WSU Quarterback Spotlight 2021

We are less than 60 days until the start of the 2021 season, and a packed Martin Stadium! What better time than now to dive in to the quarterback situation going into Coach Rolo’s second year at the helm. The Cougars have a wide variety of QBs going into the fall. Currently, the depth chart lists five possible candidates for the leader of the offense. Here is a deeper look at each one, with a prediction for starter at the end of the article!

Sophomore #4 Jayden de Laura

  • College stats (2020): 78/129, 886 pass yards, five pass TDs, four INTs, 34 rush yards, two rush TDs

In four starts in his true freshman year last season, de Laura did what he could. Starting during a pandemic year, under a first-year head coach, after getting limited time to practice, and being a freshman were all of the hurdles that the Hawaiian had to jump. His best game was surprisingly his first one, against Oregon State back in November of last year. After that performance, people finally saw the human side of de Laura, where he struggled a bit with turnovers and deep ball completions. Jayden was arrested on a misdemeanor DUI charge back in February and was then suspended indefinitely from the program and missed spring ball.

Redshirt Junior #2 Cammon Cooper

  • College stats (2020): 11/16, 99 pass yards

Cooper will be going into his third season with WSU as a redshirt junior. The only playing time he has seen was when de Laura struggled towards the end of last year’s four-game season. Cooper, a lefty, is a large frame (6’4, 208 lbs) with speed as a scrambler and can throw well on the run.

Graduate Transfer #18 Jarrett Guarantano

  • College stats (2017-2020): 494/808, 6,174 pass yards, 38 pass TDs, 17 INTs, five rush TDs

Guarantano has been the starting quarterback at the University of Tennessee for the past three seasons. He stands at 6’4 and weighs 230 lbs. In 13 games in 2019, JG started every one, throwing for 2,158 yards to go along with 16 TDs. But Volunteer fans were upset that he never really had a “breakout” season. In his seven starts in 2020, he had only six passing touchdowns and four interceptions.

Sophomore #10 Victor Gabalis

Rolovich quoting Gabalis as the “dark horse” in the QB battle post-spring ball. A sophomore quarterback who has a grand opportunity to gain a scholarship later in his career after coming on as a preferred walk-on.

Freshman #16 Xavier Ward

Participated in his first spring ball a few months ago. Ward has the least amount of collegiate experience, but his high school did have a similar “Run ‘n Shoot” offensive scheme.

Summary: Despite de Laura starting all four games under head coach Nick Rolovich in 2020, he did happen to miss all of spring ball due to his suspension. Jarrett Guarantano has played 41 collegiate games, with 32 of those as a starter in the SEC. He had a solid spring but was hurt in the crimson and gray game. The injury was not long-term, and he retuned to practice only three days later. With de Laura’s absence in spring ball, Guarantano had the chance to showcase his skills in the new scheme, where he has abilities scrimmaging, throwing on the run, and decision-making.

Prediction:

Starter – Jarrett Guarantano

Second-string – Jayden de Laura

Third-string – Cammon Cooper

(Photo via WSU Athletics)

Huskies Bow Down to Cougars, WSU Wins Apple Cup Series

Washington State finished their 2021 season on a high note, taking down the rival Huskies in two out of three games. The Cougars concluded their season with a 26-23 overall record, their first winning record since 2015. In conference play, WSU won 13 games, which was also their most since 2014. After a few games originally scheduled against UW were postponed in March, the games were played these last few days in Pullman. It is always nice to win against the Huskies, and it is certainly big things ahead for Brian Green’s squad. Here is a recap of the season’s last series win against UW.

Game 1: WSU 8 – 1 UW

Junior Brandon White ended his solid pitching season on a very strong note. White (6-4, W) went six innings of three-hit ball, allowing one run (unearned) on six strikeouts. Michael Newstrom came in and worked two scoreless innings, adding onto his season-leading total in appearances.

Senior third baseman Jack Smith continued his success in game one. Smith was 3-4 at the dish, with two RBIs and a run scored. Second baseman Preston Clifford went big fly for hist first on the season. Left fielder Nate Swarts (two doubles, two RBIs) and short stop Kodie Kolden (RBI) both had multiple hits. Speaking about Kodie Kolden, he was named a Brooks Wallace Award semifinalist (1 of 30), an award given to the best shortstop in the nation.

Game 2: WSU 7 – 14 UW

Cougars dropped the middle game by a touchdown on Friday. Zane Mills was Friday’s starter, who finished his year at an even 5-5 record. He was only able to go three innings, giving up six earned on six hits. Walks killed the Cougars in this one. Throughout the five pitchers used, 13 walks were issued to the Huskies. Three defensive errors were also committed by the Cougs.

Despite the loss, five Cougar hitters recorded multi-hit games. Kodie Kolden, Kyle Manzardo, Jacob McKeon (two RBIs), Nate Swarts and Preston Clifford all had two base hits on the day.

Game 3: WSU 9 – 1 UW

A sunny season finale went the Cougars way in front of 560 faithful fans. A masterpiece on both sides of the ball was a great way for WSU to finish their solid, much-improved season.

It was Taylor Grant who started and got the win for the Cougs. Finishing his season with an undefeated 3-0 record, he went five plus innings, allowing one earned on four hits, striking out four Huskies. Three relievers were used in the finale, shutting out UW (which is always a beautiful thing to say).

