PULLMAN, Wash. – Four Washington State pitchers combined for a no-hitter in a 7-3 victory over Stephen F. Austin in the second game of a doubleheader at Bailey-Brayton Field Sunday afternoon. The Cougars won the opener 10-5 and swept the three-game series.
WSU (6-4) recorded its first no-hitter since Kurt Waananen no-hit Rockford College in 1985, the first nine-inning no-hitter since Eric Wilkins (vs. Oregon State – 1976) and first combined no-hitter since 1974 (David Wright, Roger Stein – Idaho).
Cougar starter Cody Anderson earned the win after striking out six and allowing just three unearned runs in six innings. The junior lefthander earned his first career win. Junior right-hander Joe Rosenstein followed with 1.1 innings of work and freshman lefty Isaac Mullins got the final two outs of the eighth inning before the junior left-hander Scotty Sunitsch worked a scoreless ninth to post the 24th no-hitter in school history and fifth combined no-hitter.
In the opener, WSU erased a 5-0 deficit with 10 unanswered runs, scoring in six straight innings and received solid performances out of the bullpen. Freshman leadoff hitter Dillon Plew led the Cougars with three runs scored and two RBI while reaching base four times and junior right fielder J.J. Hancock drove in two runs including a solo home run in the sixth, his first career homer.
The Lumberjacks got to Cougar starter Ryan Walker in the third, using five hits and an error to push five runs across. Washington State came right back with a pair of runs in their half of the third as Plew drew a walk to start the inning and Justin Harrer later doubled off the right field wall to put runners on second and third with one out. Plew came home on a passed ball and Harrer later scored on J.J. Hancock’s two-out single back up the middle.
Senior reliever Trenton Dupre took over for Walker in the third, making a nice play on a squeeze attempt to get the runner at the plate and went on to post scoreless fourth and fifth innings. Dupre picked up his first career win after tossing 2.2 scoreless innings.
The Cougars were at it again in the fourth, getting to more runs to cut the SFA lead to 5-4. Dugan Shirer opened the inning with a walk and later stole second base. Plew lined a one-out single the opposite way into left field to score Shirer easily from second. Plew was balked to second and Harrer reached on an infield single to shortstop before Cory Meyer muscled a single into centerfield to score Plew for the second run of the inning.
WSU used small ball to score two more runs in the fifth inning. Andres Alvarez reached with a one-out infield single to shortstop and Shirer followed with a single into centerfield as Alvarez was running on the pitch, putting runners on first and third. Shirer stole second and Cal Waterman followed with a perfectly placed squeeze bunt to first base to score Alvarez. The next batter, Plew also put down a bunt that saw Shirer scamper home for another run and a 6-5 WSU lead.
Hancock pushed the lead to 7-5 with his solo home run in the sixth, crushing the first pitch he saw for a no-doubter over the right field wall and his first career homer. The Cougars tacked on two more runs in the seventh, all with two outs. Waterman walked and Plew lined a single into centerfield before Shane Matheny greeted a new SFA pitcher with a two-run triple just inside the first base bag and down the right field corner.
Sophomore reliever Parker McFadden took over for Dupre and posted scoreless innings in the sixth and seventh with a pair of strikeouts. Junior right-hander Colby Nealy followed McFadden with two more scoreless frames, sealing up the Cougar win with a perfect ninth.
In game two, the Lumberjacks took advantage of two first inning errors by WSU and pushed a run across. The Cougars answered with a run in the third as Plew lined a single to left and Matheny followed with an RBI-double off the wall in right field.
Washington State came right back with three runs in the fourth inning, opening the frame with three hits and loading the bases with one out. Plew then worked a walk that brought home James Rudkin and Matheny followed with a two-out two-run ground ball single back up the middle to push the lead to 4-1.
The Cougars added a run in the fifth on an Alvarez RBI-single into right centerfield and later added another run in the sixth inning on Blake Clanton’s RBI-groundout to second base. Alvarez drove in another with his two-out bloop single into right field in the seventh.
Anderson worked around the miscues in the first and retired 11 straight hitters at point, striking out the side in the fifth inning before the Lumberjacks pushed two more unearned runs across in the sixth. Junior right-hander Joe Rosenstein took over for Anderson in the seventh and fired a scoreless frame before running into trouble in the eighth. With two runners on, the Cougars called up lefthander Isaac Mullins who got the final two outs.
Sunitsch took over in the ninth and got a groundout before a bad-hop error put one runner on. The junior lefthander got the next batter to hit into a 6-4-3 game-ending double play, giving WSU the combined no-hitter.
Matheny and Alvarez each collected three hits in the second game with Matheny adding three RBI while Rudkin scored three times and Plew reached base four times. Plew has reached base in all nine games he has played this season.
The Cougars continue their homestand with a four-game series against Utah Valley University beginning Thursday at 4 p.m.