WSU Begins Pac-12 Play


Washington State (9-6) begins their 2013 conference play on the road Friday night in Tempe, AZ at 6:30pm against one of the top teams in the nation, No. 14 Arizona State (12-2-1).

WSU Coach Donnie Marbut has seen his ball club perform well in spurts up to this point. There have also been games where the Cougs have looked disappointing. At one point, the Cougs were 8-2 and playing with tremendous confidence. But WSU has dropped four of their last five contests heading into the start of Pac-12 play.

The time for getting tuned up and into the swing of things has passed.

Many believe the Pac-12 is the best conference in the country when looking from top to bottom. The Sun Devils exemplify the quality found in the Conference of Champions this season.

ASU comes into the three-game series playing excellent baseball. They swing the bat well as witnessed by a team batting average of .288, fourth best in the Pac-12. What’s impressive about the Sun Devil offense is their balance. None of their players have dominated opposing pitching, rather they rely on timely, consistent hitting.

As good as ASU is when they are up to bat, they have even better pitching. Their staff ERA is a microscopic 2.15 after 15 games. How are they getting it done when their guys take the mound? Dominate the strike zone. As a staff, the Sun Devils average nearly one strikeout an inning. That’s right. In a 117 innings of ball, ASU hurlers have notched a stunning 105 K’s.

Comparing the two teams, Washington State prominently leads the conference in offense with a team batting average of .323. The Cougs are led by Nick Tanielu who is off to a fantastic start hitting .429 to start his first year of NCAA baseball having redshirted last year. Coach Marbut can fill out his lineup card with at least seven guys who are hitting over .300.

It comes as a surprise that Cougar pitching has struggled for consistency through their first fifteen games. As a staff, they have an unimpressive 4.32 ERA which ranks 11th out of 12 teams in the conference. The only staff giving up more runs than the Cougs is cross-state rival Washington. With more than a handful of guys who can bring it at 90mph or better and every starter with at least a year of experience, you’d speculate the strength of this WSU team would be pitching. The most glaring issue has been keeping the ball in the park. Cougar pitching has yielded 11 homers in 15 games which is a mark that defines their troubles up to now.

Without effective pitching, Washington State isn’t taking advantage of their conference leading batting average (.323), doubles (37), home runs (14), extra-base hits (55) and slugging percentage (.487). It’s not expert analysis to point out the obvious. Those numbers may be deceiving since WSU hasn’t faced Pac-12 caliber pitching in their non-conference schedule.

Here’s the game schedule for Packard Stadium in Tempe and WSU probable starters:

Friday 6:30pm
– Soph Joe Pistorese (4 G, 4 GS, 1-1, 1.44 ERA, 25 IP, 23 H, 6 BB, 16 K)
Saturday 6:30pm
– Soph Tanner Chleborad (4 G, 4 GS, 2-2, 8.10 ERA, 20 IP, 27 H, 6 BB, 11 K)
Sunday 12:30
– RS-Soph Scott Simon (4 G, 4 GS, 0-0, 4.11 ERA, 15 1/3 IP, 23 H, 3 BB, 9 K)

You can follow the Cougs with live stats at, run by Arizona State. All Cougar baseball games this season will be broadcast live on NewsTalk 1150 AM and 105.3 FM with veteran Cougar broadcaster Steve Grubbs.




– Last year, Derek Jones and Taylor Ard combined for 21 home runs, 58 extra-base hits

and 95 RBI…both were MLB Draft picks…this season, redshirt-freshman Nick Tanielu and


Yale Rosen

(23 at bats as a freshman) are filling the shoes of Jones and Ard

quite nicely…Tanielu (.429 batting average, 18 runs, 8 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 11 RBI) ranks in the top three among Pac-12 hitters in batting average, slugging percentage (.714), doubles and hits (27)…Rosen (.377, 10 Runs, 2 2B, 5 HR, 17 RBI) leads the Pac-12 in home runs, is fourth in slugging percentage (.656) and tied for fourth in RBI.

– Junior

J.D. Leckenby

has converted 5-of-6 save opportunities in his first season as a

closer. Leckenby was a middle reliever as a freshman and starter as a sophomore.