A RUNNING LIST of news, notes, quips and quotes from in and around the Cougar Nation. Updated regularly.
COUGS FINISH EIGHTH AT NCAA WOMEN'S ROWING CHAMPIONSHIPS, SECOND-BEST EVER
The Cougars’ second varsity eight crew finished sixth and WSU placed eighth as a team at the 2015 NCAA Rowing Championships at Lake Natoma at Gold River, Calif. Washington State matched its second-best finish in school history at the NCAA campionships, and best since 2008. (WSU placed fourth at the NCAA Championships in 2006). The women's rowing team was rated No. 9 in the nation in the final regular season poll.
KLAY THOMPSON'S AVAILABILITY FOR GAME 1 IN QUESTION
The status of Golden State's second-leading scorer is in jeopardy for Thursday’s Game 1 of the NBA Finals against Cleveland, multiple media outlets reported. Thompson suffered what was later determined to be a concussion in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals. The NBA’s concussion-protocol guidelines mandate he be symptom-free during a variety of tests before he can return to the court. The Warriors have offered no timeline for Thompson’s return.
Former Washington State quarterback Jeff Tuel has been waived by the Buffalo Bills. Tuel, signed by Buffalo as an undrafted free agent in 2013, spent last season on the practice squad. In 2013, he appeared in two games with one start and completed 26 of 59 passes (44.1 percent) for 309 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. Tuel was cut to make room for Matt Simms, a little-used backup with the New York Jets under new Bills (and former Jets) coach Rex Ryan. The Jets waived Simms after he asked for his release.
The good news for Tuel is that it's early, which boosts his chances of getting picked up by another team. His former head coach at Buffalo, Doug Marrone, was a fan of Tuel's and is now an assistant with Jacksonville so the Jags might be a natural landing place. -- Howie Stalwick
ALL 3 WSU BOATS ADVANCE AT NCAA ROWING CHAMPIONSHIPS
All three of No. 9-ranked Washington State's boats advanced Friday on the first day of racing at the NCAA Championships at Lake Natoma at Gold River, Calif. Both the second varsity eight and varsity four crews advanced to the A/B Final directly from their first heats Friday, while the varsity eight advanced via the Repechage race in the afternoon.
The first two finishers from each of the four morning heats advanced directly to the A/B Finals, while the others had to return for afternoon racing. The top two from each of the afternoon Repechage heats, advanced to the A/B Finals with the rest advancing to the C/D Finals. “The varsity eight had a very gutsy race today to get all three of our boats into the A/B Semifinals,” WSU head coach Jane LaRiviere said in a press release. “I’m happy with the determination shown by all three crews today. Every single Cougar brought their A game today and tomorrow we’re going to have to have our A-plus game.” .
Dan Ramsay, who stepped down last month as Whitworth University's baseball coach to become director of baseball operations at WSU, has been rehired by the Pirates, the Spokesman-Review reports. With Donnie Marbut's release as Cougar coach this week, Ramsay's job in Cougarville quickly went from new to precarious. Ramsay will be entering his eighth season at Whitworth.
KLAY THOMPSON HAD CONCUSSION SYMPTOMS AFTER CLINCHING WIN
Klay Thompson was celebrating Wednesday as the final few seconds ticked off in Golden State's series-clinching win over Houston. He wasn't celebrating for long. Thompson threw up and experienced other concussion-like symptoms. In the second half of the game he was kicked in the head by Houston forward Trevor Ariza. Thompson scored 20 points in the 104-90 win before having to leave at the 9:41 mark of the fourth quarter. The Rockets' forward bit on Thompson's pump-fake and his knee collided with Thompson's ear (which required stitches). Thompson has time to recover. The showdown with LeBron James in the NBA Finals doesn't begin until June 4.
GALVIN, SON OF COUGREAT BRIAN FORDE MAKING THEIR CFL MOVES
The B.C. Lions of the CFL added former Cougar wideout Rickey Galvin to their roster on Wednesday, according to The Sports Network. The Lions are coached by former Cal head man Jeff Tedford. Also on the club is Maxx Forde, the son of 1980s Cougar linebacking great Brian Forde. Maxx Forde was the club's seventh-round pick in this year's draft. Before signing with Idaho as a prep senior, the younger Forde was verbally committed to WSU. He changed his mind the night before 2010 Signing Day, drawing then-coach Paul Wulff's ire. Galvin and Forde are among a group of players who arrived at the Lions' practice facility Wednesday ahead of a three-day rookie camp in Kamloops.
PISTORESE, HAMILTON NAMED TO ALL PAC-12 TEAM, SAGDAL HONORABLE MENTION
WSU pitchers Joe Pistorese and Ian Hamilton were named to the All-Pac-12 baseball team, the conference announced Wednesday. Cougar infielder Ian Sagdal was named honorable mention. Pistorese and Sagdal are seniors, Hamilton a sophomore.
Pistorese was 8-5 with a 2.41 ERA this season. Twice he was named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week and led the Pac-12 in complete games with four. He ended his Cougar career as WSU's all-time leader in innings pitched. Hamilton, a closer, posted a 1.67 ERA in 43 innings and tied for the Pac-12 lead with 13 saves (16th nationally). He became WSU’s all-time leader with 28. Sagdal led the team in nearly every offensive category, setting career highs in batting average (.298), runs (35), hits (61), doubles (13), triples (5), home runs (6), RBI (34) and stolen bases (13). He finished ranked among the Pac-12 leaders in slugging percentage, home runs, triples and stolen bases.