Outfielder Collin Montez and designated hitter Tristan Peterson were the stars of Saturday’s midday show. They each tallied three base hits, and a double. Peterson and Kyle Manzardo had two RBIs, respectively.

Season Standout: Offense

Junior Kyle Manzardo – .365 avg, .640 slug %, 43 runs, 72 hits, 19 doubles, 11 home runs, 60 rbi

Season Standout: Starter

Junior Zane Mills – 5-5, 4.15 era, cg, 80.1 ip, 83 so, 50 runs (37 earned), 22 bb

Season Standout: Reliever

Senior Michael Newstrom – 2-1, 2.89 era, 34 app, 28.0 ip, 32 so, 17 bb

(Photo via WSU Athletics)

Cougars Take One from Trojans, Lose Series in Los Angeles

After losing the final two against UCLA and dropping the non-conference game to Portland, WSU headed to the Golden State, to take on a tough USC team. The Cougars dropped the first two of the three-game series but salvaged one in the finale. WSU (24-22, 11-16) has one more series to go in the 2021 season and it is the Apple Cup, that will be played at home at the end of next week, into the weekend. Here is a recap of all three games against the USC Trojans.

Game 1: WSU 6 – 8 USC

The Trojans had a six-run fourth inning, and that was too much to topple, even with a late-game WSU rally.

Brandon White saw his record drop to 5-4 overall after losing the opener as the starter. He went five innings, allowing six earned runs on nine hits, striking out and walking four Trojans. The bulk of USC’s runs came off of White, with two relievers doing a solid job after White’s exit, only allowing one run, and giving WSU a shot to come back.

WSU was able to bring the tying run to the plate in several late innings, but it wasn’t quite enough to overcome the eight runs that USC put up. The top three batters in the WSU lineup all put up multi-hit performances (Kodie Kolden, Kyle Manzardo, Tristan Peterson). Manzardo had two RBIs and Peterson went yard again, adding three RBIs in game one.

Game 2: WSU 2 – 3 USC

Much like game one, WSU was able to make a push at the end, putting the tying run on in the final inning, but once again, losing a close one, their fifth loss in a row.

Also like game one, the starting pitcher saw their record fall to 5-4, and this time it was Portland-native Zane Mills. He went six plus innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits, striking out six. The bullpen was strong again, keeping it close with help from Connor Barison and Michael Newstrom. Newstrom appeared for the 31st time this season, tying Matt Bower and Sam Triece for the most in WSU history.

Shortstop Kodie Kolden had himself two doubles and an RBI, right fielder Jacob McKeon had two singles and catcher Jake Meyer had an RBI single, but it was not enough in game two.

Game 3: WSU 13 – 2 USC

The finale was a great one for the Cougars. WSU put up 13 runs on 20 hits to snap their five game losing streak and gain a little momentum ahead of the UW series.

WSU starter Grant Taylor earned the win after a solid performance in game three. He went five innings of five hit ball, allowing one earned on three strikeouts and no walks. Three relievers helped the Cougars get back to their winning ways. Michael Newstrom broke the WSU record for appearances in a season with 32!

An offensive masterpiece in the finale. Kodie Kolden had four hits, three Cougars had three-hit games, and two more had two-hit games. The outfield put on a show in the contest. Left fielder Nate Swarts had three hits, including a double and four RBIs. Center fielder Collin Montez and right fielder Jacob McKeon each had two RBIs.

Up Next: WSU (24-22, 11-16) finishes the regular season against UW (17-27, 3-18) for three at home, Thursday-Saturday, May 27th-29th.

(Photo via WSU Athletics)

Cougars Win Opener, Lose Series to 16th-Ranked Bruins

It’s tough seeing so many consecutive powerhouse baseball schools in a row, and unfortunately, that is what the Cougars have seen recently. WSU faced No. 16 UCLA this weekend at Bailey-Brayton Field, where the Cougs took game one, but dropped the following two against the Bruins. WSU now sits at 23-19 overall and 10-14 in conference play. Recap of all three games over this graduation and Mother’s Day weekend down below!

Game 1: WSU 5 – 2 UCLA

A late rally helped WSU steal game one from the Bruins. On a somewhat chilly night in Pullman, the Cougars were able to break a 2-2 tie in the eight with a three-run inning.

Let’s not forget about WSU starter Brandon White on Friday. He was strong in the opener, going 6 1/3 innings, allowing six hits and two earned on three strikeouts. UCLA got their two runs on a two-run homerun by the nine-hole hitter. The bullpen was exceptional after White’s exit, consisting of 2+ innings of Michael Newstrom and Connor Barison. Both pitchers went 1 1/3 innings, not surrendering a hit. Newstrom stuck out two, and Barison struck out four, recording every out as a strikeout and earning himself the win.

It was 0-0 all the way up until the top of the fifth inning, where UCLA picked up two. In the next inning, WSU designated hitter Tristan Peterson was able to hit a two-run homer to tie it. It was Peterson’s fourth consecutive game with a home run. Then, in the bottom of the eighth, WSU was able to make things happen not only with the bats, but the eyes as well. The bases became loaded with Cougars all via three base on balls. A wild pitch and a timely two-run single by Collin Montez were the game-changing events that happened in the bottom of the eighth.

