The WSU baseball team took the series from Seattle University this weekend, winning the opening games on Thursday and Friday before dropping the final game on Saturday.
Getting the start on Thursday for WSU (15-13, 3-5) was sophomore J.D. Leckenby, going up against Brandon Kizer for Seattle (15-12).
Both starters went eight innings, each giving up only one earned run before their respective bullpens took over. Leckenby struck out two while issuing one walk and allowing four hits while Kizer stuck out two while issuing two walks and allowing seven hits.
Seattle struck first, scoring in the fifth inning. The lead held until the bottom of the eighth when WSU senior Kyle Johnson singled in freshman Ian Sagdal from second for the tying run.
The Cougars brought in redshirt freshman Scott Simon to pitch the top of the ninth. It took Simon 15 pitches to get through the inning, allowing no runs while striking out one.
WSU faced off against Seattle reliever Garrett Anderson in the bottom of the ninth with the game tied 1-1.
A double, intentional walk and unintentional walk by Anderson loaded the bases for Sagdal, who hit a sacrifice fly into deep center to score the winning run for WSU, claiming a 2-1 victory.
“The corners were in and the middle infielders were playing back for a double play, so I knew I had to get a ball in the air,” Sagdal said. “It’s a big win for us to get the series going.”
The second game of the series wasn’t as close of an affair, with WSU pummeling Seattle 19-1.
The Cougar starter for game two was sophomore Joe Pistorese, who went seven innings while allowing only three hits and striking out seven.
“I love it, it’s good to get out there and get some runs up on the board,” Pistorese said. “It helps pitchers a lot. I was hitting my spots pretty well today so I was happy.”
Not lost in the WSU offensive explosion on Friday night was the history made by Cougar senior Derek Jones, who hit his eighth HR of the season in the third inning.
The HR was also the 40th of his career, tying Jones for first on the WSU all-time HR list with Jeff Hooper (1984-87).
“It didn’t really set in until I was rounding the bases,” Jones said. “It’s definitely special to me, but it’s just numbers. (Records) aren’t what I’m here for, I’m here for (wins) and championships.”
WSU Head Coach Donnie Marbut, who has coached Jones for four years, said he was happy for Jones after the game.
“It’s awesome,” Marbut said. “It’s a 25-year-old record and when kids play baseball what do they want to do, they want to hit home runs. Nobody - well one guy, Jeff Hooper, until (Jones) hits his next one - has hit more home runs than Derek Jones.”
Marbut also had something to say to WSU fans in regards to Jones’ next potential home run.
“I hope the fans are paying attention, and I really don’t care how cold it is, I’d like them to come out and hit another one,” he said.
Collecting multiple hits on Friday for WSU was redshirt junior Taylor Ard (3-4), Jones (3-4), senior Patrick Claussen (2-4) and freshman P.J. Jones (3-4).
Going for the sweep on Saturday, WSU dropped game three to Seattle 5-4 after surrendering a 4-3 lead going into the top of the eighth inning.
WSU starter Tanner Chleborad went five innings and allowed three earned runs on eight hits while striking out five. Taking the loss for the Cougars was Scott Simon.
“We just showed who we are,” Marbut said. “We haven’t been able to sustain any consistency and we don’t play hard from the next day to the next day. What was important to us yesterday became not important to us today.”
Up next for WSU is a single game against Portland on Tuesday at 3 p.m. before returning to Pullman for a series against Utah during Mom’s Weekend.