JERMAINE GREEN SENTENCED TO 12 YEARS
Former Cougar running back Jermaine Green, who was shot by police in 2013 as he held his girlfriend hostage with a knife, was sentenced Tuesday to 12 years in prison with credit for 609 days time already served, the Daytona Beach News Journal reported. Green, 33, pleaded no contest on April 1 to aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and kidnapping. Green, a junior college transfer to WSU, rushed for 829 yards for the Rose Bowl Cougs of 2002 and 285 in 2003. He was briefly with the New York Giants.
James Hunter, a little-used reserve during his time at Washington State, piled up 14 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots in his pro debut Friday in New Zealand’s National Basketball League. Hunter, a 6-foot-10 center who started at NCAA Division I South Dakota last season after transferring as a senior, signed with the Telecom Business Hub Jets of Palmerston North, New Zealand. Hunter grew up in nearby Australia. Hunter played a year of junior college ball before compiling just 17 points and seven rebounds in two seasons with the Cougars (2012-14). -- Howie Stalwick
COUGS MANAGE ONLY ONE COMBINED RUN IN DROPPING DOUBLEHEADER TO STANFORD
This just in, you can't win if you don't score. Washington State managed just one run on the day as Stanford completed a doubleheader sweep with scores of 9-0 and 3-1 on Saturday at Bailey-Brayton Field. The Cougars are now 28-27 on the year, 10-19 in Pac-12 play. In Game 1, the wheels fell off in the sixth inning, as Stanford scored seven runs in the frame to break a scoreless tie and hand Sean Hartnett (3-6) the loss. In Game 2, Joe Pistorese went 8 1/3 innings, allowing three runs while striking out seven in taking the loss. The senior ends his career as WSU’s all-time leader in innings pitched, starts, and at No. 10 in strikeouts. The series, and season, concludes Sunday. Washington State will recognize six seniors playing their final games at 11:50 a.m., with first pitch scheduled for 12:05 p.m. The game will be shown on the Pac-12 Washington and Bay Area channels and on Pac-12.com.
PAC-12 DISTRIBUTED $21 MILLION TO EACH SCHOOL IN FY14
The Pac-12 Conference distributed more than $21 million each to Washington State and 10 other members of the conference in fiscal year 2014, according to tax filings released Thursday and digested rather nicely HERE
by Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News. Utah, which didn't become a full member of the conference until the start of the current fiscal year, received $16 million.
The conference's total revenue for FY14 was $374 million, up $40 million from FY13, and the largest total among the nation's five major conferences. Television rights accounted for $282 million of the total. The Pac-12's stay atop the national money tree could be short lived, says Wilner. If the SEC and Big 10 keep expenses fixed, their pending new TV contracts will leave Pac-12 schools far behind in amounts distributed.
HOW DID PAC-12 DO IN NFL DRAFT?
The Pac-12 produced 39 NFL draft choices, third behind the ACC (47) and the SEC (53), according to this thorough breakdown by Scout.com:
KLAY THOMPSON NAMED THIRD-TEAM ALL-NBA
CouGreat Klay Thompson was named third-team All-NBA on Thursday, the league announced. Thompson, 25, averaged a career-high 21.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 31.9 minutes over 77 games (all starts). He was second in the league in 3-pointers with 239, fourth in 3-point percentage (.439) and 10th in scoring. The Washington State product set an NBA record with 37 points in the third quarter of one game en route to a career-high 52, and helped lead the Warriors to a franchise record and NBA-best 67 wins this season as Golden State captured its first Pacific Division title since 1975-76.
OLD COUG ALEX BURG SWINGING A BIG BAT
Former Washington State baseball player Alex Burg has been named Offensive Player of the Week in the California League. In six games for the week ending Sunday, Burg hit .409 (9-for-22) with three home runs, four doubles and 11 runs batted in for Class A High Desert of Adelanto, Calif. Through Tuesday, Burg led the league in on-base percentage (.429), slugging percentage (.657) and on-base percentage plus slugging percentage (1.085). He was fourth in hitting at .333, fourth in homers with eight and tied for seventh in RBIs with 25 in 29 games.
Burg, a utility player, signed with Texas after hitting .264 with seven home runs and 29 RBIs in 76 games last season for the Miami Marlins’ Class AA affiliate in Jacksonville, Fla. Burg is older (27) and more experienced (six pro seasons) than most Class A players, and milb.com speculates that Burg may soon be promoted to Fresno, Calif., in the AAA Pacific Coast League. -- Howie Stalwick
WELL-TRAVELED COUG JED COLLINS LOOKING FOR NEW HOME
Former WSU standout Jed Collins, signed as a free agent in March by Dallas, was released by the Cowboys on Monday. Tyler Clutts, who played in all 16 regular-season games with Dallas last season, was re-signed to replace Collins at fullback. The Cowboys were Collins' 10th NFL team since he finished at WSU in 2007. He never made it into a game until 2011, when he began a stellar three-year run with New Orleans. The 29-year-old Collins spent last season with the Detroit Lions. -- Howie Stalwick
ROCHESTIE LEADING SCORER IN EUROLEAGUE GAMES
Former Washington State basketball star Taylor Rochestie won the Alphonso Ford Trophy as the leading scorer in Euroleague games. Rochestie led the Euroleague with 18.9 points per game, 50 percent shooting on 3-pointers and 92.5 percent shooting at the free-throw line. The Nizhny Novgorod (Russia) point guard scored in double figures in all 21 games he played. Rochestie was named to the All-Euroleague third team by Eurobasket.com. Nizhny Novgorod is now engaged in the semifinals of the United League playoffs. -- Howie Stalwick
COUGS, OTHER AIR RAID TEAMS RUN THE MOST PLAYS
When it comes to running the most offensive plays in a college football game, it's tough to top the Air Raid. According to College Football Matrix (cfbmatrix.com), four of the five most prolific teams in the nation in 2014 -- as measured by average number of offensive plays per game -- were from the Air Raid: Baylor, West Virginia, Cal and Washington State. The only outlier in the top five was Colorado.