Game 2: WSU 6 – 7 UCLA

A heartbreaker in the middle game. WSU had a two-run lead going into the top of the ninth, but it was all for not after UCLA was able to come back and put up three, and eventually win the contest.

Cougar ace Zane Mills was the starter Saturday. He went 4 1/3 innings of eight-hit, three-run ball, striking out three Bruin batters. It was a big bullpen day for WSU. Out of the seven different relievers used, only one went more than a full inning. Will Sierra was given the loss in game two, where he gave up two earned on three hits in the top of the ninth. Four WSU defensive errors also didn’t help.

The Cougars were down 3-1 going into the fourth where junior first baseman Kyle Manzardo went yard for a three-run homer, giving the Cougs the lead. It was his team-leading 11th home run on the year, and it also happened to be 444 feet. Jake Meyer also found his stride in game two. Meyer went 2-3 with two doubles, including one in the bottom of the eighth which at the time, put WSU up two on UCLA. Unfortunately, after the Bruins scored three in the ninth, WSU had no response offensively.

Game 3: WSU 7 – 16 UCLA

An eventful, neck-and-neck first few innings led to a UCLA blowout in the series finale.

Ethan Ross was the finale starter. He was not able to surpass two innings, where he gave up four runs (three earned) on three hits and three walks. It was, however, tied 4-4 when he exited. Brody Barnum was tagged with the loss Sunday, where he gave up two runs in the third, and UCLA did not stop rolling after Barnum’s day was done. The Bruins rattled off 16 runs on 16 hits in the contest. Three WSU defensive errors also played a large factor in the Cougar’s second consecutive loss

Despite losing the game, the offense was there for the Cougars. Tristan Peterson was able to homer for the fifth time in six games. Third baseman Jack Smith had two hits. Jacob McKeon (1-3, double) and Nate Swarts (1-3, single) had multiple RBI games.

Up Next: WSU (23-19, 10-14) will face the Portland Pilots for the second time this year on Tuesday, May 11th at home. After the non-conference game on Tuesday, the Cougars hit the road to SoCal, facing off with USC for three games next weekend (5/14-16).

(Photo via WSU Athletics)

Cougars go Duck Hunting on the Palouse, Take Two of Three from No. 8 Oregon

After dropping a non-conference game to the Gonzaga Bulldogs on Tuesday, the Cougars faced off with the No. 8 Oregon Ducks over the weekend. After getting shutout on Friday, WSU was able to take down the Ducks on Saturday and Sunday. The Cougars now sit at 21-17 overall and 9-12 in conference play. Here is a recap of the weekend series against Oregon.

Game 1: WSU 0 – 13 Oregon

Tough start to a sunny weekend in Pullman. Oregon came out firing on all cylinders Friday night, shutting out WSU, while also putting up two touchdowns, but missing an extra point.

The game was scoreless heading into the third inning, where Oregon’s powerhouse offense put up five, and then eight more in the following five innings. Junior RHP Brandon White (5-3) was WSU’s starter in the opener. Through three innings, he gave up seven runs, four earned, on six hits, walking three. The bullpen was not much help after White’s exit. Collectively, the pen gave up six earned runs after the third inning.

WSU was able to put up ten hits but leaving eight runners on base did not help. Senior Collin Montez and junior Kyle Manzardo each had multi-hit games

Game 2: WSU 11 – 1 Oregon

Big time bounce back game for the Cougars on Saturday afternoon. Zane Mills, after tossing a complete game against Cal a week ago, had another gem. Five homeruns by the Cougars also played somewhat of a factor in the upset win.

Portland-native Zane Mills improved his record to 5-3 after beating the eighth-ranked team that is about 100 miles to the south of his home town. Mills went seven-plus innings, striking out six, while only allowing one earned. Relievers Michael Newstrom and Connor Barison helped seal the deal after Mills’ day was done.

The Cougars really got to Oregon stater Cullen Kafka. Shortstop Kodie Kolden got after the first pitch of the ballgame and hit it out of the ballpark. In the second inning. First baseman Kyle Manzardo and designated hitter Tristan Peterson both put one out, ending up in a five-run Cougar inning. The other two home runs came from freshman second baseman Kyle Russell in the fourth and catcher Jake Meyer in the sixth. Five WSU hitters had multi-hit games (Kolden, Manzardo, Peterson, Collin Montez, Jack Smith). As if you did not assume already, the offensive player of the game was junior Kyle Manzardo. He was a single-shy of the cycle, with five RBIs and two runs scored.

Game 3: WSU 11 – 6 Oregon

The Cougars won the series against Oregon Sunday evening backed by solid pitching and outstanding hitting. It’s the first time since 2016 that the Cougars won a series against a top-ten team!

Dakota Hawkins got the start on the mound for WSU in game three. He only went two innings, and it was Taylor Grant who earned his first win on the season. Grant pitched four innings, only giving up one earned run, striking out five Ducks. A total of six Cougar pitchers were used Sunday.

Six of the nine WSU hitters had multi-hit games. Catcher Jake Meyer and centerfielder Collin Montez both accounted for three hits. Montez has a double and a home run. The other home run came from designated hitter Tristan Peterson, who had two RBIs on the day.

Up Next: WSU (21-17, 9-12) stays put in Pullman for some time. They get Seattle U on Wednesday (5/5), and then a three-game conference series against the UCLA Bruins next weekend, (5/7-9).

