Feb. 12, 2006
CHARLESTON, S.C. - Junior Mike Wagner threw six strong innings and Jeff Miller's three-run double capped a sixth-run fourth inning as Washington State University defeated No. 10 Missouri, 9-3, in the championship game of the Buccaneer Classic Sunday afternoon, hosted by Charleston Southern.
With the win the Cougars improve to 3-1 on the young season while the Tigers fall to 2-2. The game marked the first time the Cougars defeated a ranked opponent since an 8-4 win over No. 18 Arizona State, April 25, 2004.
The Tigers scored first as Trevor Helms led off the game with a double into the right-centerfield gap then scored when the next batter, Zane Taylor, lined an RBI single to right. The Cougars answered in their half of the inning as with one out and Travis Coulter on third, Jay Milled doubled to right center to tie the game. One out later, Jared Prince brought Miller home with a single to right as WSU took the lead for good.
After allowing the run in the first, Wagner settled down and stymied the Tiger hitters over his next five innings, scattering just three singles. The right hander, making his Cougar debut after transferring from Vanderbilt, struck out five as he allowed just the one run on the afternoon.
While Wagner was handling the pitching duties, the Cougar bats broke the game open in the fourth. RBI doubles from Paul Gran, Garrett Kimbrel and Jeff Miller, along with a pair of hit batters, two walks and an error, accounted for outburst. Jeff Miller, who drove in eight runs during the three-day tournament, had the big hit, a bases-loaded double that extended the Cougar lead to 8-1.
WSU added another run in the fifth when Gran singled, advanced to second on Prince's single to left, stole third and scored on an error by Tiger right fielder Jacob Priday. Missouri added two runs in the eighth as Priday doubled, scored on Hunter Mense's triple. Mense came home on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Gary Ardnt to close out the scoring.
Zach Bird relieved Wagner on the Cougar mound in the seventh, working two innings with four strikeouts while Prince retired the Tigers in order in the ninth. Offensively, WSU had seven hits in the contest, two each by Gran and Prince, while Jeff Miller had the three RBIs.
Missouri used five pitchers on the afternoon, with starter Stephan Holst taking the loss as he last just three and a third innings, giving up six runs on four hits. Priday and Taylor each had two of the Tigers' nine hits.
"It was a great pitching performance by Mike Wagner," said WSU Head Coach Donnie Marbut. "He gave up the run in the first then put up five straight zeros. We also got some timely hitting by our offense. Jeff Miller continued his fine tournament as he had a big bases-loaded double. It was a good way to start the season and it's always nice to win a tournament."
WSU returns to the diamond Feb. 16 when it travels to Hawaii to face Hawaii-Hilo in a Thursday doubleheader, beginning a four-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. HST (5 p.m. PST).