April 7, 1999
PULLMAN, Wash. -- Bookie Gates and Jason Grove hit back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the Washington State Cougar baseball team a 14-13 come-from-behind victory over visiting Gonzaga in a non-conference game played Wednesday night at Bailey Field.
With the win the Cougars snapped a season-long four-game losing streak and improved its overall season mark to 17-12. Gonzaga is now in a five-game skid and saw its record fall to 11-14-1.
The Zags jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead after the first inning hitting two home runs off WSU starter Justin Nakaishi (Syracuse, Utah). Kevin Taylor and Jerrod Hertz each went deep for the Bulldogs in the first.
WSU battled back with a five-run inning of its own in the bottom of the second. Steve Gleason (Spokane, Wash.) and Steve Curran (Bellevue, Wash.) each hit home runs in the inning and catcher Jeff Scherer (Kennewick, Wash.) added a run-scoring double.
In the fourth the Bulldogs capitalized on a two-out fielding error by WSU shortstop Shawn Stevenson (Everett, Wash.) to score seven runs. Freshman pitcher Tyson Thompson (Bothell, Wash.) was the victim of five unearned runs giving up home runs to Jason Bay and Barry Matthews. Bay finished the game 2-for-5 at the plate with four RBIs and now has a team-leading 10 home runs.
The Cougars rebounded with four runs in its half of the fourth to cut the deficit to three runs and then pulled to within one after a three-run seventh inning. Zach Bode (Issaquah, Wash.) and Scherer hit back-to-back home runs in the seventh to fuel the scoring attack.
Trailing by one in the eighth Gates, a true freshman from Seattle, Wash., battled Gonzaga reliever Matt Siwek (2-3) to a 3-2 count before driving a ball deep over the left field fence to tie the game. Grove, a sophomore from Walla Walla, Wash., who was named a freshman All-American in 1998, then followed with his team-leading eighth home run of the year to give the Cougars their first lead of the game. Siwek was saddled with the loss giving up the two home runs.
Redshirt freshman Lanakila Niles (Pearl City, Hawaii) entered in the eighth inning and struck out three batters over an inning and two-thirds to pick up the win. Niles is now 2-0 on the season. Hard-throwing reliever Reggie Rivard (Bonnyville, Alberta) sealed the win for the Cougs striking out Matthews to pick up his fifth save of the year.
At the plate WSU connected on seven home runs which is just one off the single-game school record of eight set in 1987 against Whitworth College. Curran was perfect at the plate going 3-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Gleason was 2-for-4 with a pair of home runs and three RBIs.
"It was nice to see us swing the bat well and knock some balls out of the yard," said head coach Steve Farrington. "This win gets us ready for a big series down at Arizona State this weekend."
WSU returns to Pacific-10 Conference play this weekend with a three-game series against No. 18 ranked Arizona State in Tempe, Ariz. The Sun Devils are 29-12 overall and are currently in fourth place in the Pac-10 with a 5-4 record. Fridays opening game is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. with lefty Todd Meldahl (3-2, 4.99) expected to get the start.
Gonzaga 500 700 100 - 13 13 2 WSU 050 400 32X - 14 14 1