The successful weekend series of a few days ago seems to have been deleted from the collective memory of Washington State Cougar (11-8) baseball players. There was little similarity to how this team began Pac-12 play and the performance turned in Tuesday night against rival Gonzaga (12-6-1).
Capitalizing on an early lead, the Bulldogs outscored WSU by a final of 10-8.
Gonzaga jumped out early with 3-runs in the first then chased WSU starter Chris McDowell (0-1) when they plated another 4-runs in the fourth inning.
It’s not unusual for mid-week games to feature a lot of scoring because coaches tend to save their best pitchers for weekend series. That model didn’t hold form for both teams.
The Zags got six innings of decent work from their starter, Kenny Smith (1-0). Smith got Gonzaga into a position to win the ballgame by shutting the Cougs down through the first half of the game. He left with the Bulldogs up by a score of 7-5.
Washington State has been efficient on offense most of this season, but failed to take advantage of their chances. They stranded 9 runners, a recipe for losing to a quality ball club like Gonzaga.
Cougar Coach Donnie Marbut was livid after the loss, visibly disappointed by the lack of focus by his team. His patience disappeared along with the intensity and effort by the Cougs which went missing from this game.
"“Our guys don’t realize what it takes to compete every night,” Washington State Coach Donnie Marbut said. “There was not one part of the game that we did well tonight.”"
A review of the 9th inning encapsulates the game. WSU failed to turn a double play to get out of the inning trailing just 8-7. Instead Gonzaga adds 2-runs for insurance. In the bottom of the stanza, WSU brought the tying run to the plate only to see the game end with a well turned double play.
Wednesday will be a day off for players but expect a few changes to be implemented by Coach Marbut Thursday afternoon in preparation for a weekend series at Bailey-Brayton Field in Pullman with Brown University (1-6). The Bears have yet to win a game on the road in 2013. Coach Marbut wants his squad to keep the Bears winless away from their Providence, RI campus.
WASHINGTON STATE NOTES
– Freshman Chris McDowell (6’6″, 185) made his first-collegiate start Tuesday night
– Sophomore Sam Triece pitched 3 1/3 innings of shutout relief
– Junior Adam Nelubowich collected 4-hits to raise his season average to .311
– Freshman Nick Tanielu rapped out 3-hits to lift his average to .418 on the season
– WSU amassed 15-hits against Gonzaga pitching pushing the team batting average to .324 on the season.
– By surrendering 8 earned runs to the Bulldogs, Cougar pitching now has a season ERA that has ballooned to 4.55