Washington State (10-6, 1-0) brought their bats with them to open Pac-12 play Friday night. The Cougars pummeled Arizona State (11-3-1, 0-1) pitching on the way to a 15-4 win at Packard Stadium in Tempe, AZ.
One game doesn’t make a season, but it can set the tone for things to come.
Led by Collin Slaybaugh’s 4-hit performance, WSU rapped out 17 hits to plate 15 runs. That’s timely hitting folks. Only 7 Cougs were left on base in the offensive onslaught.
As impressive as Washington State was at the plate, their pitching was just as remarkable. Joe Pistorese (2-1) proved worthy of getting the Friday night start. He worked an effective 6 ⅔ innings giving up just 7 hits to the Sun Devils. It’s notable that Pistorese has worked into the 7th inning for Coach Donnie Marbut for a fourth consecutive game.
The Cougar bullpen turned in another solid performance by shutting down ASU over the final seven outs of the ballgame.
Getting a win on the road in the Pac-12 is tough. Nothing profound in that statement. Opening a conference series with a victory means you only have to win one of the next two games to take the series. Again, nothing profound there. Playing up to your potential is huge, which is what WSU did Friday night.
The Cougs have been eating up opposing pitching while turning in fickle performances from their pitching staff. Getting the best of both is a nice way to start the drive toward a Pac-12 Championship.
No question the win Friday night is a good thing for Cougar baseball. Because it was lopsided, flushing that game from the memory of ASU players is relatively easy. Losing a close game often lingers in the minds of players. Not much chance of that being the case for the Sun Devils. They know they have a better ball club than the one which went down to defeat Friday night on their home field.
Tanner Chelborad will get the ball from Coach Marbut Saturday night at 6:30pm to start the second game of the series with ASU. The 6’5” righthander from Rapid City, SD has great stuff, though hasn’t looked good during non-conference play. If he can get to the 7th inning, you have to like the chances for Washington State to come away with another win.
WASHINGTON STATE NOTES
– Washington State won a series opener at Arizona State for the first time since 2001 and only their second win since the series opener in 2001 in 18 road games against the Sun Devils
– The Cougars 17-hits collected Friday night were the most in a Pac-12 conference game since 18 at USC, May 29, 2011
– Washington State’s 15 runs were the most in a conference road game since 18 at Portland State, April 6, 1996 in the nightcap of a Pac-10 North doubleheader.