LAS VEGAS DOESN'T LIKE WSU's CHANCES TO GO BOWLING
Las Vegas oddsmaker Chris Andrews released his over/under win totals on againstthenumber.com and pegged the Cougs at five wins. Seven Pac-12 teams -- Oregon, UCLA, Stanford, ASU, USC, Utah and Arizona -- were all at seven or greater. Cal was also pegged with a five-win over/under, Colorado was at 4.5 and Oregon State and Washington are listed at four.
COUGS BATTLE BACK BUT LOSE IN EXTRAS VS. NO. 12 ASU
Washington State was game, but they ran out of chances Saturday and fell 6-5 to No. 12 ASU in 11 innings. WSU dug themselves a formidable first inning hole, trailing 4-0 after the opening frame. Still trailing 5-1 entering the fifth, the Cougars cut the lead in half as Cooper Elliott doubled with one out then Ian Sagdal followed with his team-leading sixth home run. In the seventh Ben Roberts’ two-out double scored Elliott and Jack Strunc, tying the game. The Cougs had their chances to plate the go-ahead run in the following innings but couldn't break through. ASU, meanwhile, had runners on virtually every inning after the seventh and while WSU turned away the threat time and time again, Andrew Snow’s RBI single in the 11th gave the Sun Devils the 6-5 victory. The Cougars return to action Friday when they begin a three-game home series against Stanford to close out the 2015 schedule. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. and will be televised by the Pac-12 Networks.
HALLIDAY NO LONGER WITH REDSKINS; DONE WITH FOOTBALL?
Connor Halliday did not participate in Friday's rookie minicamp for Washington, and the Redskins said he is no longer a member of the team. Oddly, no official reason was given by the team, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch but ESPN -- citing an unnamed source -- reported that Halliday had "lost his love for football" and may be done with the game. Efforts by CF.C to reach Halliday for comment have been unsuccessful.
Washington State managed only five hits in a 5-0 loss to No. 12 Arizona State on Thursday night. It was still anyone's game until the late innings, when ASU added two runs to make it 4-0 in the seventh inning and another in the eighth. The series continues Friday from Phoenix Municipal Stadium with lefty ace Joe Pistorese taking the mound for WSU. First pitch is scheduled for 5:10 p.m. and will be televised by the Pac-12 Networks.
SEAHAWKS ASSISTANT NOT A FAN OF THE SPREAD OFFENSE
A debate between Mike Leach and Seahawks o-line coach Tom Cable would make for some great theater. Cable, the o-line coach for Seattle, told ESPN the spread is making college players worse. “Unfortunately, I think we’re doing a huge disservice to offensive football players — other than a receiver — that come out of these spread systems. The runners aren’t as good. They aren’t taught how to run. The blockers aren’t as good. The quarterbacks aren’t as good. They don’t know how to read coverage and throw progressions. They have no idea.”
SAGDAL STARS AS COUGS TOP PORTLAND
Ian Sagdal drove in three and stole three bases to lead Washington State (27-23) to a 7-3 victory over Portland Tuesday in Pasco. Six Cougar pitchers saw action with starter Sam Triece picking up the win to improve to 5-0. The Cougars return to Pac-12 play Thursday when they face No. 12 Arizona State. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.
WITH LEACH, YOU NEED TO WIN YOUR JOB EVERY WEEK, SAYS MAYLE
“He’s a great coach, he just wants the best out of his players. He treats it like a business. You win your job every week,” says Browns 4th-round pick Vince Mayle on playing for WSU's Mike Leach, in an article on clevelandbrowns.com -
TONI POLE SIGNS WITH BENGALS
Cougar DT Toni Pole, an undrafted free agent, signed with the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals after attending the team’s rookie mini-camp over the weekend, the Bengals announced.
Terms of the contract were not released. Pole is listed as a 6-foot-2, 311-pound defensive tackle on the Bengals’ roster. - Howie Stalwick
2015 WIDEOUT WILL STAY CLOSE TO HOME
Wide receiver prospect Rickey Preston out of Boutte, La., will stay close to home and play for Tulane, NOLA.com reports. The Cougs had been in the mix for Preston along with TCU as the 6-1, 180-pounder worked toward becoming NCAA qualified.
COUGAR SIGNEE ONE OF TOP 100 DRAFT PROSPECTS
Pitcher Parker McFadden has been tabbed by Baseball America as one of the top 100 prospects in the nation for June’s Major League draft. The 94-mile-per-hour-throwing right-hander from Yelm signed a letter of intent with WSU in November. In its May 7 update, Baseball America pegs him the No. 82 overall prospect for the upcoming draft. McFadden threw the first no-hitter of his prep career two weeks ago, and also has three one-hitters this season.