(Photo via WSU Athletics)

Cougars Win on the Road, Take Two of Three from the Golden Bears

A three-game conference series win for WSU in northern California this past weekend, their first series win at Cal since 2015. After falling by a run in the first game, the Cougars were able to win two straight backed by several phenomenal pitching performances. After winning the series, WSU moved to 19-15 overall and 7-11 in Pac-12 play. Here is a recap of all three games from Berkley.

Game 1: WSU 2 – 3 Cal

The game was all tied-up at zeros until the fifth, where both WSU and Cal each scored a run. The Cougars were able to put one more run on the board in the top of the eighth, but yet again, Cal responded with two more runs of their own in the bottom half of the same frame. WSU was not able to score in the ninth and lost the series-opener by a run.

Brandon White got the start for the Cougars, and he was solid through five and a third. He allowed only one run, which was not earned, six hits and six strikeouts. It was a big bullpen day for WSU, where after white, six more pitchers were used, where none of them went more than a full inning. Michael Newstrom was tagged with the loss in game one, where he gave up two unearned runs in the eighth. Cal’s three unearned runs were scored on an error, a hit-by-pitch and sacrifice fly.

WSU was able to out-hit Cal 8-7. First baseman Kyle Manzardo, designated hitter Tristan Peterson and catcher Jake Meyer all had multi-hit performances. Manzardo and outfielder Justin Van De Brake each had an RBI in the opener, both coming by way of a single to right field.

Game 2: WSU 4 – 2 Cal

It was all about junior RHP Zane Mills in game two, who absolutely tore up the Golden Bears in a complete game effort.

Mills’ record improved to 4-3 overall on the season. He went all nine innings, giving up six hits, on two earned runs and ten strikeouts. Mills had only two walks on the contest, and one was intentional. The two runs given up by Zane were given up in the bottom of the eighth, meaning he held Cal scoreless for seven innings. His ERA now sits at 3.81, but what is a more impressive stat on Mills this season is his K/BB rate, which after his complete game, is 5/1.

The Cougars rattled off 14 base hits in this one. Shortstop Kodie Kolden (RBI), first baseman Kyle Manzardo (two RBIs) and third baseman Jack Smith all recorded three hits of their own in the second of three against Cal. Freshman Kyle Russell had the other/first RBI on the game, where he doubled in the top of the second to get the scoring chart active for WSU.

Game 3: WSU 4 – 3 Cal

Dakota Hawkins was strong in the finale, and some timely hitting helped WSU win their second consecutive conference game.

Hawkins (3-5) got the win as the starter Sunday night. He went five innings, three hits, three earned runs, striking out five, and walking none. The bullpen was untouchable in game three. Michael Newstrom and Grant Taylor (save) went four innings, one hit and six Ks, and yet again, no walks surrendered.

WSU jumped out to a 3-0 lead after four innings and got their winning run in the fifth. Shortstop Kodie Kolden went 2-4 with a double, and infielder Jacob McKeon went 1-3 with a double and two RBIs. The Cougars four runs came off of a throwing error in the third, McKeon’s two-run double in the fourth and a fielder’s choice by Collin Montez in the fifth.

Up Next: WSU (19-5, 7-11) heads to Spokane, where they will take on Gonzaga Tuesday (4/27), and then heads 80 miles south to Pullman to face the Oregon Ducks for three next weekend at Bailey Brayton (4/30 – 5/2).

(Photo via Cal Athletics)

Cougars Take One of Three From 13th-Ranked Arizona

The Cougars took on Arizona this past weekend in sunny Pullman. WSU shocked the No. 13 team in the nation in game one with an offensive masterpiece. Game two and three saw more of a level battle with Arizona winning both games. WSU’s record now sits at 17-14 overall, 5-10 in conference play. Here is a recap of all three conference games against Arizona.

Game 1: WSU 21- 2 Arizona

A blowout against a strong Arizona ball club was not expected by most, but the Cougars dropped a 21-spot on the Wildcats to take game one of the three-game series. The offense was phenomenal, but let’s not forget the gem spun by starter Brandon White and company.

White’s record improved to 5-2 after going five plus innings, striking out three, and only giving up two runs. Three other Cougar relievers worked together to shutout the Wildcats after White exited.

Now let’s dive into one of the best offensive performances WSU has seen in quite some time. WSU collectively had 23 base-hits, tying for the sixth-most in program history, the most since 2010. WSU scored 15 runs in the first three innings. Overall, the 21 runs scored by the Cougars tied the ninth-most runs in school history, and the most against a Pac-12 school since 2002.

Chase Silseth, Arizona’s starting pitcher, was handed his first lost on the season at the hand of the Cougs. Third baseman Jack Smith had his best career day, going 4-4 with two doubles and three RBIs. Jacob McKeon (two doubles, HR, six RBIs), Kyle Russell (double, two RBIs), Jake Meyer (triple, double, RBI) and Justin Van De Brake (three RBIs) all collected three hits. Collin Montez and Kodie Kolden both had two hits of their own and five RBIs combined.

Game 2: WSU 8 – 13 Arizona

Arizona got back to their winning ways on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. The Cougars got off to a strong start and were up 2-0 in the second inning, but Arizona was able to tie it up and run away with it throughout the remainder of the contest.

