May 16, 2006
SPOKANE, Wash. - Jay Miller became only the second player in Cougar baseball history to collect 300 hits thanks to a ninth inning double as Washington State University defeated Gonzaga, 11-5, in a nonconference game Tuesday afternoon at Avista Stadium.
With the win the Cougars improve to 34-18 on the season and they take the season series against Gonzaga, 4-3. The Bulldogs fall to 28-24 overall.
Fittingly, Miller's milestone hit came via a double, his 26th this season, leading off the ninth inning. Miller now sits just four hits shy of Mike Kinkade's school record of 304. Miller also trails Kinkade by three on the career doubles list with 72.
Following seven hours in airports Tuesday morning on their return from a three-game series against Arizona in Tucson, the Cougars wasted little time getting on the scoreboard. Paul Gran and Travis Coulter led off the top of the first with back-to-back singles, the latter extending Coulter's hitting streak to a Cougar-season-best 17 games. After an out and a walk to load the bases, Jim Murphy singled home both runners for the 2-0 lead.
Three more hits to lead off the second produced another run. Garrett Kimbrel starting things with a double to the gap in right-center then came home on Mike Gilbert's RBI single up the middle. Gran followed with a double off the wall in right but was stranded on second as Bulldog starter Brandon Harmon retired the next three hitters to get out of the inning.
Gonzaga answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third. With two outs and runners at first and second, Darin Holcomb and Scott Campbell produced RBI singles, cutting the Cougar lead to 3-2. Gonzaga tied it in the fourth on back-to-back doubles by Dustin Colclough and Ryan Wiegand.
WSU regained the lead in the fifth with three runs courtesy of three doubles. Jay Miller led off with a double to right then scored on Jared Prince's RBI single. After a Murphy double put runners at second and third, Kimbrel doubled down the line in right, bringing home two more as the Cougars took a 6-3 lead. In the bottom of the inning the Bulldogs put two more on the board as Shawn Wayt lined a two-run single to left.
Two more runs for the Cougars in the sixth extended the lead to 8-5. Murphy's third RBI of the game came via a sacrifice fly that scored Coulter then Jay Miller came home on an error by Holcomb. Three more runs in the seventh closed out the scoring as Jay Miller, Prince and Murphy all had RBIs in the inning.
In a controlled start, Ross Humes picked up the win for the Cougars as he went four innings, allowing three runs on six hits. In all, five pitchers saw action for WSU with Jeremy Johnson, Nick Cebula and Mike Wagner combined to allow just two singles over the final four innings.
The Cougars had 18 hits on the afternoon, three each from Gran, Coulter, Murphy and Kimbrel. Murphy added four RBIs while Coulter had three runs scored to increase his team lead to 50.
Gonzaga collected 13 hits on the day, three from Holcomb while Shawn Wayt added two hits and a pair of RBIs. Starter Brandon Harmon suffered the loss as he went five innings, allowing six runs on 12 hits.
The Cougars return to Pacific-10 action Friday when they begin a three-game series against conference-leading Oregon State at Bailey-Brayton Field. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.