A weekend after taking a series from No. 10 ranked Oregon and a single game win against Seattle University, the WSU baseball team returns home to take on No. 23 ranked Arizona State for a three-game series.
WSU (21-16, 7-7) takes on ASU (24-16, 9-9) looking to use some momentum from last weekend to make a strong second half push into the postseason.
“If you don’t capitalize on (the Oregon series) it wasn’t big at all, it was just three games,” WSU Head Coach Donnie Marbut said. “It’s great to win a series on the road against a ranked opponent, but great teams that play in the postseason do that week in and week out. We haven’t done that, yet.”
Offensively, WSU is led by a pair of sluggers who rank among the best in the Pac-12 in senior Derek Jones and redshirt-junior Taylor Ard.
Jones is currently tied for the conference lead in HR with nine, leads the conference in total bases with 95 and is tied for third in the conference in batting average at .382. Ard comes in tied for third in the conference for HR with eight, and is third in the conference in total bases with 88 with a .338 batting average.
Also having a good year for WSU quietly is senior Patrick Claussen, who is hitting .312 with a team leading 13 doubles and has yet to hit into a double play.
“Just been getting my foot down, seeing the ball well, putting in some practice and extra swings and trying to get ready for the weekend,” Claussen said.
Arizona State comes in with a thus far very successful starting rotation, throwing out righty Brady Rodgers (6-2, 1.75 ERA) on Friday, righty Trevor Williams (7-2, 2.20 ERA) on Saturday and righty Darin Gillies (1-3, 3.89 ERA) on Sunday.
The WSU rotation for the weekend has yet to be announced, but will most likely be sophomore J.D. Leckenby on Friday, freshman Joe Pistorese on Saturday and freshman Tanner Chleborad on Sunday.
The games this weekend are scheduled with first pitches at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, 2 p.m. on Saturday and 12 p.m. on Sunday. All three games will be available to follow on the radio as well as through a live webcast at wsucougars.com.