This Week in Cougar Baseball

NO POST-SEASON implications are on the line this weekend as Washington State closes out its baseball season against last-place Stanford in a three-game set in Pullman. But helping fuel the momentum toward 2016 no doubt will be top of mind for coach Donnie Marbut. His young squad has exceeded virtually all expectations, bringing a 28-25 overall record and 10-17 Pac-12 mark into the final weekend.

The win-loss record isn't the only reason why this season of seemingly modest possibilities turned into one of hope and high energy. Despite the youth -- 16 freshmen on the team -- the Cougs played tough against most everyone.

This past weekend at Arizona State offers a case in point. The Cougs lost the series to the No. 12-ranked Sun Devils one game to two, but came oh-so-close in extra innings to reversing those numbers. The exact same was true the weekend before against Oregon and the weekend before that against Arizona.

The Cougars won the middle game of the ASU series and then stormed back from a 5-1 deficit Sunday in the rubber match to send the game into extras before losing 6-5. Senior first baseman Ian Sagdal, the Cougars' best hitter, blasted his team-leading sixth home run of the year in that game.

In 52 games, Sagdal (pictured above) leads the Cougars in just about every offensive category, including RBI (34), slugging percentage (.518), on-base percentage (.402), and stolen bases (13).

Freshman third basemanShane Matheny has started every single game this season, and although his stats don't jump off the page, he did scored 21 runs and drove in 19 this season. He also drew 21 walks, which was fourth-most on the team.

Other freshmen standouts include outfielders Daniel Fredrickson, Wes Hatten and Derek Chapman, infielder Jack Strunc, and catcher J.J. Hancock.

This weekend will mark the end of the crimson road for senior starting pitcher Joe Pistorese, who has turned in a season to remember. The southpaw is 8-4 with a 2.34 ERA in a team-high 96 1/3 innings this season. He is the only pitcher to throw a complete game for the Cougars this year, and he has done it four times.

His strikeout-to-walk ratio is almost 3-to-1, and he is holding opposing hitters to a .236 batting average.

Stanford enters this series on down note, having been swept by Oregon State last weekend. The Cardinal (22-31, 7-20) have won two Pac-12 series' this season, and have been swept four times in conference play. The Card offense is ranked 11th in the conference in batting average, and its pitching staff owns the second-worst ERA in the Pac-12.

However, it should be noted that the Cougars have the worst batting average and the worst slugging percentage in the conference. Both teams have struggled to score runs at all, as they are both at the bottom of the conference in run totals.

Stanford is led by starting pitcher Andrew Summerville, who is 4-1 with a 3.38 ERA in six starts and 15 total appearances. Opponents are hitting .221 off of him this season.

On offense, Tommy Edman, Mikey Diekroeger, and Drew Jackson lead the Card. All three are batting .300 or higher. Edman has started all 53 games for the Cardinal and leads the team in RBI with 27.

The Cougars will have the slight advantage of playing at home in this series. WSU is 17-10 at Bailey-Brayton Field this season, while the Cardinal are 9-13 on the road this year.

The series starts on Friday at 4 p.m. Saturday's game begins at 1 p.m., and the finale is set for Sunday at noon.

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