March 27, 2009
BERKELEY, Calif. -
Junior Michael Weber connected for two home runs and drove in four runs to lead Washington State to an 8-7 victory over California in the Cougars' Pacific-10 Conference-opener Friday afternoon at Evans Diamond.
With the victory, WSU (9-11, 1-0) opens conference play with a victory for the first time since a 7-1 win at Stanford, March 26, 2006.
The Cougars scored in the first as freshman Derek Jones' triple to right scored freshman Patrick Claussen, who opened the game with a single up the middle. WSU extended the lead to 5-0 in the third as Alex Burg and Weber each connected for two-run home runs, both shots coming with two outs.
In the sixth Weber struck again, driving in Greg Lagreid with his second home run of the afternoon as WSU went up 7-0. That appeared to be enough as Cougar senior Matt Way continued his strong spring on the mound, throwing five more shutout innings before allowing an unearned run in the sixth.
Freshman Derek Jones' one-out home run in the seventh closed out the scoring for WSU and proved to be the difference in the game. Cal (13-9, 2-2) struck for a run in the seventh on Blake Smith's two-out double that scored Brian Guinn before a five-run eighth inning, highlighted by Michael Brady's three-run home run.
With WSU leading 8-7 and two runners on, Jeremy Johnson came in from the Cougar bullpen to record the final five outs of the game, preserving the victory and picking up his second save of the season.
"Hats off to Matty (Way) for giving us another great start and chance to win," Cougar Head Coach Donnie Marbut said. "The offense came alive today, including two big shots from Michael, and then Jeremy came in and did his job."
Way finished his afternoon working seven innings, allowing four runs, three earned, on nine hits with five strikeouts as he improved to 3-2 this season. At the plate the Cougars' connected for 10 hits, two each by Jones, Weber and Lagreid.
Cal was paced by Smith's three hits, part of a 13-hit attack for the Golden Bears. Starter Matt Flemer suffered his first loss of the season against two wins, surrendering eight runs on nine hits in seven innings.
The two teams continue their series at California, Saturday at noon.
Cougar starter Matt Way saw his streak without giving up an earned run end at 30 innings, a streak that began Feb. 27 against Oklahoma and extended over four starts...Derek Jones' seventh-inning home run moved him into a tie for 10th on the freshman single-season list...the four home runs by the Cougars were the most by WSU since a four-home run effort May 8, 2006, against Utah Valley State.