BASEBALL: Cougs face crucial weekend test

WASHINGTON STATE, FIGHTING to keep its post-season baseball hopes alive, could be getting some much-needed help in the Nick of time. Coach Donnie Marbut said third baseman Nick Tanielu, the leading hitter in the Pac-12 Conference, might return to action this weekend when the Cougars play host to UCLA. The Bruins are ranked ninth by Baseball America magazine.

Tanielu, a .402 hitter, has missed the past eight games with a left knee injury.

The eighth-place Cougars (19-18 overall, 6-9 Pac-12) have lost five of six. They've gone 1-2 in all four conference series since starting out with a 2-1 series win at Arizona State.

The third-place Bruins (25-11, 9-6) have no .300 hitters and rank last in the Pac-12 in batting (.246), but they're second in earned run average (2.55) and errors (29).

WSU stands eighth in ERA (4.09) and ninth in errors (51).

Fireworks follow Friday's 6 p.m. game at Bailey-Brayton Field.

The first pitch Saturday is set for 2 p.m. On Sunday, fans are invited to bring their dogs and enjoy $1 concession. Kids can run the bases before the noon contest.

Seventh-ranked Oregon provides the opposition May 3-5 for WSU's final games in Pullman. Graduation is May 4, so the Cougars will finish their "home" schedule in Pasco with games against Washington from May 17-19 and a May 20 nonconference game against Portland.

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