Washington State (1-2) baseball took to the road shaking off cobwebs and nervousness this past weekend in their 2013 season opening series against the Western Carolina Catamounts (2-1). After dropping the first two games, the Cougs settled down nicely Sunday to close out the three-game set with a 4-1 victory.
If a non-conference schedule is designed to learn about players, Coach Donnie Marbut gained insight as to where his team is solid and where work needs to be put in.
Offensively, WSU put up 27 runs on the scoreboard against a good Cats pitching staff. That’s the most in a three-game, non-conference road series since 37 at Northern Colorado, April 21-23, 2006.
Cougar bats collected numerous hits, though not always at the most opportune junctures.
Marbut specifically commented about pressuring the opponent with hitting saying, “…we have not had enough timely hitting.”
WSU hit for a team average of .312 with 4 homers in the series. They were led by junior Jason Monda and freshnman Nick Tanielu who were both 6 for 14 averaging .429. Freshman Trek Stemp was 4 for 10, .400, followed by sophomore Yale Rosen chipping in a 5 for 13 series, .385. Rosen plated 5 teammates, more than doubling his RBI total for all of last season.
Defense was a different story when the Cougars took the field. WSU committed 9 errors in the first two contests before settling down Sunday to play flawless defense.
"“I really thought we would play the way we did (Sunday) all weekend,” Cougar Head Coach Donnie Marbut said."
Clearly the Cougs responded nicely to Coach Marbut’s strong words following the game Saturday where they scored 10-runs yet lost 15-10 because of poor defense. With great defensive support WSU pitching yielded just 4 hits and a lone run in the series finale.
Washington State will look to build on their fine play Sunday this coming weekend when they host Eastern Michigan beginning Friday afternoon at 2pm on the diamond at Bailey-Brayton Field in Pullman.
Cougar Baseball Notes:
– Adam Nelubowich recorded his third-career outfield assist Friday
– Ben Roberts’ grand slam Saturday produced his first-collegiate RBI
– Jason Monda made his collegiate pitching debut and struck out the side Sunday