April 29, 2012
PULLMAN, Wash. - Taylor Ard delivered an RBI-single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to provide Washington State a 7-6 victory over No. 23 Arizona State, Sunday at Bailey-Brayton Field.
The game-winner capped a three-RBI day for Ard, who belted his ninth home run of the season earlier in the game. The victory was the seventh by the Cougars (22-18, 8-9 Pac-12) over a nationally-ranked team this season.
"We definitely did not want to get swept at home," Ard said. "It was big win for us and now we have to get ready to play California."
Washington State knocked Arizona State (26-17, 11-10 Pac-12) starter Darin Gillies out of the box with a four-run first. Kyle Johnson, who collected three hits for the second time in the series, led off with a single and moved to third on a double by Patrick Claussen. A ground out by Ard brought home Johnson with the game's first run and moved Claussen to third.
Derek Jones singled to score Claussen and promptly stole second. Adam Nelubowich plated Jones with a single. After Tommy Richards flied out, Nelubowich stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a Jason Monda single for a 4-0 Cougars' lead.
The Sun Devils tallied a pair of unearned run in the top of the third against Washington State starter Joe Pistorese, but the Cougars got one back in the bottom of the inning on a home run by Nelubowich.
In the fifth, Ard led off with a towering home run to left field, his ninth of the season, to increase Washington State's lead to 6-2.
Arizona State scored twice in the seventh and still trailed 6-4 going to the ninth facing Cougar closer Anthony Drobnick (3-2). Abe Ruiz led off with his Pac-12 leading 10th home run of the season to pull the Sun Devils within 6-5. After Drobnick retired the next-two hitters, Arizona State sandwiched a pair of singles around a stolen base to tie the game 6-6.
In the bottom of the ninth, Collin Slaybaugh opened with a single against Sun Devils' reliever Jake Barrett (1-4). Johnson moved Slaybaugh to second with a sacrifice. After Claussen flied out, Ard drilled a 1-1 pitch up the middle to score Slaybaugh with the winning run.
Washington State posted a victory in its last at bat for the sixth time in 2012...Taylor Ard's home run was the 19th of his two-year Cougar career...Washington State hosts California in a three-game series beginning Friday at 7 p.m.