Wise, Cougars force elimination game with win

By Harold McIlvain II

The discussion between Washington State pitching coach Gregg Swenson and Cougar pitcher James Wise was pretty simple.

As the junior was preparing to watch the second game–as he already started and threw 76 pitchers during a 9-6 win over Kansas State only hours earlier–he was asked if he wanted to start again.

It didn’t take Wise long to answer before he picked up the win during a 10-7 victory over the Razorbacks to avoid elimination at the Fayetteville Regional and force a game Monday night at 7:00 p.m. to decide which team goes to a Super Regional.

“They picked me up in the first game and took me off the hook,” Wise said. “Several guys have stepped up and answered the bell this year. I just thought it was my turn to do that and do my job.”

The Boise, Idaho, native pitched three innings, allowing just an earned earned run and two hits while striking out three batters with 53 pitches.

Wise lasted just 2.2 innings against Kansas State when he allowed six earned runs and seven hits while striking out four. But the starter stepped up during his second apperance of the day.

“Kansas State was just swinging that bat good in the first game,” Marbut said. “We knew we could get some more pitches out of him. If that can’t inspire your team, you can’t be inspired. He wanted the ball.”

The junior set the tone early for the Cougars, who were able to use the performance to get off to a 2-1 lead after three innings.

“He came in and kept us off balance and down for a couple innings,” Razorback second baseman Bo Bigham said. “That shows how much he cares about his team.”

Arkansas senior Mike Bolsinger kept the Razorbacks in the game by allowing a pair of runs after just four innings. But then the Cougars tagged the McKinney, Texas, native with five runs in the fifth inning and took a 7-1 lead.

The Razorback battled back with two runs in the fifth and three more in the next two innings, as Razorback first baseman Monk Kreder hit a home run in the seventh to cut the Cougar lead to 7-6.

But Washington State–which was aided by two errors in the eighth–scored three more runs and put the game away.

“In a couple key situations we let some things get away from us defensively,” Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said of the defense that made three errors in the loss. “They took advantage of that.”

The Razorback offense that played without outfielder and home run leader Brett Eibner because of an injury used three home runs without men on base. But it wasn’t enough against the Cougars, who stranded nine Arkansas runners stranded.

“We always talk about the solo shot not being able to beat you,” Kreder said. “We just couldn’t get the big hit.”

Washington State pitcher James Arnold, who threw 113 pitches during a 8-6 win over Kansas State on Friday, picked up his first save of the season by throwing four innings and striking out five.

“I just went out to compete, empty out the tank and leave everything I had on the field,” Arnold said. “The last few outings I struggled early and did so again tonight, but was able to do what I needed to do when I needed to do it.”

Arnold was tagged with three runs–which where earned with home runs by outfielder Collin Kuhn and Kreder along with a RBI hit by Bigham.

But the come-from-behind attempt was crushed when the Razorbacks made the defensive mistakes in the eighth inning.

“We came climbing back,” Van Horn said. “They went to their bullpen and got their Friday night starter. We had some home runs. But other than that, he held us down and jumped back up on us.”

Marbut joked with Wise before the game, asking his pitcher if he would throw a shutout. Wise didn’t quite do that, but the coach was proud.

“I’m proud beyond believe of him,” Martbut said. “Even if we would have lost, I would have been proud. You can’t teach attitude or effort.”

FAYETTEVILLE REGIONAL SCHEDULE

Friday, June 4

Game 1 – Arkansas 19, Grambling State 7

Game 2 – Washington State 8, Kansas State 6

Saturday, June 5

Game 3 – Kansas State 9, Grambling State 8

Game 4 – Arkansas 6, Washington State 4

Sunday, June 6

Game 5 – Washington State 9, Kansas State 6

Game 6 – Washington State 10, Arkansas 7

Monday, June 7

Game 7 – Arkansas vs. Washington State – 7:05 p.m.

Read more here: http://www.uatrav.com/2010/wise-cougars-force-elimination-game-with-win/
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