WSU’s first ninth-inning comeback of the season
The WSU baseball team (6-3) defeated the Tarleton State Texan Raiders (3-5) 9-8 Wednesday night after late-game heroics by the Cougars. This was the first matchup between WSU and Tarleton State.
The Cougs cleaned their nine runs with nine hits while the Texan Raiders cleaned their eight runs with eight hits, but five errors resulted in Tarleton State losing the game.
For the Cougs, Connor Barison earned his second pitching win of the season, his record now 2-0. Zane Badmaev picked up his first pitching loss of the season for Tarleton State and his record now stands at 1-0. Chase Grillo also earned a save for the Cougs.
“The mentality was to come in, attack the zone and try to set up a zero,” Grillo said.
The Cougs started the game with a hit in the first inning – an RBI single from Jack Smith scored Bryce Matthews to give the Cougs a 1-0 lead that led to the end of the first inning.
WSU’s lead was short-lived as Tarleton State responded with four runs of their own in the first. Carter Dobrinski hit a grand slam, earning him four RBIs and giving the Texan Raiders a 4-1 lead in the second inning.
WSU had a tough second inning as Tarleton State forced the Cougs to make three points and lose three points while going on two runs late in the inning. Alec Williams hit a two-run home run to give the Texan Raiders a 6-1 lead early on. Tarleton State sent eight batsmen on the plate in the inning and had two hits.
WSU started swinging bats in the top third of the third inning, scoring four runs and sending seven batsmen on the plate. Matthews started scoring with an RBI single followed by a two-RBI double from Jacob McKeon.
“It was a group effort, I mean, just grind at-bat, quality at-bat,” McKeon said.
McKeon scored a goal from a fielder’s choice to cut the Texan Raiders’ lead to one. The Cougs continued their strong offensive innings by notching three straight outs, including two strikeouts and a pass, to maintain a 6-5 lead in Tarleton State’s favor.
The fourth inning was slow for both sides. There were no hits in the innings and the only action on bases was for the Cougs. Elijah Hainline reached first base due to a throwing error but was stranded. Tarleton State had a lineout, flyout, and strikeout to end the inning.
“Our bullpen was just zero after zero after zero from the fourth inning on,” said WSU head coach Brian Green.
The fifth inning produced a single from WSU’s Smith, who finished second on a wild pitch. Once again, the Cougs dropped a runner. Tarleton State forced a double play in the inning, which was key for them to give up just one hit. For the Texan Raiders, they had another three-on-three fight with WSU’s bullpen.
The sixth inning produced no hits from either team and the only appearance on base was from the Cougs, where Kyler Stancato reached first base due to a field error. Tarleton State struck once, fouled and had a slam to end the sixth, still 6-5 in favor of the Texan Raiders.
Similar to the sixth inning, there were no hits from either end and both teams had to pull out their first three batters. The Cougs batted twice while Tarleton State batted three times in the inning.
The count finally came in the eighth inning for Tarleton State. They sent six players to the plate in the inning and had two hits to set a run. The Texan Raiders’ run was scored by the Cougs after picking a fielder. For WSU, they sent four batters onto the plate. Collin Montez earned a walk, stole second place a few batters later and moved up to second after a throw error. Montez was the game’s third runner to be stranded on base for WSU.
After the Cougs were down 7-5 in the ninth with just three outs left, beating WSU for four runs and the lead came in the clutch. The Cougs sent nine batsmen to the plate in the inning. Their scoring began with a bases loaded walk followed by another walk-in run to tie the game. With bases still loaded, Montez hit a two-RBI single off the left field wall to take a 9-7 lead.
Tarleton State went down with a bang, starting with a home run at the end of the ninth. The Texan Raiders found themselves with two runners in goal position with one out, but Cougs closer Grillo beat the last two hitters to end the game and earn a 9-8 win.
The Cougs’ next appearance will be in Frisco, Texas for the Frisco College Baseball Classic, which begins Friday with a game against Texas A&M.