PULLMAN -– Matt Fanelli’s run-scoring double in the bottom of the seventh inning lifted Washington State to a 5-4 victory over Gonzaga on Wednesday at Bailey-Brayton Field.
With the score tied 4-4, Gonzaga (12-20-1) reliever Mark Phillips (1-2) hit Shea Vucinich with one out. With two outs, Billy Moon, who replaced Phillips after the hit batter, uncorked a wild pitch that sent Vucinich around to third. Fanelli fell behind 1-2 in the count, fouled off a couple pitches and took a ball before looping a double down the right field line to give the Cougars (19-11) the lead.
Paris Shewey (4-1), who came out of the bullpen in the seventh, pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning before handing the ball to Adam Conley in the ninth. Conley walked the first man he faced, and then induced Andy Hunter to hit into a spectacular 4-6-3 double play. WSU second baseman Cody Bartlett made a diving backhanded stop behind the bag and flipped the ball out of his glove to Shea Vucinich, the Cougar shortstop. Vucinich caught the ball with his bare hand, made a pivot, and threw to first to complete the twin-killing. Conley earned his eighth save when he retired Brian Yardley on a ground ball to Bartlett.
“We played great baseball, Sunday and built some momentum,” WSU Head Coach Donnie Marbut said. “Even though we didn’t play great last night, we found a way to win. Tonight was about great defense, our pitchers getting key outs and some timely hitting. Anytime we play like we did tonight, we are going to give ourselves a chance to win.
WSU took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first on a RBI-single by Vucinich and a sacrifice fly by Fanelli. The Cougars added a run in the second on Cody Bartlett’s second round tripper of the season. Bartlett’s double scored Brett Jacobs in the fourth to put WSU on top 4-0.
Gonzaga picked up a run in the sixth, and added three runs in the seventh on one hit by taking advantage of a hit batter, three walks and a wild pitch issued by the WSU bullpen.
WSU opens a three-game series at Arizona on Friday at 6pm, while GU starts a three-game set at home against Pepperdine.