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Cougs Blank Cats In Pac-12 Opener
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 03/16/2012
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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March 16, 2012

Washington State 6, Arizona 0 (Box Score)

TUCSON, Ariz. - Washington State received a strong pitching performance from starter J.D. Leckenby and three Cougar hurlers combined to shut out No. 6 Arizona in the Pac-12 opener for both schools before a crowd of 2,306 at Hi Corbett Field on Friday night.

Arizona (14-4, 0-1 Pac-12) entered the weekend with the top batting average among conference teams, but was held to just seven hits by the Cougar pitching staff. Meanwhile, Washington State (10-6, 1-0 Pac-12) used a balanced 11-hit offensive attack to score single runs in six different innings en route to the shutout.

Leckenby (3-2) struck out four and limited the Wildcats to five hits in 6.2 innings pitched to earn the win. Relievers Richie Ochoa and Kellen Camus tossed the final 2.2 innings with just two hits allowed to preserve the shutout.

The Cougars came out swinging from the get-go against Arizona ace Kurt Heyer (4-1), collecting at least one hit in the first eight innings. Two hits came in the first inning, including the second when Derek Jones ripped a two-out, RBI double to stake the visitors to an early 1-0 lead.

An inning later, Tommy Richards led off with a double and scored on an RBI groundout by Patrick Claussen to tack on another. In the third, Adam Nelubowich's sacrifice fly plated Jason Monda, who opened the frame with a single, to drive in a third run.

In the fourth, Ian Sagdal reached on an error and scored on a single by Claussen, who picked up his second RBI. By then, it was a 4-0 advantage for WSU.

That was plenty of run support for Leckenby and the Cougar pitching staff, which, with the help of three double plays, kept the UA hitters from ever mounting a serious rally. In fact, the Wildcats were just 1-for-14 at the plate with runners on base, including 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.

The Cougars kept the pressure on the Wildcats, scoring single runs in the fourth, seventh and eighth innings to put the game away. Arizona's only real threat in the late innings came in the seventh with two runners on, but the third double play of the game ended the inning.

The two schools will conclude the three-game series on Saturday, as forecasted rain on Sunday prompted officials to schedule a double-header. The first game Saturday will begin at 1 p.m. (MST), with the second slated to start at 6 p.m. (MST).

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