Starter Zane Mills was tagged with the loss in this one, evening his record as a pitcher at 3-3. He went five and a third innings, allowing eight earned runs on 11 hits, striking out seven. Michael Newstrom was solid in relief, but Connor Barison was not able to put away the Wildcats in a close late-game contest, giving up five in the ninth.

Justin Van De Brake (2-4) and Collin Montez both went yard in the second inning. Jake Meyer scored and walked twice. Kodie Kolden, Kyle Manzardo and Van De Brake all had doubles in game two of three.

Game 3: WSU 8 – 14 Arizona

Eerily similar to game two, a second consecutive slugfest at Bailey Brayton went the Wildcat’s way again in the series finale. Pitching for the Cougars was mediocre at best, and even though WSU’s bats were solid, Arizona’s hitters were thriving as well.

Tyler Hoeft got the nod as the starter. He gave up three earned runs in only two and a third innings. It was Dakota Hawkins who was given the loss in the finale. It was the long ball that hurt the Cougars, giving up four on the game (two solo, two two-run homeruns)

Justin Van De Brake and Tristan Peterson were the two standouts on the offensive side. Van De Brake had five RBIs, including a three-run homer which brought the game within three runs in the eighth inning. Peterson went 3-4, scoring three times. Every WSU player recorded at least one hit in the game except for pinch hitter Keith Jones II, who only got one at-bat.

Up Next: WSU (17-15, 5-10) heads to Berkley to take on the California Golden Bears (18-16, 5-7) for a three-game series next weekend.

(Photo via WSU Athletics)

Successful Business Trip to Utah, WSU Victorious Against Wolverines and Utes

WSU began their four game road set with a game against Utah Valley, and then travelled around 45 minutes south to Salt Lake City to take on the Utah Utes for three. The Cougars were able to handle the Wolverines of Utah Valley in the mid-season non-conference showdown, and then take two out of three from Utah. WSU moved to 16-11 overall and 4-8 in Pac-12 play.

WSU 5 – 3 Utah Valley

Kyle Manzardo has certainly hit his stride again, which helped back WSU against the Utah Valley Wolverines. He went 2-4 with a two-run home run. Other WSU batters that provided help to the pitching staff were right fielder Collin Montez who also went 2-4 and third baseman Jack Smith who had two RBIs.

After the Cougs were able to put up three in the first inning, the WSU pitching staff held their own, using eight different guys. Freshman RHP Duke Brotherton got the start on the bump, but it was a different Freshman, Tyler Hoeft who earned his first career win. Hoeft went three and a third innings surrendering only one hit, giving up zero runs. Redshirt-junior RHP Will Sierra earned his first career save, getting the last Wolverine batter out with multiple men on base. WSU pitching as a whole: nine strikeouts on two earned runs.

Game 1: WSU 12- 7 Utah

Brandon White bounced back with a victory as the starter, improving to 4-2 on the season. White went six innings, six hits, four runs to go along with six strikeouts, walking four. Three other WSU pitchers were used to help take game one.

The game was scoreless through the first two innings until WSU’s offense began to chip away and take care of Utah in the series-opener. Senior Jack Smith and Freshman Kyle Russell (three RBIs) both had three-hit ballgames. Shortstop Kodie Kolden, first baseman Kyle Manzardo, and designated hitter Tristan Peterson all had two RBIs. WSU was able to score in five straight innings, lasting from the third to the seventh.

Game 2: WSU 7 – 10 Utah

Errors killed WSU in game two. The Cougars had five of them throughout the game, including two in the seventh, where the Utes were able to put up a seven spot on starter Zane Mills. Mills got the nod in game two, where his record dropped to 3-2. He went six and two thirds innings, giving up nine hits, striking out seven and surrendering nine runs, where none of them were earned. In fact, the final run was unearned for Utah as well, so the defensive miscues from WSU really came back to bite them, despite a sold offensive showing.

Center fielder Justin Van De Brake had a two-run home run, designated hitter Tristan Peterson and right fielder Collin Montez both had two-hit games, but once again, it was the defensive errors that hurt the most. One could probably guess that head coach Brian Greene was not all that pleased with his players after game two.

Game 3: WSU 5 – 3 Utah

Dakota Hawkins, Tyler Hoeft, Kodie Kolden, Kyle Manzardo and Collin Montez were the standouts who helped propel WSU to their first road, conference series win of the 2021 season.

Hoeft was the starting pitcher for WSU, and Hawkins did the majority of the relief duties in the finale. Together, those two went seven innings, allowing six hits, two earned runs while striking out four Ute batters. Hawkins got the win, and Caden Kaelber tallied his first save of the season, stranding two Utah base runners on second and third in the bottom of the ninth with a game-ending strikeout.

WSU got off to a good start, putting two on the board in the top half of the first. Kolden and Manzardo each tallied two base hits and scored twice. Despite going 0-4 at the dish, Montez had two RBIs. Two Utah errors also helped out the Cougars on offense.

Up Next: WSU (16-11, 4-8) heads back to Pullman, where they will face Gonzaga for a non-conference showdown Tuesday, and then a home, conference series against the Arizona Wildcats next weekend. With fans being admitted at low-capacity, and temperatures in the 70s this upcoming weekend, look for more positive momentum to head WSU’s way after leaving the state of Utah with a 3-1 record.