BASEBALL: DING DONG THE WITCH IS DEAD
Washington State had lost seven straight to Oregon on the baseball diamond -- that streak ended Saturday night. On a night where ace Joe Pistorese did not have his best curve ball, it's instructive to note Pistorese still
allowed only one run over 7 1/3 innings in getting the win. Trailing 1-0 in the seventh inning, Cougars Cameron Frost and P.J. Jones drove in a pair to get the Cougs the lead. Ian Sagdal then raced home on a wild pitch in the eighth to pace the Cougs to the 3-1 victory. Fireballer Ian Hamilton worked a 1-2-3 ninth with mid-90s heat to record his 12th save of the season. The Cougs go for the series win Sunday at Bailey-Brayton Field with first pitch scheduled for 12:05 p.m. The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.
BASEBALL: COUGS FALL APART IN EXTRAS
Washington State squandered two prime opportunities against Oregon in the eighth and ninth innings and then fell apart in extra innings, losing 8-3 at Bailey-Brayton Field Friday evening. The Cougs plated three in the seventh to take a 3-2 lead, but then gave a run right back in the eighth. Tied at 3-3, the Cougs had two chances with the winning run in scoring position but a strikeout and a ground out sent the game to extras. The 10th inning was a nightmare: a bunt single, a walk, a sacrifice bunt, another walk, a bases-loaded pinch-hit single, a walk to force home another run, an error - well, you get the gist. The Ducks added two more runs on top of all that to win 8-3. The series contuse Saturday at 7 p.m. on Pac-12 Oregon.
MAYLE LIMITED AT BROWNS' ROOKIE CAMP
Washington State's Vince Mayle, Cleveland's fourth-round pick in the NFL draft, doesn't have the thumbs up just yet. The wideout showed up for rookie camp with his right hand heavily wrapped and was limited during the two-hour practice Friday at the Browns facility in Berea, cleveland.com reports. Mayle fractured his thumb at the Senior Bowl. "I'm not going to catch," he told the newspaper. "I'm not going to grab anything. I'm just going to run my routes. Everything's all right. It's just a little sore. I broke my thumb a while back, so it's still getting healthy again."
JERRY WEST HOPING KLAY THOMPSON'S OFF NIGHT ISN'T REPEATED
Former Washington State star Klay Thompson helped the NBA’s Golden State Warriors win a team-record 67 games in the regular season. However, Warriors executive Jerry West was quick to cite Thompson’s poor performance Tuesday as a major factor in the playoff loss to Memphis. Thompson made a game-high five turnovers and scored just 13 points in the 97-90 loss in Oakland. Thompson sank only 6 of 15 shots from the field, including 1 of 6 from 3-point range.
“I’ve never seen him that off in a game,” West told reporters Thursday. “All year long, he never played like that. I think Klay is someone who takes everything personal – he wants to succeed so much, he tries so hard … and (Tuesday) he just did not have it.”
West pointed out that league MVP Stephen Curry also struggled in the contest. Thompson’s backcourt partner led Golden State with 19 points and six assists, but he went 7-for-19 from the field (2-for-11 on 3’s). The best-of-7 West Conference semifinal series is tied at 1-1. The teams play Game 3 Saturday in Memphis (5 p.m., ABC). -- Howie Stalwick
HOOPS TOP 25 CLASS RANKINGS: TROUBLE FOR COUGS DOWN THE ROAD?
Scout.com has updated its top 25 recruiting class rankings in basketball. For Cougar fans, it's not just that Washington State didn't make the list despite a seven-member class -- it's that SIX Pac-12 teams did, including two from the Pacific Northwest. For the complete list of rankings and analysis, CLICK HERE
PEYTON AND FALK ARE LIKE SPICOLI AND A FARMER
Mike Leach on the SiriusXM College Sports program Wednesday said Cougar quarterbacks Luke Falk and Peyton Bender are about as low-key as it gets. “These are the calmest guys I’ve ever dealt with,” Leach said. “I mean, you’ll go along, and these guys will even calm me down. The one guy is like Jeff Spicoli, and the other guy’s like a farmer, they calm down and just move on.”
THREE MORE BOWLS PUSH POSTSEASON TO 42 BOWL GAMES
Three more bowls have been added to college football's postseason per the NCAA, pushing the total to 42 bowls. New bowl games in Austin and Orlando will be match up between teams from the American Athletic Conference and the Sun Belt. In Tucson, Conference USA and the Mountain West will meet. However, if those conferences don't have enough bowl eligible teams, the bowls could draw from other leagues. The three new additions mean approximately 64 percent of the Football Bowl Subdivision will now go bowling. In 1995, there were 18 bowl games. During the 16 years of the BCS (1998-2013), bowl games increased from 20 to 35.
TONI POLE AT BENGALS' ROOKIE MINI-CAMP
Former Cougar nose tackle Toni Pole (6-2, 302) will compete at the Bengals rookie mini-camp that gets underway Thursday according to the official WSU football Instagram account. Pole went undrafted and has apparently not signed an undrafted free agent contract, though a strong performance in Cincy could change that. Pole will forever be known to WSU fans for his interception one the first play of overtime in the 2012 Apple Cup that led to the Cougars' win. This past season he posted 14 tackles in 11 games.
ROMBERG WINS TITLE IN ROOKIE SEASON
Former Washington State basketball player Sage Romberg capped her first pro season by helping CREF Hola of Madrid claim the league championship in Spain’s No. 2 women’s league. Romberg, a forward-center, averaged 9.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.4 steals.
