The Cougars scored early and never trailed in a Tuesday night win over the No. 17 San Diego Toreros.
WSU (7-9) plated five runs in the top of the second against starting pitcher Lucas Long. However, only one run was earned as Patrick McGrath, the third batter of the inning, reached base via USD’s (14-5) first error of the game; they would commit four by night’s end.
The Toreros responded quickly by putting up three runs in the bottom of the second, paced by three straight two-out hits off of WSU starter Jacob Schroeder.
Sean Hartnett came on as relief in the third making Schroeder’s first start of the season a short one. Hartnett picked up his first win this season by recording four scoreless innings of relief work.
Controversy arose in the fifth inning when USD’s shortstop Kyle Holder led off the bottom of the inning with a double and advanced to third on a fly ball to shallow right field. However, Hartnett successfully appealed that Holder left second before Ian Sagdal caught the pop-up. First base umpire Mike Jabroe called Holder out amidst myriad complaints from Torero’s head coach Rich Hill and Hartnett worked out of the inning.
Cougar freshman Wes Leow had a big night as he pinch hit for Patrick McGrath in the seventh and hit a three-run home run to right giving the Cougs a 9-3 lead. It wasLeow’s first collegiate hit in only his second at bat; he struck out in his previous AB.
The Toreros made some noise in the bottom of the seventh, plating four runs on the back of a pinch-hit, two-out, two-rbi single by junior catcher Jesse Jenner. The clutch knock cut the deficit down to two, but the final tally would remain 9-7 in favor of the Cougs.
Ian Hamilton retired the Torero hitters in order in the bottom of the ninth, putting a quick end to the three-hour and 36-minute ballgame and earning his fifth save of the season.
With the win, the Cougs earned their third straight road victory while ending USD’s six-game winning streak. The finale of the two-game series begins tomorrow night at six.