May 8, 2006
PULLMAN, Wash - Washington State University hit four home runs during a five-run eighth inning as the Cougars rallied to defeat Utah Valley State, 6-5, in a nonconference game Monday afternoon at Bailey-Brayton Field.
Following the win the Cougars improved to 31-17 on the season and took two of three in the series. The Wolverines fell to 16-34 overall.
Entering the eighth trailing by three runs, Cougar second baseman Travis Coulter led off with a home run down the right field line. One out later and with Jared Prince on first, Jim Murphy delivered a two-run shot over the center field fence. It marked Murphy's team-leading seventh home run of the season and tied the game at 4-4.
With two outs and nobody on, Jeff Miller put WSU on top 5-4 with a solo home run to left. It was Miller's seventh home run of the season, tying him with Murphy for the team lead. The next batter, Zach McAngus, went the opposite way on a 1-1 pitch, adding an insurance run that proved to be needed.
The four home runs marked a season-high by the Cougars and marked the first time since March 29, 2005, against Gonzaga that WSU had hit three home runs in an inning.
In the top of the ninth the Wolverines put their first two men aboard and had runners at second and third with one out. Josh Williamson, the third Cougar pitcher of the inning, came on to get Chris Benson for the second out on a sacrifice fly to right. Williamson then recorded his first save of the year when Canyon Vance grounded out first base to pitcher to end the game.
For the first time in the series the Cougars opened the scoring in the bottom of the first. With the bases loaded and one out, Paul Gran's sacrifice fly to center brought home Jay Miller, who reached on a one-out double to left. Miller's double gave him 70 for his career, second all-time at WSU and tied for eighth in Pacific-10 Conference history.
In the fourth the Wolverines tied the game on Dan Bulow's 10th home run of the season, a two-out, solo shot over the wall in center. Utah Valley State took the lead with a three-run sixth inning. Cory Newton's one out, bases-loaded double to the wall in left brought home the first two. Reno Mendenhall then single home Bulow, extending the Wolverine lead to 4-1.
For the game WSU had eight hits with Jay Miller's two the only Cougar with more than one. In that five-run eighth inning, both Coulter and Prince extended their hitting streaks to 13 games. On the mound Prince started and went six and 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on 10 hits. Reese Baker picked up the win as he retired all four batters he faced, improving to 2-2 this season.
Utah Valley State collected 12 hits on the game, two each by Benson, Newton, Eli Slesk and Keiki Albino. Ryan Jessop worked into the eighth, allowing four runs on six hits. Brett Guerrero allowed two hits, both home runs, as his record fell to 3-4.
The Cougars return to Pac-10 play when they travel to face Arizona Saturday to start a three-game series. First pitch is set for 7 p.m.