Point guard Rosie Abzasu, a former WSU teammate of Romberg, played in the same league but did not make the playoffs with Araski of Vitoria-Gasteiz. Adzasu averaged 5.7 points, 2.7 assists and 1.3 steals this season. Meanwhile, another old Coug -- Ireti Amojo -- is playing in the top women’s league in her native Germany and finished third on Herner TC with 12.0 points per game this season. Amojo’s team finished second in the league at 18-4 but lost in the first round of the playoffs. -- Howie Stalwick
WSU FUNDRAISERS MAY WANT THESE GUYS ON SPEED DIAL
Orange and Brown Report, Scout.com's affiliate covering the Cleveland Browns, is out this week with the salaries that the club's new draft picks will earn this season if they make the 53-man active roster. Cougars Xavier Cooper and Vince Mayle are slotted in at $563,750 and $540,027, respectively. Cougar QB Connor Halliday, who signed with Washington as an undrafted free agent, will earn the NFL rookie minimum of $435,000 if he makes the active roster.
ANOTHER TWEET TYING FORMER COUGAR DAQUAWN BROWN TO FRESNO STATE
In a move telegraphed last month by a former high school teammate, cornerback Daquawn Brown has reportedly transferred to Fresno State according to a tweet by Scout.com's Greg Biggins. There has been no official word from Fresno State. Brown was dismissed from Washington State back in December following an unspecified violation of team rules. He was a spectator at a practice this spring but did not have any interaction with Mike Leach or the WSU coaches.
DON'T EXPECT A CHANGE TO 8-GAME CONFERENCE SCHEDULE
While there's been a lot of talk about the benefits of playing an 8-game conference schedule, and it might come up in conference meetings this week, it'll never happen because the league's TV partners, says Jon Wilner of the Mercury News. "Reducing the number of league games from nine to eight would further undermine the content quality — it’s not like the schools will turn around and schedule powerhouse Power 5 opponents. They’ll look for cupcakes. The networks want no part of that," writes Wilner.
COUG RYAN WALKER GRABS PAC-12 HONOR
Washington State freshman Ryan Walker has been named the Pac-12 Conference Pitcher of the Week for April 27-May 3, the Pac-12 announced. In two starts last week against UW and Arizona, Walker worked a combined 11 2/3 innings, allowing four hits, striking out 12 and issuing three walks. Opponents hit .105 against him and managed two extra base hits. Of the 154 pitches he threw, 105 (68 percent) went for strikes. In his last three outings Walker has worked 16 1/3 shutout innings, striking out 12 while surrendering six hits, lowering his season ERA to 1.69.
OLD COUG CONLEY DOING WELL IN AAA
Adam Conley, rated one of Miami’s top minor league prospects, made his third consecutive strong start Sunday in the Pacific Coast League. The left-hander scattered seven hits over six innings and allowed two runs in New Orleans’ 4-3 win over visiting Memphis. Conley improved to 2-1 with a 3.42 earned run average. Since losing in his season debut, Conley is 2-0 with a 2.55 ERA in three games. The PCL is a Class AAA league, the top level of the minor leagues. Outfielder Kyle Johnson is the only other Cougar in AAA. He’s batting .229 with no home runs and five steals in six attempts for Las Vegas, the PCL affiliate of the New York Mets. -Howie Stalwick
BASEBALL: COUGS LOSE GAME IN EXTRA INNINGS, SERIES TOO
Cougar pitchers blanked Arizona for nine innings on Sunday. Alas for the Cougs, they couldn't manage a run either. In the top half of the 11th, Arizona capitalized on a two-out dropped fly-ball error for the winning runs. WSU starter Ryan Walker pitched a career-high seven shutout innings, allowing only two hits, one walk. He struck out seven. Coug closer Ian Hamilton came on in the ninth and took the tough loss. Washington State outhit the Wildcats 8-to-4 but stranded 11 base runners. Washington State will host Oregon in a three-game set starting Friday, May 8 with first pitch scheduled for 7:30 p.m. The series will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.
BASEBALL: COUGS BOUNCE BACK AGAINST ARIZONA
Washington State beat Arizona 5-3 on Saturday to even their three-game series with the Wildcats. With the game tied 3-3, Washington State (25-20, 8-12 Pac-12) plated two runs when Shea Donlin singled home Ian Sagdal and Shane Matheny. Starter Joe Pistorese worked a solid 6 2/3 innings, surrendering two earned runs on six hits but did not figure in the decision against Arizona (26-18, 10-13 Pac-12). Sam Triece picked up the decision to move to 4-0 on the season after working 1 1/3 innings of no-hit relief before giving way to Ian Hamilton who worked a perfect ninth to pick up his 11th save on the season. Derek Chapman collected four hits in the win. Sunday's deciding game is scheduled for 12 p.m. with freshman Ryan Walker (1-0, 1.98 ERA) on the mound for WSU against Arizona's Bobby Dalbec (2-5, 4.05).
WSU COACHES TALK COUGAR DRAFT, NFL HOPEFULS
Graham Harrell and Joe Salave'a were among those weighing in on the eve of the draft on Xavier Cooper, Connor Halliday and Vince Mayle. For the video,
LEACH TALKS HALLIDAY ON PAC-12 CONFERENCE CALL
Mike Leach on a Pac-12 conference call on Thursday said Connor Halliday has a better arm than any other QB in the NFL draft, and that the ball comes off his hand better than anyone in the draft. Leach said Halliday has proven he can move the ball downfield and that Leach sees him as a very good NFL prospect. "I hope he’s not under-drafted but whatever team takes him is going to be very pleased," said Leach.
