by Brad Wall
PULLMAN, Wash. – P.J. Jones hit a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth to give Washington State a 9-5 win over Oregon State Saturday afternoon.
The Cougars were a strike away from getting out of the first, but Michael Conforto worked J.D. Leckenby from an 0-2 count into an eight pitch walk. Danny Hayes continued his big weekend in Pullman with a two-run shot to right field, his third home run of the series.
Washington State fired back in the bottom of the first as Kyle Johnson singled and Collin Slaybaugh walked to start the inning. After both runners moved over on a wild pitch, Taylor Ard ripped the ball just out of reach of a diving Jake Rodriguez to bring home both runners and tie the game. A Derek Jones single through the right side moved Ard over to third. P. Jones hit a grounder to first base, and Ard found himself in a pickle between third and home and was tagged out on the play. The Jones on base executed a double steal, and D. Jones scored on a groundout by Tommy Richards to give the Cougs the lead 3-2.
Ryan Barnes hit a one-out single in the top of the third. Tyler Smith hit the ball deep into right field, but D. Jones made an excellent catch on the warning track. After a Conforto single, Hayes added another RBI to his total with a single to center field scoring Barnes.
Richards hit a leadoff single in the fourth. Jason Monda attempted a sac-bunt, but was able to beat out the throw from the pitcher for an infield single. After a Patrick Claussen strikeout and Ian Sagdal fielder's choice, Richards scored on a passed ball to take the lead back for the Cougs.
Ryan Dunn hit a double to left center to start off the sixth, ending Leckenby's outing as WSU brought in Scott Simon. Kavin Keyes moved Dunn over to third with a sac-bunt. Rodriguez drove Dunn in on a single to right field to tie the game up.
P. Jones singled to the pitcher in the bottom of the sixth and moved to second on a sac-bunt by Richards. Monda brought Jones around with a single to right to once again put the Cougars back on top 5-4.
In the seventh, Johnson singled and moved to second on a sac-bunt by Slaybaugh. OSU intentionally walked Ard, and D. Jones moved the runners over with a groundout to first. P. Jones flew out to end the inning.
Hayes singled to center in the eighth and moved over to second on a sac-bunt by Dunn. Spencer Jackson came in and induced a groundout by Keyes that moved Hayes to third. Washington State made another pitching change, bringing in Kellen Camus, who struck out Rodriguez to hold the lead for the Cougs.
Camus threw four straight balls to Ryan Gorton to kick off the top of the ninth. Ryan Dettman pinch ran for Gorton, and was sacrificed over to second by Max Gordon. Anthony Drobnick came on for WSU and struck out Barnes. Tyler Smith kept the game alive by ripping a double to left field to tie the game back up at five a piece, giving Drobnick a blown save.
Sagdal worked into a full count and walked to lead off the ninth and Johnson was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second with no outs. Slaybaugh fouled off two bunt attempts and watched a ball making the count 1-2 when OSU made a pitching change bringing in Matt Boyd for Scott Schultz. Slaybaugh laid the sac-bunt down to move the runners over. After Ard was intentionally walked, D. Jones worked into a full count and popped out to third base. P. Jones drilled the ball into deep left field, striking the scoreboard for a walk-off grand slam to give the WSU the win 9-5.
Leckenby went five innings allowing four runs on six hits with three strikeouts.
Jace Fry threw 6 and 2/3 innings giving up five runs (four earned) on nine hits.
The Cougars and Beavers will face off in a rubber match tomorrow at noon.