The Washington State Cougars were looking like world-beaters on the diamond a couple of weeks ago, starting off with a sizzling 6-3 conference record and coming off a sweep of the Cal Bears. After beating Oregon State’s Ace on the Friday evening of WSU’s “mom’s weekend” to take game one of a three game set at Bailey-Brayton, it looked like Cougar baseball was all set to explode.
Unfortunately, the sizzle of that moment has turned to a fading fizzle and the Cougs have cooled off considerably, as the biggest problem of the last few seasons has once again stolen WSU’s momentum; pure and severe inconsistency. If the Cougs are to get back on the right side of things in 2014, they face an all-but must-win situation in their three-game series with the Washington Huskies.
More misfortune befell the Cougs last weekend when skipper Donnie Marbut was tossed at Oregon for arguing in the first of three straight losses, mandating a two-game suspension. The Pac-12 umpires for the game then went on to report that Marbut “spewed” on them during the rant, which by rule mandates another four games on top of the two-gamer, meaning Marbut is unavailable for the entire WSU vs UW series.
Marbut is confident his team will whether the storm and to be fair missing your head coach in baseball probably isn’t as crucial as missing him in most other sports, but the fact is the Cougs need leadership to come from somewhere. Perhaps pitching coach Greg Swenson who is serving as acting manager during the suspension can provide it. Not that anyone should need a fire lit under them for a series against the Dawgs in their newly renovated ballpark.
The Cougs are in the midst of a four-game slide and five straight Pac-12 losses that have taken them from 7-3 and tied for third to 7-8 and somewhere below middle of the pack. In order to make the NCAA’s Marbut says the team “absolutely” needs to finish with a winning conference record. With 15 games left, I think it’s gonna take more than that for the Cougars to get in, so it’s gotta start this weekend.
Marbut’s contract is also up at the end of the season and he’s had no contact with A.D. Bill Moos on an extension. If WSU doesn’t get it going again soon, we may see our second coaching change of the athletic season within the next couple months.
First game vs Washington is Friday at 7 pm on Pac-12 Networks.