Leach also cited three things needed for the Cougs to take next the step: Get older. Play better on D (specifically tackling, turnovers) and offensively, to be more consistent. Leach said the entire offensive line returning should help that last item.
CONFESSIONS OF A FOOTBALL MOM, BY JESSICA HALLIDAY
Sports Illustrated's MMMQ (Monday Morning Quarterback) feature, as part of its NFL draft coverage, is out this week with an outstanding column by Connor Halliday's mom, Jessica. Her tale begins with the surgeon telling her Connor was lucky the way his leg broke when Leonard Williams of USC rolled up on it late last season. "I am daunted by what lies ahead, helping my son face the possibility that his dreams are shattered along with his leg. The countless hours of training and preparation put in up to this moment—mine, not Connor’s—may not have been enough," Mama Halliday writes.
"Connor’s passion (did I say passion? I meant enslavement) has taken (did I say taken? I meant dragged) me across every terrain, geographic and physical and emotional. Along the way I’ve earned real friends, mothers belonging to an elite club whose rite of passage is harsh, a cruel hazing ritual consisting of being forced to watch your son injured, praised, chastised and ridiculed, all in service of what some people call a game," she adds about life as a QB mom. CLICK HERE
to read the full story. It's a great story.
WSU ASSISTANT DAVE YOST HAS ONE SWEET RIDE IN SPOKANE
WSU assistants were out on the recruiting trail for the spring evaluation period as soon as spring ball ended - this was Dave Yost's ride in Spokane today:
ROCHESTIE STILL GETTING IT DONE
Taylor Rochestie’s Twitter account includes video of him making trick shots, including 21 of 27 free throws while blindfolded (https://twitter.com/trochestie). Rochestie holds the WSU career record for free-throw shooting percentage at 83.5.
Rochestie, in his second season in Russia, has again led Nizhny Novgorod into the United League playoffs. He tied for 10th in league scoring with 16.0 points per game, and he came in ninth in assists at 5.7. He hit 40 percent of his 3-pointers in 23 games with Nizhny Novgorod (19-11), which tied for fifth in the 16-team league.
Elsewhere on the European pro hoops scene, former Washington State player Thomas Abercrombie recently signed with Gipuzkoa of San Sebastian, Spain. Gipuzkoa plays in Spain’s top league, Liga Endisa. Thomas Kelati, a former WSU standout from Walla Walla, plays in the same league with UCAM of Mercia. - Howie Stalwick
FORMER COUG LB PETERSON RECEIVES HONOR
Former Washington State linebacker Mitch Peterson out of Spokane was named to the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame 2015 Hampshire Honor Society, the NFF announced Wednesday. Peterson earned Pac-12 All-Academic First Team honors this past season as a senior. He was a two-year letterwinner at WSU, appearing in 19 games, making one start and recording 24 career tackles.
PAC-12 TRIES TO GET IT RIGHT IN OFFICIATING WITH NEW HIRE
Coming off a year when it’s football officials were roundly criticized and its Coordinator of Officials quit midseason, the Pac-12 has hired David Coleman to lead its officiating programs, the conference said in a release. Coleman will be the league’s Vice President of Officiating after serving as the Director of Officiating for the NFL since 2010. In the Pac-12’s newly created full-time role, Coleman will be responsible for overseeing the football officiating program and developing comprehensive best practice programs, training, consistency and accountability across all Pac-12 officiating programs.
OLD COUG MIKE BUSH NAMED NEW HEAD COACH AT IN-STATE HIGH SCHOOL
Mike Bush has been named the new head football coach at Kentwood High in Convington, the Seattle Times reports. Bush, 35, has been a high school assistant coach the last seven seasons. He coached wide receivers at Bothell High and helped the team to the Class 4A state championship last fall. Bush, a graduate of Kent-Meridian High, starred in football and basketball at Washington State, earning All-Pac-10 honors in both sports.
COUGS DOWN DAWGS FOR THIRD TIME THIS SEASON
Washington State defeated Washington 3-0 Monday evening in Pac-12 baseball action in Seattle. In the process, the Cougs completed the season series against the Dawgs with a 3-1 record and improved their overall mark to 24-19. WSU's Ian Hamilton stuck out three in the ninth en route to his WSU-record 25th-career save. The Cougar pitching staff tossed a 3-hitter with 14 strikeouts. Ryan Walker set the tone early working 4 2/3 innings of two-hit baseball, striking out five, before giving way to relievers Layne Bruner and Sean Hartnett. The Cougars got on the board early using a walk, ground-rule double and fielder’s choice to take a 1-0 advantage in the third. P.J. Jones started the rally drawing a leadoff walk before advancing to third on a laced ground-rule double to right-center by Shea Dolin. Jones came around to score on an RBI fielder’s choice by Jack Strunc.
COUGS TAKE THIRD STRAIGHT PAC-12 BASEBALL SERIES
Washington State senior Sam Triece threw six shutout innings and Jack Strunc drove in two during a key sixth inning as WSU defeated Utah 6-1 to take their third straight Pac-12 series. Triece allowed just a second-inning single, struck out seven, did not walk a batter and did not allow a runner past second as he picked up his third win in his last four outings. Washington State (23-19, 7-11), up 3-0 after six, added two more in the seventh. Ian Sagdal drove in one with a triple to right-center. The Cougars play a nonconference game Monday night against Washington in Seattle. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. and will be televised by the Pac-12 Networks.
