By Jamey Vinnick
It’s about as perfect of a recipe as you can get for a victory. Score early, limit the other team and tack on a few late, and that’s exactly what the Cougars did en route to a 6-4 victory over the CSUN Matadors. The Cougs wrapped up a four game set with the Matadors with a matinee 12:00 p.m. first pitch Monday and secured a 3-1 series victory. WSU gave several starters a day off, meaning a lineup comprised partly of depth guided the Cougs to a win.
WSU jumped on CSUN starter Drake Atlee right away, as Danny Sinatro singled, advanced on a sacrifice bunt, moved to third on a passed ball and then scored on a scorching single by Shane Matheny. Second baseman Alvaro Rubalcaba knocked the ball down, but couldn’t make a play on Sinatro or Matheny. Three batters later, Blake Clanton ripped one into right field, scoring Matheny and giving the Cougs an early two run lead, a lead they would not relinquish. WSU tacked a run on in both the fourth and fifth, via a James Rudkin single and a Danny Sinatro bunt single, pushing their lead to 4-0.
CSUN finally got on the board in the fifth, when Alex Hull’s sacrifice fly scored Nolan Bumstead. In the following inning, a deep triple by Albee Weiss cut the lead down to 4-2, but WSU immediately responded when Blake Clanton hit a rocket over the left field wall for his second home run of the year. Things got a little dicey for the Cougars in the eighth when Albee Weiss’s two run double off Scotty Sunitsch cut the lead to just one, but J.J. Hancock responded with a home run of his own and Sunitsch sent down CSUN in the top of the ninth for the 6-4 victory.
Freshman A.J. Block pitched well for the Cougars, going 4.2 innings while giving up 2 hits, 1 run, walking two and striking out four. Unfortunately for Block, he didn’t pitch long enough to get the win, as Colby Nealy picked up his fourth of the year and Sunitsch recorded his seventh save. CSUN starter Drake Atlee got the loss, despite leaving the game in the second inning with an injury. Atlee went one inning, yielding 3 hits, 2 runs and issuing one walk. The Cougars take a few days off before they begin a series against Pac-12 rival California in Berkley.