Washington State swept a doubleheader over Cal State Northridge with 11-7 and 3-0 victories Saturday afternoon at Bailey-Brayton Field.
The Cougars (13-7) improved to 9-0 at home after scoring 10 unanswered runs in the opener and receiving a dominant start from junior Ryan Walker in the second game.
In game two, Walker fired six scoreless innings and the Cougar offense pushed a run across in the second and tacked on two more with a J.J. Hancock two-out two-run double in the eighth.
In the opener, redshirt junior starting pitcher Damon Jones earned the win after striking out four, allowing just two earned runs on four hits while matching a career-high in six innings.
Junior lefthander Scotty Sunitsch got the final out with two runners on in the ninth to seal up the win for his sixth save. CSUN (11-12) pushed two runs across in the first inning, using a pair of walks, an error and three hits in the inning to own a 2-0 lead. The Cougars answered back with two runs of their own in the bottom of the second inning, scoring pair of runs on a walk, an error and two wild pitches.
In the third, Plew blooped a single into left centerfield and Matheny followed with a line drive single into right field that put runners on first and third with one out. Rudkin brought home Plew with a squeeze bunt down the third base line to give Washington State a 3-2 advantage.
Jones settled in after the first inning, retiring the side in the second and third innings and worked around a double to post a scoreless fourth. In the bottom of the fourth, WSU took advantage of two CSUN errors and received a two-run triple from Dugan Shirer who hammered the first pitch he saw deep to centerfield to score two runs. Shirer later came home as Matheny blooped a double just inside the right field line to push the WSU lead to 6-2.
Jones fired a perfect sixth before the Cougars pulled away for good in their half of the sixth. Plew drove in two runs with a double that short-hopped the wall in right centerfield, Matheny singled to center and Rudkin followed with a two-run double to left field for a 9-2 lead. Cory Meyer then singled to centerfield and Rudkin came home after a CSUN error on the play for a 10-2 Cougar advantage.
Cal State Northridge used a three-run home run during a five-run seventh inning to cut the WSU lead to 10-7. Washington State added a run in their half of the seventh on a bases-loaded walk to take a four-run lead into the eighth.
Junior reliever Colby Nealy worked a scoreless eighth inning before allowing two runners to reach with two outs in the ninth. Sunitsch entered the game and got the final out on a fielder's choice groundout to Alvarez at shortstop who flipped to Plew at second for the final out.
In game two, junior starter Ryan Walker was in control early, striking out four in the first two innings, allowing the Cougar offense to get going. In the second, Hancock led off the inning by driving a double the other way down the left field line and later moved to third but was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a squeeze play. Later in the inning, WSU loaded the bases with a fielder's choice and a pair of walks before Plew worked a bases-loaded walk to score Alvarez for a 1-0 lead.
Walker worked out of a third-inning jam after allowing two singles in the frame, inducing a ground ball to Plew at second who flipped to Alvarez at the bag who threw on to first to end the inning. Walker then retired the next seven batters before allowing a pair of one-out singles in the sixth.
The junior righthander buckled down and got a popout to Plew before inducing a ground ball to Matheny at third who stepped on third base for the final out. The Cougar bullpen came up big in the seventh as Walker exited after allowing a single to start the inning.
Senior lefthander Trenton Dupre took over on the mound and preserved the 1-0 lead by getting the three outs in the inning. Dupre retired the first two batters to start the eighth before junior righty Joe Rosenstein entered to get the final out in the inning. The WSU offense added a pair of runs in the eighth as Plew led off the inning by pulling a 1-1 pitch into the right field corner for a double. One batter later, Rudkin walked and one batter after that, Hancock drove a 1-0 pitch into the right centerfield gap for a two-out two-run double and a 3-0 Cougar lead.
Rosenstein worked a perfect ninth to earn his first career save. Walker picked up the win after firing six scoreless innings, striking out six and walking just one. CSUN starter Tei Vanderford, who entered the game with a 1.64 ERA, suffered the loss despite seven impressive innings, striking out four and allowing just one hit but did surrender six walks. The series continues Sunday at Noon.
GAME NOTES: Shane Matheny saw hits 12-game hitting streak come to an end in game two, owns a team-best .400 batting average…Cory Meyer saw his 11-game on-base streak end in game two…James Rudkin has reached base in 17 straight games…Dillon Plew has reached base in eight straight games.
— WSU Baseball (@Cougbaseball) March 26, 2017