Cougar Comback Short Against Cal, 5-4
March 23, 2002
LEWISTON, Idaho - Washington State scored once but needed two runs in the ninth inning as the California Bears held on for a 5-4 win over the Cougars in a Pacific-10 Conference baseball game Saturday at Harris Field on the campus of Lewis-Clark State College.
WSU (10-12) ace Brandon Hundt (4-1) worked six innings, giving up five runs, four of them earned. He struck out two and walked two while allowing 10 hits. Billy Gorrell threw well in relief for the Cougars, allowing just one hit over the final three innings.
Brian Montalbo (3-3) worked seven innings and picked up the win for the Bears (18-11), who improved to 2-0 in Pac-10 play. Matt Brown threw the final two innings for California and notched his fifth save of the year.
Evan Hecker, who was in a mini-hitting slump - he was one-for-12 in the last four games, drove home three of WSU's runs with a double and two singles. He had a run-scoring single in the second inning that staked the Cougars to an early 1-0 lead, drove home another run in the fifth with a double, then singled home WSU's fourth run in the ninth inning. He also scored once, coming home in the fifth on an error after his run-producing double.
California, meanwhile knotted the game in the third with Conor Jackson's eighth home run of the season, then took a 3-1 lead with a pair of runs in the top of the fifth inning. David Weiner doubled home the first run and later scored on Carson White's single. The Bears had a chance to score a third run, but Jackson was cut down at the plate.
After the Cougars tied the game 3-3 with their own two-run outburst in the fifth, the Bears added the go-ahead and winning run in the seventh. Three hits, a balk, an intentional walk and an error allowed California to score twice. Weiner plated the first run with a single to center and Jackson added a run-scoring double down the left field line as the Bears jumped to a 5-3 lead.
The Cougars had the tieing run at second in the ninth, but after fouling off five pitches, Collin Henderson grounded out to short as Brown, the Pac-10 leader in saves last season, saved the game for Montalbo.
The Cougars had the opportunity to do some serious damage in the second inning, but came away with just one run. With one out, Jeff LaRue doubled and move to third on Jon Baeder's single. Steve Morter's slow roller back toward Montalbo allowed the Cal pitcher to flip the ball home in time to cut down LaRue for the second out.
Hecker then delivered a run-scoring single and moved to second on a balk by Montalbo, while Mortimer advanced to third. Mike Andrusco then grounded out to third to end the Cougar threat.
Sunday at 1:00 p.m. the two teams wind up their three-game series that was moved to Lewiston because WSU's field was unplayable.
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