February 21, 1999
PASCO, Wash. - Washington State starting pitcher Todd Meldahl gave a steady seven-inning, seven strikeout pitching performance Sunday as the Cougar baseball team beat Gonzaga 6-3 in a non-conference game at Posse Stadium. The Cougars (5-2) won the three-game series over Gonzaga (2-4) with wins Friday and Sunday.
Meldahl (Butte, Mont.) was solid in his second outing of the 1999 season allowing just three runs off five Gonzaga hits. The junior lefty threw 118 pitches while picking up his first win this season.
Hard-throwing Reggie Rivard (Bonnyville, Alberta) pitched a perfect ninth inning to record his first save of the year. The junior reliever entered in the eighth to shut down a Gonzaga rally, leaving the bases loaded, and then retired the Zag's nine, one, and two batters in order to earn the save. Rivard led the Cougs last year with four saves.
Lanakila Niles (Pearl City, Hawai'i) and Matt O'Brien (Seattle, Wash.) also saw relief action in the Cougars' fifth win of the young season.
Gonzaga starter Matt Kearney (1-1) lasted just two and two-thirds innings while giving up four hits and four runs to pick up his first loss of the '99 campaign. Relief pitcher Tucker Urdahl kept the Cougar bats in check in his five inning appearance, scattering just five hits and two earned runs.
At the plate freshman outfielder Evan Hecker (Seattle, Wash.) and shortstop Shawn Stevenson (Everett, Wash.) were the only Cougars to record more than one hit. Hecker, who was an honorable mention high school All-American at Eastside Catholic High School last year, also scored two crucial runs in his first start collegiate start. Sophomore Jason Grove extended his current hitting streak to 14 games and is hitting .567 (17-for-30) with five home runs on the year.
For Gonzaga Barry Mathews provided the only big hit in a balanced six-hit attack for the Bulldogs. Mathews, who picked up the win for Gonzaga in Saturday's game, hit a solo home run in the sixth inning.
The Cougars got on the scoreboard first with a single tally in the second frame. Freshman Jeron Gates (Seattle, Wash.) flared a two-strike, two-out single to center field to drive home Brad Philley (Puyallup, Wash.) for the first Cougar run. In the third the Cougs put three more runs on the board much to the help of Steve Curran's (Bellevue, Wash.) two-run double down the right field line.
Gonzaga added a pair of runs in the fifth and sixth innings to shorten WSU's lead to 4-2, but the Cougars answered with two more runs in the eighth. Philley had a run-scoring double down the right field line and Hecker perfectly executed a delayed steal of home. The Bulldogs threatened a comeback in the eighth loading the bases, but walked away with only one run before Rivard closed the door.
In Washington State's seven games the Cougs have outscored its opponents 94-55 and out-hit its opponents 107-82. On the basepaths the Cougs are 16-for-18 in the stolen bases department with Stevenson leading the way with six. The Cougs will next travel to Northern California for a three-game series with San Jose State.
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