(Photo via WSU Athletics)

Cougars Take One of Three from Cardinal in Pullman

A walk-off hit-by-pitch helped WSU salvage one of the three games against the No. 24 Stanford Cardinal. The first two games went Stanford’s way, but before hitting the road again Wednesday, WSU was able to snag a conference win yesterday in unique fashion. The Cougars moved to 13-10 overall, and 2-7 in conference play.

Game 1: WSU 3 – 18 STAN

The even 100 fans in attendance at Bailey-Brayton saw an offensive masterpiece, but from the wrong side. Stanford had a total of 22 hits, helping them push a sizeable 18 runs across the plate compared to WSU’s three-run showing.

Brandon White got the nod for the Cougars in game one, where his record dropped to 3-2 overall. White went five innings, giving up seven earned runs on 12 Cardinal hits. Out of the four Cougar pitchers used in game one, none of them were able to give up less than three earned runs apiece.

A pair of WSU outfielders showed some hope for the offense in Thursday evening’s game, but that was about it. Senior Collin Montez had a two-run home run, and junior Jacob McKeon went 2-4 at the dish. Unfortunately for junior Kyle Manzardo, his on-base streak came to an end at 43 consecutive games after failing to reach base, going 0-4.

Game 2: WSU 5 – 7 STAN

Despite Stanford having four defensive errors, a three-run ninth inning helped push the Cardinal enough to take game two. WSU had themselves a one-run lead going into the ninth, but Stanford second baseman Tommy Troy hit a two-run homer off of Dakota Hawkins in the top of the ninth. That proved too little too late for the Cougars, who were not able to produce in the last half inning.

Zane Mills started for WSU on the mound, where he went seven innings, giving up four runs on seven hits. He did have ten strikeouts (third time in career), which is quite impressive versus a powerhouse offensive team in Stanford. Dakota Hawkins was tagged with the loss in the game, moving his record down to 1-4 on the season.

Kyle Manzardo got back on track in game two, going yard in the bottom of the first, which was his seventh on the season. Tristan Peterson had two hits of his own, including the go-ahead RBI single in the bottom of the seventh.

Game 3: WSU 10 – 9 STAN (F/10)

Down 8-3, WSU was able to push across five in the fifth inning, and eventually win the series finale after Tristan Peterson was hit by the first pitch he saw in the tenth, scoring Kyle Manzardo as the game-winning run.

It appears Manzardo bounced back after snapping his on-base streak in game one. After homering in game two, he went 3-4 with two doubles and two RBIs in the final game against the Cardinal. Left fielder Jacob McKeon, designated hitter Tristan Peterson and shortstop Kodie Kolden all had multi-hit games to go along with Manzardo. Those four Cougars mentioned accounted for all eight of the RBIs in the finale.

Eight WSU pitchers were used in the game, and redshirt-junior RHP Will Sierra was given the win after striking out the two batters he faced in the tenth. Altogether, WSU pitching gave up nine runs (seven earned), on ten hits, striking out 14. The outlier was the 15 walks handed to Stanford batters Saturday.

Up Next: WSU (13-10, 2-7) hits the road again to the Beehive state, as they take on Utah Valley for a non-conference show down Wednesday (4/7) and then to Salt Lake City to faceoff for three games against the Utah Utes for a Friday-Sunday series (4/9-11).

(Photo via WSU Athletics)

Poor Pitching and Quiet Bats, WSU Swept Away in the Desert

The Cougars concluded their nine-game road trip in Phoenix this past weekend, and it is a series they will love to forget about. The lengthy road trip went through the states of Oregon, Nevada and Arizona, where WSU went 3-6. They return home to Pullman with an overall record of 12-8, and 1-5 in conference play. Here is a recap of the three-game series against the 16th-ranked Arizona State Sun Devils.

Game 1: WSU 0 – 10 ASU

After a four-run first, ASU never slowed down their offensive prowess. The Sun Devils benefitted off of WSU’s pitching troubles and two defensive errors.

Junior starter Brandon White lost his first game of the season, moving his personal record to 3-1. White went five innings of nine-hit, and eight runs (seven earned), while striking out three and also walking three (with one HBP). Freshman RHP Elias Farland came in for relief of White.

WSU’s hottest hitter, junior first baseman Kyle Manzardo was scratched from the lineup with a hamstring injury. Senior right fielder Collin Montez had two hits, including a double.

Game 2: WSU 4 – 5 ASU

Like game one, ASU got out to another early lead, putting up three on WSU in the first inning. This game, unlike the series-opener, was much more of a contest. After being down 3-0 for more than half of the contest, WSU was able to take the lead in the top of the sixth, scoring four. ASU then responded with two of their own in the bottom of the eighth and halted a bases-loaded WSU threat in the ninth to close things out.

Junior starter Zane Mills was solid. He gave up three earned runs on six hits, striking out five, and only walking one Sun Devil hitter. Four other WSU relievers were used, only giving up two hits after Mills, but not striking out a single ASU batter.

In that sixth inning, Keith Jones II singled, Preston Clifford reached on a fielder’s choice and Justin Van De Brake doubled, which brought two Cougs in. But in the bottom of the eighth, ASU’s Jack Moss singled and scored one, but a fielding error on the same play brought in the winning run for the Sun Devils.

