Cougars Thump Troy State, 12-5
March 1, 2002
>DOTHAN, Ala. -- - Washington State extended its winning streak to three Friday at the Troy State Wiregrass Classic by defeating the host Trojans 12-5 at Northcutt Field.
Starter Eddie Bonine (3-1) went seven innings for WSU (8-5), allowing 14 hits, but just five runs, while striking out five. Lanakila Niles pitched two innings in relief to earn his first save of the season. Aaron Hunt (2-2) took the loss for the Trojans (7-7).
"Bonine gave up a lot of hits, but a lot were ground balls with eyes and check swings," WSU head coach Tim Mooney said. "He didn't get hit hard."
The Cougars survived 15 hits by the Trojans, as well as three errors. WSU, however, collected 14 hits and mounted several big run-producing innings. Third baseman Jeff LaRue went 3-of-5 at the plate, with doubles and three runs, while second baseman Bookie Gates went 2-for-5, while driving in two runs. Freshman shortstop Derek Bruce hit his team-leading fifth home run of the season, a three-run shot in the sixth inning.
"Bookie is still swinging the bat well," Mooney said. "Bruce hit the ball well - his home run was a good 420 feet and LaRue also hit well. We are still getting hits up and down the lineup. That's the way you have a big inning."
WSU got on the board first in the top of the fourth inning. Gates' third triple of the season plated Justin Hart. Later that inning, Gates scored on a fielder's choice to give the Cougars a 2-0 lead. Troy State scored runs in the fifth and sixth innings, but WSU, behind Bruce's home run, held a 5-2 lead after six.
The hot streak at the plate continued for the Cougars in the seventh. Gates had an RBI double that scored Evan Hecker and Gates later scored on a sacrifice fly by Bruce. LaRue then capped the inning by scoring on a throwing error. The Trojans responded with one run in the seventh and two in the eight to cut WSU's lead to 8-5.
WSU responded with a big final inning, scoring four runs to seal the game. LaRue scored after Trojan pitcher Justin Morgan hit Brandon Reddinger with a pitch with the bases loaded. Collin Henderson followed with a single that plated Bruce and Steve Mortimer. Reddinger capped the Cougar scoring by coming home on a Hecker sacrifice fly.
Up next for WSU is Kent State Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in the second day of the three-day tournament.
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