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Cougars Salvage Doubleheader Split with USC
Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Release: 06/21/1999
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March 27, 1999

PULLMAN, Wash. - Washington State shortstop Shawn Stevenson went 3-for-4 at the plate with five RBIs including a grand slam home run to help give the Cougar baseball team a 14-12 victory over the defending national champion University of Southern California Trojans in the second game to salvage a split in a Pacific-10 Conference doubleheader played Saturday at Bailey Field.

USC (15-16, 6-2 Pac-10) won the first game which was rescheduled from Friday because of a snow out, 6-5. Saturday's first game was also played in inclement weather with a 15-minute snow delay. The No. 29 ranked Cougars are now 16-8 on the season and 1-1 in Pac-10 play.

In the first game USC starter Barry Zito (5-2) and WSU starter Wade Parrish were locked in a pitcher's duel for most of the game. Zito came into the game striking out 32 batters in his last two games against Arizona and Oregon State. The junior left-hander added to his impressive strikeout tally with 14 against the Cougs. In one stretch until the seventh inning Zito had a string of 14 consecutive innings in which he struck out at least two batters. Zito earned the complete-game victory giving up five runs on eight WSU hits while recording a marathon-type 148-pitch count.

Parrish was equally impressive in his outing despite picking up his second loss of the season. For the second consecutive start he set a career best in strikeouts with 12. Parrish fell at the hands of a shaky defensive outfield, but was credited with giving up 10 hits and six earned runs in 8.2 innings. Reliever Justin Nakaishi recorded the last out for Cougars finishing up the great performance by Parrish.

USC held a 2-1 advantage through four innings before WSU's Steve Gleason tied the game with his fourth home run of the year. In the seventh the Trojans scored two runs and then added an insurance run in both the eighth and ninth innings to push their lead to 6-3.

In the ninth the Cougs put together a late rally as the snow drifts continued to surround Bailey Field, but came up short when Jason Grove (Walla Walla, Wash.) grounded into a double play with the tying run on first base. Stevenson (Everett, Wash.) was 2-for-5 with a run-scoring single and Ray Hattenburg (Spokane, Wash.) continued his hot hitting with a 2-for-4 game.

For USC Josh Persell continues to hit well in Pac-10 play going 3-for-4 with two RBIs. Jason Lane and Dominic Correa hit home runs in the eighth and ninth innings for the Trojans to help seal the victory.

In the nightcap of the doubleheader the Cougars came out on a mission jumping out to a 10-1 lead after three innings. Senior Boyd Robertson (Richland, Wash.) got the five-run second inning started with a solo home run, his third of the year. Bookie Gates (Seattle, Wash.) then hit a three-run home run and Jason Grove followed with a towering solo home run over the right field fence onto the WSU golf course for the back-to-back home runs.

The Cougars added four more runs in the third when Stevenson connected on a grand slam home run to give the Cougars the 10-1 lead. For the switch-hitting Stevenson it was his first home run in 1999 and now has 12 in his WSU career.

The Trojans battled back in the fourth putting five runs up on the board off WSU starter Jamaal Gaines (2-2). Greg Hanoian provided the big hit of the inning with a two-run home run. After two scoreless innings in the fifth and sixth, USC six runs in the last three innings to pull within two runs of the doubleheader sweep.

With the tying run on second base it was freshman Sean Donlin (Woodinville, Wash.) who put the game away for the Cougs striking out Brad Ticehurst and getting Jason Lane to ground out in the ninth to earn his first save of the year. Reliever Matt O'Brien made his 10th appearance of the year and improved his record to 5-1, allowing only one run and three hits in 3.1 innings of work.

"I had butterflies when I went out there, but I just buckled down, threw strikes, and pitched well," said Donlin who picked up his first save of his young WSU career. "This is a huge win for us to pick up in Pac-10 play over a good team like USC."

At the plate in the second game the Cougars were led by their one through four hitters in the lineup who each recorded three his apiece. Stevenson was 3-for-4, Gates was 3-for-6, Grove was 3-for-4, and Hattenburg was 3-for-5.

In the night game USC was without the efforts of preseason player of the year selection Eric Munson who was sideline with a sprained thumb. Ironically, it was his replacement Beau Craig who led the Trojans at the plate going 4-for-5 falling just a home run short of hitting for the cycle. Brad Ticehurst also recorded four hits as the Trojans tied a season-high with 19 hits.

The win for the Cougars ended a 19-game loosing steak against the Trojans. The last win for WSU came May 22, 1971 in the Pac-8 Playoffs in Pullman. The Cougars and Trojans will play the rubber-match of the three-game Pac-10 series Sunday at 12 p.m. at Bailey Field. Todd Meldahl (3-0) will get the start of the Cougars and USC will send hard-throwing right-hander Rik Currier to the mound.

"This win sets the stage for a great series finale tomorrow," said WSU head coach Steve Farrington. "This is a big win for us and I mean big. Donlin stepped up big for us in the ninth inning to help put the game away."

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