Kyle Manzardo, who pinch-hit in the ninth, reached base via an intentional walk, and broke Brady Everett’s 2005 record of 42 consecutive games on-base. He now sits at number one in the WSU record books with a 43-game on-base streak and counting.

Game 3: WSU 0 – 9 ASU

The series finale was scarily similar to the series opener. WSU was shutout and gave up nine to the Sun Devils. Also much like game one, four runs were allowed to ASU in the bottom of the first.

Junior RHP Dakota Hawkins was the starter in the final of three games. After the loss, his personal record moved to 1-3, and a 5.92 ERA. Hawkins went 5 1/3 innings, six runs (five earned) on seven hits.

The Cougars offense, much like most of the series, was dormant in the finale. WSU was only able to muster a mere two hits, which came from Arizona-native Jacob McKeon and third baseman Jack Smith. ASU pitching struck out seven Cougar hitters throughout the one-sided contest.

Up Next: The Cougars have now lost four in a row and look to rebound during next weekend’s series. WSU (12-8, 1-5) heads back to the Palouse to take on the Stanford Cardinal (13-3, 2-1) for three conference games, Thursday-Saturday (4/1-3).

(Photo via ASU Athletics)

WSU Splits Two-Game Series in Vegas

After losing the series to Oregon State, Washington State continued their lengthy road trip in the Sin City against the UNLV Rebels on Tuesday and Wednesday for some non-conference action. The Cougs took Tuesday’s game, but dropped the series finale Wednesday. Nevertheless, WSU improves their record to 12-5.

Game 1: WSU 10 – 5 UNLV

WSU improved their overall record to 12-4 for the first time since 2008. UNLV put up the first run of the game in the bottom of the first, but WSU’s offense and pitching teamed up well on the Rebels and the Cougs took game one of the short, two game road series.

Redshirt-junior catcher Jake Meyer hit a go-ahead two-run home run to help propel WSU to their 12th win on the season. Sophomore second baseman Preston Clifford had two hits of his own, and junior first baseman Kyle Manzardo got on base via a single, extending his on-base streak to 41 consecutive games, which is now just one behind Brady Everett’s record of 42 (2005).

Sophomore RHP Grant Taylor made his season debut Tuesday as the starter, but it was sophomore LHP Ethan Ross who got the win. Altogether, six WSU pitchers struck out ten UNLV Rebels, allowing five earned runs over the nine innings.

Game 2: WSU 8 – 15 UNLV

Pitching woes killed the Cougs in the series finale. During the second and third innings, WSU pitching gave up nine runs on five walks and six hits. No Cougar pitcher was able to go more than two innings in game two, where eight were used in total. Those eight gave up 14 total walks to Rebel hitters.

After three, WSU was down 9-1. But thanks to some WSU offense, the Cougs came back and almost retook the lead with a six-run fifth, but due to the pitching struggles, game two was too far out of reach. Despite the loss, junior first baseman Kyle Manzardo was able to tie Brady Everett’s record of 42 consecutive games on-base. Infielders Gunner Gouldmsith and Kyle Manzardo and outfielders Keith Jones II and Collin Montez all tallied multi-hit games.

Up Next: WSU (12-5, 1-2) finishes the nine-game road trip in Tempe, facing the Arizona State Sun Devils (12-5, 4-2) for three conference games. Those three games will be played Friday-Sunday (3/26 – 28) on the Pac-12 Networks.

(Photo via WSU Athletics)

WSU Loses First Series of 2021, Going 1-2 Against No.18 Oregon State

After beating Portland on Wednesday, the Cougs continued their road series this past weekend in Corvallis, facing off against the 18th ranked Oregon State Beavers. WSU lost their first series of the season, but they did take one game from OSU, which is the first time beating the Beavers since 2016, and first win in Corvallis since 2013.

Game 1: WSU 5 – 2 OSU

After first pitch was delayed for more than an hour Friday, the game was eventually played, and for the first time since 2006, WSU was able to improve to 11-2.

Starter Brandon White was dominant yet again, improving his personal overall record to 3-0. Going seven innings (perfect game through five and 5 2/3), while only giving up three hits and striking out seven, White’s ERA now sits at 2.49. Also pitching in this win over the Beavers were Dakota Hawkins and Owen Leonard, who each went one inning to help close it out.

Designated hitter Tristan Peterson and right fielder Collin Montez each had three hit games. Center fielder Justin Van De Brake had a two-run shot and first baseman Kyle Manzardo had two doubles, extending his on-base streak to 38 games, tying Jason Freeman for second most all time in program history.

Game 2: WSU 3 – 10 OSU

Shortstop Kodie Kolden (2-5, HR), designated hitter Tristan Peterson and left fielder Jacob McKeon (2-4, HR) each had multiple hits for the Cougs, but it certainly was not enough to combat the Beaver bats.

First basemen Kyle Manzardo was able to extend his on-base streak to 39 consecutive games, solidifying his spot at second all time in program history, three behind Brady Everett’s record-42 game streak set in 2005.

Starter Zane Mills (3-1) struggled in this one and dropped his first game of the season on the bump. Mills went 3 1/3 allowing seven earned runs on eight hits and three walks. Freshman RHP Kolby Kmetko threw three solid innings in relief of Mills, striking out two, allowing one earned.

