In its final three series, Washington State (22-22, 8-13 Pac-12) will face the top three teams in the league standings: Oregon State, Stanford and UCLA.
WSU has already surpassed last year’s win total (17). But WSU needs three more wins to top last year’s 10 Pac-12 victories. And in looking at the big picture, these nine games will shine a bright light on just how close, or far away, WSU stands in Marty Lees’ second season at the helm.
Wazzu hosts UCLA (24-21, 13-8) this weekend in a three-game series beginning Friday. All three games will be televised on the Pac-12 Network (see below).
After a May 16 game at Gonzaga, WSU travels to Corvallis to face the No. 1 team in the nation. Oregon State has lost but four times in 42 games and the Beavs have won every Pac-12 series they've played this season. Nobody has been better in college baseball than the Beavers.
WSU finishes up at home against red-hot No. 10/12 Stanford (31-3, 13-8). The Cardinal has won 11 of its last 13 games.
So yes, the Cougs face a daunting final nine conference games. But it’s also a huge opportunity.
The Cougs are having a good season at the plate, their .276 average is fifth in the Pac-12. The pitching has improved these last three series, with WSU having lowered its team ERA to 4.98, eighth in the conference.
But WSU still leads the conference in errors (60) and is 11th in team fielding. A strong finish in both categories against the top teams in the Pac-12 would be big.
Wazzu’s RPI stands at 115, last in the Pac-12. But the Cougs could make a major move up the ladder if they can pull off some upsets. Oregon State’s RPI ranking is No. 1, Stanford is No. 10 and UCLA is No. 53.
WSU vs. UCLA (all games on Pac-12 Network)
Friday: 7 pm
Saturday: 4 pm
Sunday: 12 pm
- Four Cougs are batting over .300 on the season: James Rudkin (.312); Justin Harrer (.310); J.J. Hancock (.302); Shane Matheny (.301).
- Cody Anderson leads the pitching staff in innings pitched (64.2) and ERA (2.64).
- The Cougars have come from behind in 12 of their 22 wins this season, the most dramatic of which arguably came on Sunday as WSU, down to its last strike, plated two in the ninth to walk off against Oregon.
- WSU is 16-6 at home this season, 6-16 on the road.
- In addition to the UCLA games this weekend, all the games in the Cougs’ final two series against OSU and Stanford will be televised on the Pac-12 Network.