Cougs open final series on sour note

ONE BAD INNING can undo a lot of good that came before it. So it was for Washington State in a 12-8 opening game loss in the final baseball series of the year for the Cougs on Friday. ASU scored six times in the eighth, plating men against each of the four Cougar relievers to take the mound in that inning.

The No. 21 Sun Devils (32-21, 18-10 Pac-12) were down 5-4 before exploding for six runs in the eighth and two more in the ninth. The Cougs scored three of their own in the bottom of the ninth but when you enter the final frame trailing by seven runs, you can pretty much count on defeat.

Matt Bower (2-2) was charged with a pair of runs in the eighth and took the loss. The other four runs in the inning were unearned.

Nick Tanielu led the way for the Cougs at the plate. He collected an RBI-double in the ninth inning, his fourth hit of the game. P.J. Jones added a two-run single to account for the final score.

The Cougars jumped out to a lead with a four-run second. Tanielu capped the rally with an RBI-single off Arizona State starter Brett Lilek.

The Sun Devils responded with three runs on four hits in the fourth against Cougar starter Joe Pistorese. Arizona State tied the game with a run in the seventh and loaded the bases with out to end Pistorese's night. Relievers Sam Triece and Matt Bower each recorded a strikeout to preserve a 4-4 tie.

And Washington State regained the lead in the bottom of the seventh. Trace Tam Sing led off with a single and Tanielu's two-out single gave WSU the 5-4 lead. But they couldn't hold it for long.

The series continues Saturday at 4 p.m. with the final telecast of the year for the Cougs on the Pac-12 Networks. Sunday's season finale will be streamed live for free on wsucougars.com at noon.

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