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Cougars Rally in Ninth for Comeback Win at Tarleton State

Mar 2, 2022

STEPHENVILLE, Texas (March 2, 2022) – Washington State rallied in the ninth inning with four runs and reliever Chase Grillo struck out the final two hitters with runners on second and third to close out a 9-8 comeback win at Tarleton State Wednesday evening.
WSU (6-3) saw Collin Montez hit the go-ahead two-run double in the ninth before Grillo entered the game with two runners on and retired the next three batters. The Cougars received two-hit games from Kyle Russell, Jacob McKeon and Jack Smith while McKeon and Montez each drove in three runs and Bryce Matthews scored three times.
Two Cougar relievers delivered dominant performances in righthander Kolby Kmetko and lefthander Cam Liss who combined to work six perfect innings, retiring 18 consecutive hitters and tallying 10 strikeouts. Kmetko worked perfect second and third innings with three strikeouts while Liss fired four perfect frames and recorded seven strikeouts. Connor Barison picked up the win while Grillo notched his first career save.
Tarleton State used a first-inning grand slam and second-inning two-runner homer to building a 6-1 lead but committed five errors throughout the game and issued five free passes in the ninth to drop to 3-5.
In the first, the Cougars used three hits including an RBI-single into centerfield from Smith to take a 1-0 lead. Tarleton State answered with a big number in their half of the first as a single, a walk and a bunt single loaded the bases for the cleanup hitter who hit a grand slam to left-centerfield.
In the second, Tarleton State added to their lead with an opposite field two-run homer down the left field line for a 6-1 advantage. WSU answered in the third as Matthews singled home a run, McKeon followed with a two-run double into the left-centerfield gap and Montez made it a one-run game with an RBI-groundout to second base.
WSU pitching settled in and retired 18 straight beginning after the second-inning homer beginning with six straight by righthander Kmetko and 12 consecutive by lefthander Liss who racked up seven strikeouts along the way.
In the eighth, the Cougars threatened as Montez worked a walk, later stole second and moved to third on the play after an errant throw went into centerfield. The Tarleton State bullpen held tight and ended the inning with a groundout to second. The Texans added a run in the eighth on an RBI-groundout to second base to push the lead to 7-5.
In the ninth, WSU rallied for four runs as Elijah Hainline lined a single to left, Russell walked, Matthews was hit by a pitch and McKeon walked to bring a run and Smith worked a walk to bring in the tying run. Following a pitching change, Montez drove a 1-0 pitch the other way over the leftfielder for a two-run single and a 9-7 Cougar lead. Tarleton opened their half of the ninth with a solo homer, at hit-by-pitch and a walk to make it a one-run game and put two runners on. Grillo entered from the bullpen and after a sacrifice bunt, struck out the next two hitters to seal the win.
Smith had an RBI-single in the 1st, has reached base in 8 straight games
McKeon doubled in the 3rd to extend his hitting streak to 5 games and on-base streak to 6
Caden Kaelber made his 1st career start on the mound, allowed 4 runs
Grillo earned his 1st career save
The Cougars will stay in Texas to play in the Frisco College Baseball Classic. WSU will face Texas A&M Friday, Wichita State Saturday and Iowa Sunday.