Feb. 2, 2001
LAS VEGAS - The Washington State Cougar baseball team Friday could not find the offense needed to beat UNLV in the late innings Friday afternoon, as the Cougs lost 9-7 at Earl E. Martin Field to open the weekend series against the Rebels.
"I was pleased at all of our defense, our offense batted well and the top of the order got on base, " WSU head coach Tim Mooney said. "We just need better starting pitching, pitchers that can take us throught the sixth inning."
WSU's offense was hot early, as Mike Knight belted a grand slam with two outs in the first inning to quickly put the Cougs ahead 4-0. It was Knight's first home run of his college career.
In the second, Bookie Gates drove in Van Delos Santos with two outs to put WSU up 5-2. In the third, UNLV answered with two more runs thanks to a Trent Kitsch triple that hit off the right field fence to make it a tight 5-4 game.
After no scoring by either team in the fourth, the Rebels opened up the game by scoring five runs in the fifth inning. Left fielder Brent Johnson sent a Zach Fisher pitch over the fence for a two run blast to start the scoring, and four batters later, junior pitcher Kevin Spaulding walked Kitsch with the bases loaded, pushing the UNLV to 7-4. After Garrett Alwert relieved Spaulding, Joe Jacobitz finished the Rebel rally in the next at-bat with a two-out, two-run single off to give the home team all the runs needed for the win.
Alwert shut down the Rebel bats the rest of the way, giving up only two more hits in the final three innings to give the Cougar offense a chance at a comeback.
"Alwert did a good job coming in and closing out the game," Mooney said.
Evan Hecker tried to start something offensively for the Cougs in the sixth inning, sending a blast over the right field fence to cut the lead to three runs. The home run was Hecker's fourth hit of a five-hit day in which he was never retired and ended the day a triple away from the cycle.
"Evan Hecker did a great job defensively and offensively for us," Mooney said.
First baseman Stefan Bailie lead off the ninth with his third home run in as many games, but a game-ending double-play by UNLV ended the Cougars' hopes for a dramatic come-from-behind victory.
WSU (1-4) 410 001 001 - 7 13 1
UNLV (1-0) 202 050 00x - 9 9 2
Justin Cayetano (1), Zach Fisher (3), Kevin Spaulding, Garrett Alwert (5) and Jon Baeder (1), Brandon Reddinger (8).
Giovanni Pupo (1), C.J. Martin (6), Jake Gann (8), and Brad Beasley.
W - Pupo (1-0), L - Spaulding (0-1), S - None, HR - Knight (1), Hecker (1), Bailie (3), Johnson (1).
T - 3:04, A -370. WSU Hits - Hecker 5, Robertson, Gates, Bailie 2, Boston, Knight 3.
UNLV Hits - Ruiz, Cruz 3, Kitsch, Jacobitz 2, Beasley, Johnson.
E - Delos Santos (2), Strong (1), Johnson (1). 2B - Hecker, Beaseley. 3B - Kitsch.