Washington State ousted from NCAA baseball tournament
Second late-game meltdown in three days ends the Cougars' season.
Special to The Seattle Times
NORMAN, Okla. — Washington State's bullpen helped get the Cougars to the NCAA tournament for the first time in 19 years and came up big to keep the season alive in a one-run victory over Wichita State on Saturday-.
Sunday was a different story.
Once coach Donnie Marbut pulled starter David Stilley against Oklahoma, Washington State had its season end in a 7-2 loss to the Sooners.
It was nearly a mirror performance from the Cougars' 10-3 loss to Arkansas in the regional opener Friday. The bullpen gave up nine runs in that loss. Technically, it was just three Sunday afternoon, but they came in similar fashion.
Stilley (3-3) was solid through six innings. The left-hander kept the Sooners (43-19) off-balance and allowed only a two-run home run to Bryant Hernandez in the bottom of the first inning.
"After Hernandez hit that home run, I went into the dugout and made some adjustments and I did pretty well after that," Stilley said.
Washington State (32-24) had an answer, too. Michael Weber belted a two-run shot with Greg Lagreid aboard to tie it in the bottom of the second off the Sooners' Garrett Richards (9-4), who fanned 10 and walked only one in a complete-game five-hitter.
"He had good command of his curveball, and he kept you off balance," Weber said.
It was still anyone's game until the seventh inning. That's when things came apart for Washington State.
Stilley, who struck out four, gave up a leadoff single to Chris Ellison and hit Jamie Johnson. Connor Lambert entered and allowed a bunt single to Matt Harughty to load the bases. He struck out Hernandez, but J.T. Wise's infield single gave the Sooners the lead.
The damage didn't end right there. Adam Conley, a left-handed freshman, entered to face Oklahoma's Aaron Baker, also a lefty, and Baker belted Conley's only offering deep over the right-field wall for a grand slam.
"Conley did a good job all season and we put him in a tough situation." Marbut said. "We tried to go away on it and he [Baker] hit it a mile. You have to tip your hat."
Stilley (3-3) took the loss.
• In Fullerton, Calif., Gonzaga (36-18) was eliminated in a 9-7 loss to Utah (28-30), the tournament's only team with a losing record. Tyler Yagi had a career-high five hits for the Utes, and Evan Wells had three hits for the Bulldogs.
Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company
UPDATE - 8:27 PM
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