February 15, 1999
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The Washington State baseball team used a dazzling eight strikeout performance from freshman Lanakila (lon-AH-key-la) Niles and senior catcher Jeff Scherer continued his torrid streak at the plate in the Cougars' 22-10 crushing of New Mexico State in non-conference play at Presley Askew Field Monday.
Niles, a redshirt freshman from Pearl City, Hawai'i, looked like a seasoned veteran in his debut in a Cougar uniform. The 5-11, 190 pound Niles used a full arsenal of pitches to baffle the Aggies (2-9), allowing only two earned runs and seven hits while picking up his first collegiate victory. Freshman Sean Donlin (Woodinville, Wash.) pitched two innings of relief and has looked very impressive in his four innings of work in '99 not allowing an earned run.
New Mexico State starter Brian Moore (0-1) was saddled with the loss in his first start of the season. In three innings of work, Moore yielded 10 runs on nine hits to the potent WSU lineup. A host of NMSU relievers combined to give up 12 runs over the next six innings.
For the second time in as many games, the Cougars equaled its school record of 25 hits in one game. Scherer (Kennewick, Wash.) capped off what proved to be an unbelievable weekend of baseball for him. In Sunday's 23-14 massacre of NMSU Scherer equaled a Cougar record with six hits and three doubles in a game. Monday, Scherer was 3-for-5 with two home runs, a double, and four RBIs. For the weekend series he hit at an amazing .636 clip (14-for-22) with six doubles, two home runs, and 11 RBIs. Behind the plate he threw out two would-be base stealers.
Sophomore sensation Jason Grove (Walla Walla, Wash.) was 2-for-6 with four RBIs and a home run. Grove was also torrid at the plate in the four-game series, going 12-for-22 (.545) with four home runs and 13 RBIs. The Cougar right fielder was a top candidate for Collegiate Baseball's player of the week after he became the second Cougar ever to hit three home runs in consecutive at-bats Sunday.
Two-sport standout Brad Philley (Puyallup, Wash.) joined the Cougar hitting attack in his first extended action of '99. Philley, who starts as a linebacker for the WSU football team, was 4-for-5 with two RBIs. Freshman Jeron Gates (Seattle, Wash.) was 4-for-6 with two doubles and hit his first collegiate home run in his debut as a Cougar.
First baseman Ray Hattenburg (Spokane, Wash.) also had himself a four-hit day and finished the series with 11 hits. Platoon catcher Ryan Smith (Port Orchard, Wash.) was nearly perfect at the plate going 6-for-7 with a double and two triples against New Mexico State.
WSU jumped out to an early 5-0 lead after the third inning. Scherer dealt the biggest blows with a run scoring double and a two-run home run. Niles cruised through the first three innings before giving up two runs in the fourth and one in the fifth. The Cougars took a 12-8 advantage into the ninth before erupting for four round-trippers and 10 runs in the final frame. The 10 runs equal a WSU record set in 1973 for runs scored in the ninth inning.
In the four-game series the Cougars outscored the Aggies 73-40 and recorded 83 hits. Washington State will next travel to the Tri-Cities for a three-game weekend series with the Gonzaga Bulldogs. Games will be played Friday at 2 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. All games will be played at Posse Stadium in Pasco, Wash., the home of the Western League's Tri-City Posse.
WSU 230 500 11(10) - 22 25 4 NMSU 000 213 022 - 10 16 1