May 17, 2012
By Ryan Minnerly
Both Jones and Ard turned down professional opportunities in 2011 to ensure a return of the tandem team that has been together since 2010. Prior to their dawning crimson and gray uniforms, the Cougar star athletes played as teammates for the Brewster White Caps in Cape Cod during the summer of 2010.
Their mirroring careers continued when Ard joined the Washington State lineup in 2011. That was when the two joined forces as the number 3-4 batters in the Cougar lineup.
With three years of varsity experience under his belt, Jones is the most experienced of the duo. All three years of his collegiate career Jones has been stationed as the third batter in the lineup. Last year Ard played his first season with the Cougars and followed Jones in the lineup as the cleanup batter.
Jones started his senior season with 32 career home runs at Washington State, leaving him just eight shy of the school record. He surpassed that record April 10 at Portland.
Jones currently holds the Cougar freshman record with 12 home runs during debut season with the team. In the 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft, Jones was selected in the 13th round by the Baltimore Orioles, but turned down the opportunity so he could finish his tenure at Washington State.
Cougar baseball was greatly impacted by Ard's first season in a crimson uniform. During the 2011 season, Ard led the Pac-10 with 10 home runs. He also totaled 55 RBI, which tied for the lead in the conference. Ard batted a team high .337 average and had a .577 slugging percentage that placed him second in the Pac-10.
In the 25th round of the 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft Ard was taken by the Boston Red Sox, but like his Cape Cod and Cougar teammate Jones, he put his professional career on hold. This was Ard's second chance to join a major league ball club, as he was drafted by the Florida Marlins in the 33rd round during the summer of 2010.
Both Washington State student-athletes received All-Pac-10 honors in 2011. Ard was placed on the All-Pac-10 First Team and Jones was honorable mention.
Jones, being nothing but complimentary about his teammate, stated, "He's been a big boost to the team and the program, having a caliber hitter that he is, succeeding wherever he goes. With him there's another guy in the lineup that can scare the coaches."
In the 2012 season, Ard and Jones have switched spots in the lineup, putting Ard in the third slot and Jones batting fourth.
When asked about the change, Ard stated, "It is always good because whether I'm hitting behind him or he's behind me it doesn't really matter, we are going to protect each other. Having him the lineup helps us out a lot. It helps us both do better."