WSU improved to 33-18 overall with the series-clinching win and to 9-9 in the Pac-10, while Arizona, which lost by a single run for the seventh time this season, fell to 22-27 overall and 7-11 in the conference.
Tied 5-5 after six innings, the Cougars took their second lead of the day in the seventh when Travis Coulter hit a one-out triple off the glove of a diving T.J. Steele in center field, and Jay Miller followed with sinking single to right in the next at-bat to plate his teammate for the 6-5 lead.
Despite Arizona getting the tying run to second with only one out in the eighth, the one-run edge held up over the final two and half innings to hand WSU the win and the series.
Steele singled to lead off the bottom of the eighth, and Brad Boyer advanced pinch runner Hunter Pace into scoring position on a sac bunt. The rally halted at second, however, as WSU reliever Travis Webb struck out Colt Sedbrook and Jon Gaston looking to quash the threat and end the inning.
Aided by two walks and a pair of
Starter David Coulon then walked Jay Miller to place runners on first and second with one down, but appeared to get a much-needed ground out off the bat of Jared Prince. However, third baseman Sedbrook misplayed the ball for the first defensive miscue in the frame, allowing Prince to reach base, Miller to advance to third and Gran to score for a 1-0 lead.
First baseman Jim Murphy tacked on another run with a RBI-single in the next at-bat to score Miller for a 2-0 WSU edge and move Prince to third.
Coulon induced right fielder Zach McAngus into another grounder, this time to short, but junior Jason Donald dropped the ball as he transferred it from his glove to his hand for UA’s second error in the first. The fielder’s choice grounder plated Prince for a 3-0 lead, and the error extended the inning for the Cougars.
WSU took advantage, adding a run on sacrifice fly by Scott Suttmeier and another on a single by Greg Lagried for a 5-0 advantage, before reliever Matt Baugh finally got Gran to end the inning on a grounder to short.
Arizona rallied back to tie the game at 5-5 over the next six innings, scoring two in the first and single runs in the second, third and sixth innings, but WSU struck back with the game-winning run on the back-to-back one-out hits in the seventh.
WSU’s Webb (4-0), the last of six Cougar pitchers on the day, picked up his fourth win of the season after blanking the Wildcats over the final 3 1/3 innings. The left-handed
UA’s Baugh (1-1) was the tough-luck loser despite keeping the Wildcats in the game after replacing the ineffective Coulon after only 2/3 of an inning. The sophomore southpaw gave up just one run on six hits over 6 2/3 innings of solid relief, struck out two and walked none on the day.
Offensively, both schools finished the game with 11 hits. Coulter (2 for 4, R), Jay Miller (2 for 4, R, RBI) and McAngus (2 for 5, R, RBI) led the way for the Cougars, as each tallied a pair of hits. UA’s Boyer, who finished 3 for 4 with three runs scored, tied a school record by hitting three doubles on the afternoon, and Donald extended his hitting streak to 20-straight games with a run-scoring single in the first inning. He finished the game 2 for 5 with two RBI.