. The UC Davis bullpen buckled down and struck out the next two hitters to preserve the 2-1 advantage.
In the seventh, Justin Van De Brake singled to left field with one out, later moved to second and came around to score the tying run as Montez poked a base hit the other way for an RBI-single. In the bottom of the inning, the Aggies threatened with runners on the corners and two outs but Cougar freshman reliever Kolby Kmetko took over on the mound and induced an inning-ending flyout, keeping the game tied at two.
Following the seventh inning, the game was suspended due to darkness.
Once play resumed Sunday, freshman Kyle Russell provided a spark with a two-out triple to left center in the eighth inning but the Aggie bullpen ended the threat with a strikeout. In the bottom of the inning, UCD loaded the bases with a pair of hit-by-pitches and single but Cougar reliever Michael Newstrom came up big, keeping it tied with a fielder's choice groundout, a strikeout and a ground out to second base.
In the Cougar ninth, Manzardo led off the inning with a single, was bunted to second and Montez later walked to put runners on first and second with two outs. Smith hammered a 3-2 pitch over the left field wall for the go-ahead three-run home run.
In the Aggies' ninth, UCD cut the Cougar lead to 5-3 after a pair of walks and RBI-single but Ross came up big for the Cougars after allowing the single, striking out the next batter for the first out. Following another single that loaded the bases, Ross recorded the second out on a shallow fly out to left and sealed the win with a foul out to Tristan Peterson at first base.
Manzardo walked in the 1st inning to extend his on-base streak to 28 games
Manzardo singled in the 5th inning to extend his hitting streak to 20 games dating back to 2019
Catcher Jakob Marquez made his collegiate debut on defense in the 5th
Starter Will Sierra struck out 3 and allowed one earned run in 3.2 innings
Moyle struck out one and allowed just one hit in 3 innings
Van De Brake singled in the 7th to extend his on-base streak to 15 games
Newstrom earned his 2nd career win, Ross earned his 1st career save
In the finale, UC Davis led off their half of the first with a double and a pair of Cougar errors led to a 2-0 Aggie lead. The Cougars answered in the top of the second as Montez doubled the other way to left-centerfield and later scored after Russell beat out an infield single to third to make it a 2-1 game.
In the third, the Aggies used a pair of solo home runs to push their lead to 4-1 and later added three runs in the fifth for a 7-2 advantage. The Cougars answered in the sixth with a two-out, two-run single from Preston Clifford to make it a 7-3 game but UC Davis came right back with two more runs for a 9-3 lead and never looked back.
Tristan Peterson singled in the 1st to extend his hitting streak to 6 games, dating back to 2020 with New Mexico State
Kyle Russell recorded a hit in all 4 games over the weekend
Kyle Manzardo singled in the 5th to extend his hitting streak to 21 games
Manzardo's single also extended his on-base streak to 29
Justin Van De Brake walked in the 3rd to extend his on-base streak to 16 games
The Cougars will continue their season-opening 24-game road stretch with a four-game series at Dixie State beginning Thursday in St. George, Utah.