After dropping the opener of the Big 12/PAC-12 challenge to Oregon State 5-3 on Thursday, the Cowboys (1-3) look to right the ship against Washington State in the second of four games in the challenge.
The Cougars defeated Oklahoma 4-3 in their first game of the challenge moving them to 3-2 on the season after wins against Texas-Arlington and Stephen F. Austin last weekend.
Washington State Overview
Donnie Marbut is in his 11th season as the Cougars head coach, appearing in the NCAA regionals two times and averaging almost 30 wins per season in his tenure. The Cougars went 24-30 in 2014 and did not appear in the postseason.
The Cougars do not have an alum on an MLB roster currently, but some retired greats include: former Seattle Mariner John Olerud, Moneyball star Scott Hatteberg and journeyman pitcher Mark Hendrickson.
Players to Watch
Senior catcher P.J. Jones only hit .213 last season, but he is off to a hot start so far this year, registering 4 hits in the Cougars opening series. Jones also threw 40% of potential base-stealers in the 2014 season.
Infielder Ian Sagdal is also hitting the ball well so far this season, going 6-19 in his first 5 games. Sagdal hit .269 last season, but will not be a power threat at all with only 5 extra-base hits last season, none of which were home runs.
LHP Matt Bower could create some problems for the Cowboys. Bower has thrown 4 1/3 innings so far this season and has only allowed 1 hit, while striking out 9 hitters. This could be an issue for the Cowboys lineup that has its fair share of left-handed hitters.
Keys to Victory
Not much is going to change from yesterday, except don't start Tyler Nurdin again for my keys to victory.
Nothing has been announced yet, but my best guess is Jon Perrin will get the start tomorrow. Perrin is likely to still be on a pitch count after having shoulder surgery in the winter. So this could be a game where the bullpen needs to log some innings.
The Cowboys need to take advantage of this dry, desert air and hit a few balls out of the ballpark. So far this season the Cowboys have only hit one home run and that was from Kevin Bradley against Arizona State.
Needless to say, I wouldn't be disappointed if the team scored 6 or 7 runs while keeping the ball in the yard. Either way, this team needs to start scoring some runs. Three runs against these talented Pac-12 teams isn't going to cut it.
A good performance from a starting pitcher and 5-6 runs from the offense should equal a win against the weakest team the Cowboys will face this weekend.