WSU spoils three-run lead in ninth inning

Cougars take down Idaho in battle of border rivals

USC scored eight times in the ninth inning against the Washington State bullpen and the Trojans rallied for a 15-10 victory in Pac-12 baseball, Friday at Bailey-Brayton Field.

Anthony Drobnick (2-1) began the ninth, his second inning of work, with the Cougars (12-11, 2-5 Pac-12) on top 10-7. A single, ground out, wild pitch and single cut the USC (16-8, 3-4 Pac-12) deficit to 10-8. After recording the second out, Washington State was one strike away from a win before a single kept the Trojans alive.

A walk loaded the bases and Adam Landecker’s two-run single tied the game 10-10. Richie Ochoa came out of the bullpen and promptly walked two men to force home the go-ahead run. Dante Flores followed with a three-run double and Kevin Swick greeted Sean Hartnett with a run-scoring double to cap the rally.

“We didn’t get a good start from J.D. (Leckenby) tonight and our bullpen didn’t do a good job,” Cougar Head Coach Donnie Marbut said. “When you are up 10-7 in the ninth at home and lose 15-10, nothing good comes out of the game.”

After USC scored in the top of the first, the Cougars tied the game on a two-out, RBI-single by Derek Jones. In the third, Jason Monda reached on a three-base error to open the frame. Taylor Ard doubled to score Monda and Jones followed with his sixth home run of the season to put the Cougars on top 4-1.

Washington State added a run in the fourth for a 5-1 lead. Ian Sagdal and Nate Blackham singled to open the frame. Two batters later, Sagdal scampered home on a wild pitch.

USC chased Leckenby in the sixth. The Trojans put together five-straight hits to score three runs and put runners at second and third before the Cougar right-hander recorded an out in the inning. Scott Simon relieved Leckenby and gave up a double that for a moment gave USC the lead. However, Brandon Garcia missed third base and was called out on appeal leaving the game tied 5-5. A wild pitch and successful squeeze bunt pushed across the go-ahead run.

The Cougars responded with five runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a 10-6 lead. Sagdal drew a leadoff walk and moved to second with two outs on a ground out. After Monda was intentionally walked, a throwing error on a ground ball by Ard allowed two runs to score and Ard reached third. Jones was intentionally walked before moving to second on a passed ball as Ard scored the third run of the inning. Adam Nelubowich walked and Tommy Richards singled to load the bases. Patrick Claussen’s two-run single gave the Cougars their four-run advantage.

The Trojans started their comeback with a run in the seventh against Simon and Nigel Nootbaar (1-0) earned the victory with two innings of shutout relief.