Derek Jones blasted a grand slam to set WSU’s career home run record while guiding the Cougars to a 10-0 win over the University of Portland (16-8, 3-3) Tuesday afternoon at Joe Etzel Field. Jones’s 9th home run of the season moved him past Jeff Hooper in WSU’s record books.
The Cougars (16-13, 3-5) kicked off the scoring in the top of the second inning when Kyle Johnson and Ian Sagdal hit a pair of RBI singles.
Leading 2-0 through three innings, WSU began the fourth with singles from Patrick Claussen and P.J. Jones. After a pitching change, Sagdal sparked WSU’s offense again by laying a bunt single down the third-base line. Johnson followed with an RBI walk, forcing in a runner from third and putting WSU up 3-0.
Struggles continued for a Portland pitching staff that entered the game with the best ERA in the country. After Johnson’s walk, Jason Monda was hit by a pitch, forcing in another run. Up 4-0, Tommy Richards struck out with the bases loaded for the first out of the inning.
After working the count against Portland’s Kurt Yinger, Jones applied his own style of blunt force trauma to a 1-2 pitch, sending the ball sailing over the right field fence. Just past the season’s halfway point, Jones already has 33 RBIs and is hitting over .400.
WSU capped the scoring as they tacked on runs in the 7th and 9th innings to secure the victory.
Head coach Donnie Marbut came away pleased with WSU’s effort after showing frustration following a disappointing loss to Seattle University 5-4 Saturday afternoon.
“We scored early and then had the big inning,” he said in a WSU press release. “We just played good, clean baseball.”
Kyle Swannack picked up his third win of the season. The six-foot five-inch junior scattered six hits over five innings in his best start since he faced UCLA early in the conference schedule. Swannack didn’t allow a run while striking out one and walking one.
Johnson led WSU at the plate, going 3-4 with two runs and three RBIs. Sagdal, Jones and Monda also collected two hits for the Cougars.
WSU will resume conference play Friday night when they take on the Utah Utes (8-22, 4-8) at Bailey-Brayton Field.