March 16, 2007
PULLMAN, Wash. - Paul Gran tied a WSU record with a pair of triples and Wayne Daman Jr. recorded a season-high eight strikeouts as Washington State University opened the three-game series with a 5-2 win over Illinois-Chicago Friday evening at Bailey-Brayton Field.
The victory improves WSU's record to 11-6 on the season and marks the Cougars' third consecutive win. It was also the first time this season WSU has won the opening game of a three-game series. The Flames fall to 4-9 overall.
After a shaky start to the game, Daman was strong in his seven innings of work. A leadoff single, hit batter and walk loaded the bases for the Flames in the top of the first, but Daman got out of the jam by striking out Brett Schaefer and inducing Micky Pingree into the inning-ending double play.
In the third Jared Prince lined a two-out double to right-center, scoring Scott Suttmeier from first with the game's first run. The next batter, Jim Murphy, drilled an 0-2 pitch deep over the wall in left-center for a two-run home run. It marked his second home run of the season and increased WSU's lead to 3-0.
That was enough for Daman who allowed just five hits, all singles, with eight strikeouts as he improved to 2-0 on the season. Freshman Michael Ratigan came on to start the eighth and retired UIC in order but in the ninth he ran into trouble. With one out, Ratigan hit two consecutive batters and gave up a single to Nick Rainwater, loading the bases. The Cougars went to closer Ross Humes who needed just four pitches to get a flyout and strikeout to end the game. It was his fifth save in his last five outings and ran his scoreless streak to 9 1/3 innings in that span.
WSU added a run in the fifth as Gran tripled home Suttmeier then Gran brought home Suttmeier once again in the seventh thanks to another triple. The two triples tied the WSU record for most triples in a game, which he now shares with 32 other players. Prior to Gran, the most recent Cougar to accomplish the feat was Ryan Smith vs. New Mexico State during the 1999 season.
The Flames scored their first run in the sixth courtesy of a Cougar error. With runners on first and third and one out, Daman's throw to first got away from Murphy, allowing both runners to move up with Larry Gempp Jr. coming home from third. In the ninth the Flames had their chance with the bases loaded and one out, but managed just a sacrifice fly off the bat of Gempp for their final run.
These same two teams continue their series Saturday afternoon at Bailey-Brayton Field. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.
Illinois-Chicago 000 001 001 - 2 6 2 Washington State 003 010 10x - 5 7 3 WP - Wayne Daman Jr. (2-0). LP - Zach Peterson (0-3). Save - Ross Humes (5). WSU - Wayne Daman Jr., Michael Ratigan (8), Ross Humes (9) and Greg Lagreid UIC - Zach Peterson, Andrew Davis (8) and Erik Whinery HR - Jim Murphy. WSU Hits - Travis Coulter 2, Paul Gran 2, Jared Prince, Jim Murphy, Scott Suttmeier. UIC Hits - Chad Schroeder 2, Nick Rainwater, Larry Gempp Jr., Brett Schaeffer, Tyler Moore. E - Gran 2, Murphy, Whinery, Cales. 2B - Prince, Coulter. 3B - Gran 2.