PULLMAN, Wash. - Jason Monda earned the victory on the mound in relief and provided a two-run home run to seal Washington State's 8-5 win over No. 23 Stanford in Pac-12 Conference baseball at Bailey-Brayton Field, Saturday.
With the victory, the Cougars (16-10, 3-3 Pac-12) pulled even with the Cardinal (13-9, 3-3 Pac-12) in the conference standings and avoided a sweep at home.
Prior to the game, John G. Olerud's No. 18 was retired as Pete Blanksma, Randy Snyder and Steve Webb were on hand to honor their former teammate. Unfortunately, the Cougars did not take the energy from a crowd of 2,024 with them into the field in the top of the first as two errors handed Stanford a run.
The Cougars seized momentum in the bottom of the second. With one out, Adam Nelubowich doubled and P.J. Jones singled to put runners at the corners. After Collin Slaybaugh was given new life on a dropped foul ball by Stanford third baseman Alex Blandino, Slaybaugh laced a double into the left field corner to give the Cougars a 2-1 lead. The excitement from the crowd intensified as Jones raced around third and beat the relay throw to the plate.
In the fourth, Nick Tanielu tripled off the wall in left-center field and scored on a one-out single by Jones. After Jones stole second, Slaybaugh reached on an infield single to put runners at first and third. An errant throw on a pickoff attempt at first allowed Jones to score and increase Washington State's lead to 4-1.
Stanford answered with the three runs in the fifth to tie the game on the strength of three-straight hits with two outs against Cougars' starter Scott Simon.
"We were flat in the middle innings," Cougar Head Coach Donnie Marbut said. "I really can't explain that. We did a good job of coming back and finishing the game, but we still are not playing our best baseball."
The Cardinal took a 5-4 lead in the seventh, the first earned run given up by Monda (1-0) in 14 1/3 inning this season. In the bottom of the seventh, Washington State responded with two runs to regain the lead at 6-5.
Monda led off with a single. Shea Donlin dropped down a sacrifice bunt and reached on a throwing error by Stanford pitcher Logan James (0-2). When no one covered third, an alert Monda scampered to the open base and Donlin took second on the throw to third. A wild pitch allowed Monda to score the tying run and Donlin to reach third. After Yale Rosen walked, Tanielu singled to plate Donlin with the go-ahead run.
In the eighth, Brett Jacobs led off with a single and was replaced by pinch runner Michael Monda. On a 2-1 pitch to Trace Tam Sing, Monda appeared to steal second. However, Tam Sing was called out for batter's interference and Monda was returned to first. In the aftermath, Tam Sing and Marbut were ejected by separate umpires. The duo was given a rousing ovation from the Cougars' fans as they were escorted out of the ballpark and Jason Monda jumped ahead 2-0 in the count against Stanford's Garrett Hughes. On the next pitch, Jason Monda drove a fastball over the right-field wall for his fifth home run of the season with his brother Michael aboard.
Kellen Camus gave up a double and a walk to open the Cardinal ninth before starting a 1-6-3 double play and inducing a ground out to end the game for his second save, this one a six-out effort.