BASEBALL: COUGS DON'T TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OPPORTUNITIES IN GAME 2 AT UTAH
WSU had ace Joe Pistorese on the mound facing Utah, the last-place team in the Pac-12, but the Cougs (22-19, 6-11 Pac-12) could manage only one run and fell 4-1 on Saturday. The loss evened the series at 1-1 with the rubber match Sunday. Pistorese worked seven innings and allowed six hits. The Cougs' only run came in the sixth inning when Cooper Elliott ripped an RBI triple to deep center, easily scoring Strunc from third to make it 2-1. But Utah came back with a pair of runs in the seventh to close out the scoring. Washington State can still win its third-straight Pac-12 series Sunday. The first pitch is scheduled for 11 a.m. PT. Sam Triece (2-0, 3.60 ERA). goes against Utah's Jayson Rose (3-3, 3.88 ERA).
BASEBALL: COUGS TAKE THE FIFTH IN UTAH
Washington State broke open a 3-3 tie in the fifth inning in their series opener at Utah, plating five runs on their way to a 10-3 win on Friday. WSU (22-18, 6-10) capitalized on three Ute errors with Ben Roberts' double being the key hit in the rally. Ian Sagdal connected on his fifth home run of the season, a three-run shot to give the Cougs an early 3-2 lead. Ryan Walker came on in relief of Cougar starter Sean Hartnett to work 4 2/3 innings, allowing two hits and no runs to earn his first win of the season. Roberts ended the day 2-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored. The series continues Saturday at Smith’s Park with the first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m. MT, noon PT.
ESPN MOCK DRAFTS: WILL PATS TAKE A COUG OR HUSKY IN ROUND 3?
ESPN'S Mel Kiper and Todd McShay see New England selecting either a Coug or a Husky with the 96th pick in the draft. Kiper projects the Pats to take DT Xavier Cooper: "Cooper is a penetrator who can deepen the D-line rotation early on." McShay, meanwhile, thinks New England selects S/LB Shaq Thompson. "Thompson is a good value pick this late in the third round," says McShay. The draft gets underway next Thursday.
COUGS WAITING ON CLIFFORD, HOSTING ANOTHER BIG?
Washington State is in the final two for JUCO center Conor Clifford with a decision expected tomorrow between WSU and Utah - but there's another big also in the mix. Andy Van Vliet, a 6-10 lefty forward out of Belgium recently tweeted he's visiting the Palouse. "Excited and thankful to be visiting the universities of Wisconsin, Washington State, Saint Mary's and Oklahoma State this week! #Blessed
, he tweeted.
START TIME FOR SUNDAY'S WSU-UTAH BASEBALL GAME CHANGED
Washington State’s baseball game against Utah, Sunday, April 26 in Salt Lake City has been moved to a noon start (11 a.m. PT).
FORMER COUG CB DAQUAWN BROWN HEADED TO FRESNO STATE?
Fresno State wide receiver Delvon Hardaway tweeted out this week that former WSU corner Daquawn Brown is headed to Fresno State. Daquawn Brown Washington State freshman all American will be a bulldog this year!!
Hardaway tweeted. There has been no official word from Fresno State nor any independent media reports that Brown is bound for Fresno State. Brown was dismissed back in December following an unspecified violation of team rules. He was a spectator at a practice this spring but did not have any interaction with the WSU coaches.
NEW WSU DIRECTOR OF BASEBALL OPERATIONS
Dan Ramsay, who guided Whitworth to a 2012 Division III College World Series berth, will become the new WSU director of baseball operations. The change, however, will not take place until the end of the season. Whitworth is 25-18 this year, 16-8 in conference play. Ramsay is 126-149-2 in his seven seasons leading the Pirates.
COUG O-LINE GETS RINGING ENDORSEMENT FROM GESSER
Jason Gesser, commenting on the o-line play from Saturday's scrimmage during Monday's Cougar Calls with Bill Moos, was effusive in his praise. "I'm going to call it right now. Our offensive line is one of the better offensive lines I've seen since I've been playing here. They're playing so well up front, and they've got so much depth," said Gesser, who starred at WSU from 1999-2002.
COUGAR BASEBALL: 7-2 IN HOME STAND
Washington State's baseball team improved to 21-18 Saturday with an 8-5 win in Pullman over San Jose State. The victory, powered by J.J. Hancock's three hits and Sam Triece's five innings of scoreless relief pitching, gave the Cougs a 3-1 advantage in the four-game series. Saturday's contest marked the end of a nine-game home stand in which the Cougars went 7-2. They head to Utah on Friday for a three-game series and then to Seattle for one game with the Huskies on April 27 before returning to Pullman for a three-game set with Arizona May 1-3.
JC CENTER CLIFFORD ADDS UTAH TO LIST
Conor Clifford, the touted 7-foot, 270-pound JC center thought to be choosing between offers from Washington State and South Carolina, has added a third school to his list. He will be visiting Utah this weekend and announce his choice next Friday, his coach tells The State newspaper. He already has tripped to WSU and South Carolina. The spring signing period for the 2015 recruiting class began this week and runs to May 20. Clifford had a breakout year this past season at Saddleback JC after two years at UC Irvine.
