PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State used 12 hits to post a 7-3 victory over No. 28 UCLA at Bailey-Brayton Field Saturday afternoon, clinching its fourth straight conference series for the first time since 1995.
WSU (24-22, 10-13 Pac-12) saw four players record multiple-hit games led by sophomore shortstop Andres Alvarez with three hits and two runs scored. Junior designated hitter Blake Clanton had two hits including his third homer of the season. Junior outfielder JJ Hancock and junior third baseman Shane Matheny each collected two hits. Matheny and Alvarez each extended their hitting streaks to nine games. Junior starting pitcher Cody Anderson improved to 5-2 after allowing just two earned runs on four hits in 5.2 innings. Junior relievers Colby Nealy (2.2 IP) and Scotty Sunitsch (0.2 IP) sealed things up out of the bullpen.
Washington State has won six of its last seven games and recorded series wins over No. 30 Washington, at Utah, Oregon and No. 28 UCLA. UCLA dropped to 24-23 overall and 13-10 after entering the weekend third in the Pac-12 Conference.
The Cougars gave Anderson an early 1-0 lead in the first inning. Alvarez lined a single off the UCLA pitcher and was bunted to second before James Rudkin muscled a pitch into right field for an RBI-single, scoring Alvarez from second.
UCLA evened things up in the fourth inning with a sacrifice fly and Washington State left the bases loaded in the fourth inning but answered back an inning later with two runs in the fifth. Dillon Plew led off the inning reaching on an error and Matheny followed with a hard hit single through the right side to move Plew around to third base. Rudkin drove in his second run of the game with a sacrifice fly to right field for 2-1 lead. Matheny later stole second before JJ Hancock drew a walk and Harrer followed with an RBI-double down the left field line to score Matheny. UCLA ended the inning with a pair of strikeouts, stranding two runners.
Anderson pitched into the sixth before the Bruins doubled in a run with two outs in the inning, cutting the lead to one. WSU called upon junior reliever Colby Nealy who ended the inning with a groundout, receiving a nice dig at first base from Rudkin on a long throw from Matheny at third.
Washington State came back with three runs in the bottom half of the frame. Freshman catcher Cal Waterman punch a single to right field and Alvarez followed with a single to right centerfield. Dillon Plew bunted both runners up a base and Matheny delivered a two-run single to centerfield for a 5-2 advantage. One batter later, Hancock hammered one over the right fielder for an RBI-double and a 6-2 Cougar lead.
The Cougars tacked on a run in the seventh with Clanton’s solo homer the other way to left field. UCLA added a solo homer in the eighth the WSU bullpen sealed things up in the ninth.
The series wraps up Sunday at Noon on the Pac-12 Network.