Junior starter Tanner Chleborad followed up teammate Joe Pistorese’s Friday performance with a stellar start of his own on Saturday.
Chleborad allowed one run on six hits over 7 1/3 innings in the 3-1 win, and only needed an economical 88 pitches to get his second victory of the season.
“Everything was working and especially later in the ballgame, my changeup came along really well, and I just landed everything,” Chleborad said.
Saturday’s win accomplished two things for the Cougars. They assured a series win over the Golden Bears, which marks the second of three series that the Cougars have won this year in the Pac-12 conference. The Cougars also moved above .500 for the first time in 2014. WSU is now riding a five-game winning streak.
The Cougars once again did not need a lot of scoring, but did push enough runs across the plate at the right times to secure the victory. Junior Yale Rosen continued his hot streak, going three for four with an RBI, and redshirt sophomore Nick Tanielu added two hits and drove in a run as well.
“I guess a lot of guys are feeding off Yale right now,” Tanielu said. “He’s really seeing it well, and once one guy has a lot of confidence, other guys get more confidence to hit that pitcher as well.”
In the bottom of the third inning, WSU struck first when sophomore Trek Stemp doubled to lead off the inning. Senior Collin Slaybaugh followed with a bunt single putting runners at the corners with nobody out, Tanielu then drove in Stemp with a sacrifice fly to left field.
California tied the score in the fifth on a solo home run by senior Vince Bruno, who went three for three in the game. However, the Cougars added a run in the sixth on an RBI single by Matt Mendenhall, and another run in the eighth on an RBI double from Rosen.
“From two weeks ago to right now, it’s a big difference, and it’s been unreal,” Chleborad said. “It’s been really nice throwing because you know if you do give up one, they’re going to get it right back.”
The Golden Bears’ starter, senior Kyle Porter, went seven innings but the Cougars tagged him for nine hits on the day.
“He’s a pretty good starter, and fills up the zone a lot,” Tanielu said. “I just feel like guys stayed on the plan and guys like Matt Mendenhall definitely had great at-bats at great times.”
The next game of the series starts at noon on Sunday at Bailey-Brayton Field.