April 14, 2006
PULLMAN, Wash. - Jim Murphy hit two home runs, including the game-winner leading off the ninth inning, as Washington State University defeated California, 5-4, in a Pacific-10 Conference game Friday evening at Bailey-Brayton Field.
With the win the Cougars improve to 23-13 on the season, 5-6 in Pac-10 play while evening the series at 1-1. Cal falls to 17-17, 5-6 in conference action.
WSU came within one out of victory in the top of the ninth when Golden Bear catcher Garrett Bussiere connected for a two-out, game-tying home run over the right field fence. Travis Webb, who came on to start the ninth, had retired the first two hitters before Bussiere.
Murphy led off the bottom of the ninth by driving Craig Bennigson's 1-1 pitch deep over the fence in right field. It marked the first time WSU won on a walk off home run since Zach Kosturos did so in an 11-10 win over Washington at Bailey-Brayton Field, March 21, 2004.
The Cougars never trailed as Ryan Krauser led off the bottom of the first with a walk and moved to third on a single by Travis Coulter. Jay Miller then hit into a double play, but Krauser came home to put WSU up 1-0. Cal answered in the top of the fourth as Brennan Boesch led off with a walk, stole second, and scored on Josh Satin's single to center.
With two outs in the bottom of the fourth, Jared Prince drove a 1-0 pitch over the wall in center field, his second home run of the season as WSU regained the lead, 2-1. The Cougars increased their lead to 3-1 in the fifth as Murphy hit his fourth home run of the season, a solo shot to right field. A Boesch sacrifice fly in the sixth cut the lead to 3-2.
In the sixth WSU added another run as Simi Reynolds' single up the middle brought home Paul Gran from second. One inning later, Kyle Spraker lined a single to right, scoring Mike Van Winden. That ended the night for Cougar starter Mike Wagner, who went six and 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on eight hits with one strikeout. Nick Cebula came on and retired Taylor Grigsby to get out of the inning.
Cebula was the second of four Cougar pitchers as he retired all three batters he faced before giving way to Steve Kost. Kost came on in the eighth to retire Boesch and get the ball to Webb, who improved to 2-0 this season after picking up the win.
WSU had seven hits on the evening, including their second, three home run game of the season.
Cal starter Tyson Ross worked six and 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on six hits with eight strikeouts. Bennigson suffered his second loss of the season after working one and 2/3 innings, striking out three and surrendering just the one hit. At the plate Bussiere had three hits while Craig Allen finished with two.
These two teams conclude their series Saturday afternoon at Bailey-Brayton Field. The game, originally scheduled for a 1 p.m. start, has been moved up an hour with the first pitch now scheduled for noon.