PULLMAN, Wash. – Western Carolina (4-2) tallied three times in the top of the first on two hits, a walk and a Washington State (1-5) error. The Cougars roared back to take a 5-3 lead with three runs in the first and two more in the second.
Trek Stemp led off the home half of the first with a single. He took second on a sacrifice by Collin Slaybaugh while an error allowed Slaybaugh to reach. A wild pitch moved both runners up and Nick Tanielu drove in the first run with an infield single. Yale Rosen was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Patrick McGrath grounded into a double play as Slaybaugh scored and Jason Monda capped the rally with an RBI-single.
In the second, Ben Roberts walked, took second on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Trace Tam Sing. Tanielu drove Tam Sing in with a two-out double.
The Catamounts responded with three runs on four hits in the third against Cougar starter Tanner Chleborad (0-1) to take a 6-5 lead. Western Carolina tacked on a run against Chleborad in the fourth and added another off reliever Joe Pistorese in the sixth. Pistorese went five innings, struck out six and gave up just the one run on two hits.
Washington State threatened in the seventh with runners at first and third with one out, but did not cut into the lead. In the eighth, Stemp singled and Slaybaugh tripled to close within 8-6. The Cougars loaded the bases with two outs, but Colton Davis, Western Carolina’s sixth pitcher of the game, fanned freshman Luke Stratman to end the inning. The Cougars stranded 13 runners in the game.
Davis worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his first save to preserve the victory for starter Jordan Smith (1-1). The series continues at noon, Sunday.