Cougars Split Doubleheader at No. 34 Mississippi State
Feb. 19, 2012
Tommy Richards delivered a two-out, two-run single in the top of the 13th inning to lift Washington State past No. 34 Mississippi State 6-5 in the opener of nonconference baseball doubleheader, Sunday. The Bulldogs rallied for a 5-4 win in the nightcap to earn a split in the twinbill and a victory in the three-game series.
"We learned a lot and we competed all weekend," Cougar Head Coach Donnie Marbut said. "It was good for us to play in a tough environment, but we are disappointed to not come away with the series win."
In the opener, Washington State (1-2) built a 3-0 lead and chased Mississippi State (2-1) starter Nick Routt after an inning and a half. Sophomore Nate Blackham and senior Kyle Johnson opened the game with back-to-back singles and Blackham scored on a two-out single by sophomore Jason Monda.
In the second, sophomore Collin Slaybaugh and Richards began the frame with consecutive singles and moved up on a sacrifice by senior Patrick Claussen. Sophomore Trace Tam Sing followed with a run-scoring single and Richards scored on a ground out by Blackham.
The Bulldogs picked up a run in the bottom of the second against junior Kyle Swannack, but the Cougars increased their lead to 4-1 with a tally in the fourth. With one out, Richards singled before scampering home on a double by Claussen.
Mississippi State scored a run in the fifth to end Swannack's day, and then tied the game in the sixth against junior reliever Richie Ochoa on Trey Porter's two-run home run.
The Cougar bullpen kept the game tied by making big pitches at crucial times. Sophomore Kellen Camus, senior Spencer Jackson, redshirt-junior Anthony Drobnick and freshman Nick LaRoy combined to strand seven runners in scoring position from the seventh through 12th innings.
In the top of the 13th, senior Derek Jones and Slaybaugh walked with two outs sandwiched around a single by Monda. Richards singled on a 3-2 pitch against Caleb Reed (0-1), who took the loss despite logging 6 1/3 innings of relief with nine strikeouts, to give Washington State a 6-4 advantage.
LaRoy (1-0), who recorded the final out in the 12th for the Cougars, gave up a single and a double to open the bottom of the 13th. Redshirt-freshman Scott Simon came on to induce three-straight ground outs, the first scored a run, and earned his first-collegiate save.
In the nightcap, Washington State took a 2-0 lead with a pair of runs in the top of the third. Richards was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and Claussen walked. After a sacrifice by Tam Sing, Blackham doubled to score both runs. In the bottom of the frame, the Bulldogs scored an unearned run against Cougar freshman starter Tanner Chleborad. In his collegiate debut, Chleborad went five innings, gave up the one unearned run, four hits and two walks while striking out three.
In the sixth, Mississippi tied the game 2-2 when Porter touched freshman reliever Bryce Jackson for a home run with two outs.
The Cougars broke the tie with two runs in the eighth. With one out, Monda singled. Redshirt-junior Taylor Ard followed with a ground ball that was booted for an error and Monda raced to third. Jones and redshirt-sophomore Adam Nelubowich each delivered an RBI-single to give Washington state a 4-2 lead.
In the bottom of the inning, Mississippi State tied the game on a walk, a double, a sacrifice fly and a double. A base hit and a throwing error on the play allowed the Bulldogs to take a 5-4 lead against Spencer Jackson (0-1). Taylor Stark (1-0), who recorded the final-five outs for Mississippi State, earned the victory.
The Cougars open their home season with a doubleheader against Nebraska Omaha, Friday, Feb. 24 at 2 p.m.
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