Game 3: WSU 8 – 9 OSU

With game three came an offensive shootout favoring the Beavers after OSU shortstop Andy Armstrong hit a game winning solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Senior third baseman Jack Smith went 3-5 on the rainy Sunday, and Kyle Manzardo extended his on-base streak to 40 games after hitting an RBI double in the third inning. Left fielder Jacob McKeon and right fielder Collin Montez each had two RBIs.

WSU went with a “pitcher-by-committee” type game. Junior RHP Connor Barrison got the nod, but it was redshirt-junior RHP Will Sierra who struggled in this one. In just over an inning, he surrendered four earned runs on four hits and two walks to the Beaver hitters.

Up Next: WSU (11-4, 1-2) continues their road trip in Vegas against UNLV for a quick two-game, non-conference series. Both games will be at 12:05 on Tuesday (3/23) and Wednesday (3/24).

(Photo via WSU Athletics)

WSU Opens Nine-Game Road Trip with 6-4 Victory over Portland

After having to sit out the series against Seattle U and UW last weekend and having the games postponed, WSU baseball was back in action with the Portland Pilots Wednesday for a quick non-conference game at Joe Etzel Field in Portland, Oregon.

The final score was 6-4 in favor of the Cougs. Improving to a 10-2 overall record, it is WSU’s best start to a season since 2010.

Senior Third baseman Jack Smith, junior first baseman Kyle Manzardo and senior right fielder Collin Montez all had multiple hits. Manzardo (RBI) and Montez (3 RBIs) homered as one of their two hits on the game. It is Montez’s fourth and Manzardo’s sixth on the early 2021 season.

Speaking about Kyle Manzardo, even though his hit streak came to an end against Seattle U, his on-base streak was extended to 37 games, which is tied for the third longest in WSU baseball history.

Redshirt-junior RHP Will Sierra got the win for WSU, as junior Dakota Hawkins was able to achieve the save after striking out three of the five Pilot hitters he faced. Sierra went three innings, allowing one unearned run on seven punch outs.

Up Next: WSU continues their road trip with a tough test against Oregon State in Corvallis for the first conference games of the year. The three-game series will occur over the weekend, Friday-Sunday (3/19-3/21).

(Photo via WSU Athletics)

WSU Takes Two of Three from Seattle U in Pullman

Seattle U came into Pullman this weekend, in a series originally scheduled to play at Bannerwood Park in Bellevue. The three games were played at Bailey-Brayton Field, in front of some fans (socially-distanced, mostly family of the players and the coaching staff).

Game 1: WSU 8 – 1 Seattle U

Starting RHP Zane Mills had yet another strong outing, and the offense pulled through to help take game one of three. Mills went eight strong, striking out seven, improving his personal record to 3-0. Senior LHP Michael Newstrom came in to throw a scoreless ninth inning, his sixth appearance of the season.

RF Collin Montez and third baseman Jack Smith each had three hits, and first baseman Kyle Manzardo went yard again, extending his hit streak to 26 consecutive games. It’s Montez’s third straight three-hit game and Smith drove in two. All in all, WSU had 13 hits.

Game 2: WSU 14 – 7 Seattle U

WSU was up early, hit somewhat of a rough patch, but eventually found their offensive groove, propelling them to a record of 9-1. This equaled their best start since 2010, and it was also their third straight series win for the first time since 2008.

OF Justin Van De Brake and catcher Jake Meyer both had three hits and two RBIs. Yet again, first baseman Kyle Manzardo collected two hits and two runs batted in, moving him to 27 straight games with at least one base hit. He trails only Shawn Stevenson’s program record of 28 games with a hit, which was set during the 1997-98 seasons. SS Kodie Kolden was injured in the game, and Freshman IF Gunner Gouldsmith came in strong with two hits, scoring twice and driving in one. The Cougs tied a season-high 16 hits in this one.

Starting RHP Brandon White struggled a bit in this one. He went only 3 2/3, giving up five earned to the Redhawks. Senior reliever Bryce Moyle earned the win in this one, pumping 2 2/3 scoreless innings, striking out five Seattle U hitters.

Game 3: Seattle U 6 – 2 WSU

A stout pitching performance from Seattle U quiets WSU’s bats, and the Redhawks take the final game of the home series. Unfortunately for Junior Kyle Manzardo (0-4), his “three-year hit streak” came to an end at 27 games. He will remain in second in the WSU record books for longest consecutive hit streak, falling just one short of Coug-legend Shawn Stevenson.

SU starter Morgan White got his first win of the season, holding WSU to two hits, striking out four and not giving up a run. As for WSU, starter Will Sierra didn’t succeed as well as White. Sierra went only 1 2/3, giving the Redhawks two in the first inning. Junior RHP Dakota Watkins came in for relief of Sierra, did very well, but it wasn’t enough to combat Seattle U’s pitching performance.

The bats were quiet for the Cougs in the series finale. WSU had only five hits, and three of those went to Freshman SS Gunner Gouldsmith, who is filling in for the injured Kodie Kolden. The other two hits went to Senior third baseman Jack Smith, who had an RBI single, and Freshman LF Keith Jones II. Manzardo was able to extend his on-base streak with a walk, and he did have the other RBI on a groundout.

Next Up: WSU (9-2) will head to Seattle to take on Seattle U (5-5) for two more, and then UW (4-5) for the final two games on the west-side of the state. All games will be played at Husky Stadium, March 11th-13th.

(Photo via WSU Athletics)