TIA PRESLEY EYES FREE AGENCY FOLLOWING WNBA DRAFT
Tia Presley, the third-leading scorer in Washington State women's basketball history, wasn't picked in Thursday's WNBA draft. She was widely viewed as being among the top 50 players available. The draft ran three rounds, covering 36 spots. Reached briefly this morning, Presley said she isn't sure of what's next but will keep us posted on where she eventually lands.
CONNOR HALLIDAY: FROM INJURED TO DRAWING A BUZZ
Count CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora as among those tabbing Connor Halliday on the rise after a private workout earlier this month in front of NFL scouts. "Washington State's Connor Halliday is recovered from injury and drawing a buzz. He was on pace to smash records before breaking his leg and impressed at his pro day. I would not be surprised at all if he is one of the first four or five quarterbacks taken (Miami, Pittsburgh, Washington and San Diego are among those looking at him)," writes La Canfora.
KLAY THOMPSON AND THE YEAR OF PERSONAL BESTS
WSU great Klay Thompson, in his fourth season in the NBA, concluded the regular season with personal bests across the board. The Golden State star averaged 21.7 points, 3.1 3-point field goals made, 7.1 3-pointers attempted and 2.9 assists per game. His shooting percentages of 46.3 overall, 43.9 on 3’s and 87.9 at the free-throw line also topped his previous bests. Thompson finished 10th in the league in scoring, 11th in free-throw shooting, second in 3-pointers made, third in 3-pointers attempted and fourth in 3-point shooting percentage.
Aron Baynes, the other active Cougar in the NBA, also enjoyed a career year. In his third NBA season -- all with San Antonio -- the undrafted forward-center set career highs with 6.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, 56.6 percent field-goal shooting, 70 games and 17 starts. San Antonio and Golden State could meet in the Western Conference finals. The top-seeded Warriors open the first round Saturday at home against eighth seed New Orleans (12:30 p.m., ABC), and the sixth-seeded Spurs start their playoff run on the road Sunday against the third-seeded Los Angeles Clippers (7:30 p.m., TNT). -- Howie Stalwick
WSU HOLDING COACHES' CLINIC THIS WEEKEND
Washington State will hold a two-day coaches clinic this Friday and Saturday focusing on the 3-4 defense and the spread offense. Mike Leach and defensive coordinator Alex Grinch will deliver presentations, and there will be scheduled periods with WSU defensive, offensive and special teams staff. Interested parties looking for complete information on registration, cost and schedule information can click
FORGET SHRIMP ON THE BARBIE, ARON BAYNES IS ALL IN WITH TEXAS BARBECUE
If you thought Pullman's two resident BBQ aficionados -- Mike Leach and Ernie Kent -- were serious about the "low and slow" science of mixing heat, smoke and meat, then you haven't heard about former Cougar center Aron Baynes' obsession. The San Antonio Spurs website did a feature story this week on Baynes' love affair with BBQ
that included this little nugget: when the Spurs have two days off at home, Baynes and his wife Rachel hop in the car for "barbecue dates" that take them all over the state of Texas.
Two weeks ago, Baynes made his first "pilgrimage" to what is widely considered the finest purveyor of brisket in America, Franklin Barbecue in Austin. He waited in line two-and-half-hours, and ducked out every 30 minutes for the car to ice his swollen ankle. The wait, he said, was well worth it. As fate would have it, the big Aussie's first-ever taste of genuine BBQ came on a road trip to Waco when the Cougs played Baylor in November 2007.
JACKIE ROBINSON DAY REMINDS US OF WSU'S DUKE WASHINGTON
It's Jackie Robinson Day in Major League Baseball, which reminds us of WSU Hall of Famer Duke Washington, who broke barriers in college football in the early 1950s. Here's a LINK
to a story we did a few years ago on Duke, his journey and his place in history breaking barriers at WSU as well as the University of Texas. If you read the story in 2009, it's worth another look. If you missed it, now's the time.
Abe Lodwick, the old Cougar, is about to wrap up his third season of pro basketball in Europe and first in Belgium's Scoore League. But who knew that he was moonlighting as a pundit?
Lodwick, whose engaging personality was much appreciated by teammates, fans and media when he played at Washington State, has been tweeting about anything and everything in recent months.
“Advice for living abroad: learn some of the language,” Lodwick tweeted. He also took time to sing the praises of ladies makeup remover for face cleaning.
WSU remains close to Lodwick’s heart, as evidenced by frequent kudos he sends out to current and former Cougars athletes in various sports. He congratulated baseball coach Donnie Marbut on his 300th career win (“I still have eligibility btw”) and basketball guard DaVonte Lacy for his all-conference selection (“well deserved”). He also tweeted about a “Go Cougs” greeting he received in London (“noticed my bag, she graduated last year. Small world, gotta love it.”).
In addition, Lodwick has weighed in on the "unreal" Euro to Dollar exchange rate, and the healthier eating habits of Europeans compared to Americans. He also came to the defense of Little League World Series star Mo'ne Davis in the face of sexist remarks by a college baseball player. His funniest tweet may have been about basketball's wackiest TV analyst: “Bill Walton said MJ (Michael Jordan) was ‘average athlete’? Don’t do drugs kids”.
Lodwick is averaging 6.3 points and 3.1 rebounds per game this season and leads his Aalstar team with 42.5 percent shooting on 3-pointers. Lodwick posted a photo of himself and former WSU player D.J. Shelton when the two squared off this season. Shelton leads the Willebroek Kangoeroes with 15.9 points per game, and is second on the team with 5.8 rebounds. -- Howie StalwicK
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