PULLMAN — All three facets of the game came together for the Washington State baseball team Friday. It’s a continuation of what has been the Cougars’ best start to a season in more than a decade.
Senior designated hitter Jacob McKeon and sophomore catcher Will Cresswell each hit home runs as 20th-ranked Washington State poured it on in a 7-1 Pac-12 Conference victory against Oregon before 1,183 fans at Bailey-Brayton Field.
“They competed really well,” Cougars coach Brian Green said. “It was a lengthy lineup today. You’re going to strike out on Friday nights, but it’s just so critical that you go in there with an approach and you stick to it. I thought our guys did a good job with their approach.”
McKeon went 2-for-3, adding a double, a run scored and two RBI for Washington State (14-3, 3-1), which is off to its best start to a season since 2010. Cresswell went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI. Sophomore second baseman Elijah Hainline was 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored. Junior outfielder Jonah Advincula was 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Five different players had one hit each for Oregon (9-7, 1-3).
Senior right-hander Dakota Hawkins (2-2) picked up the win, allowing four hits, one walk and on earned run in the first 5 innings. He struck out 10.
“I felt great,” Hawkins said. “Coming into this week, we knew what they had. (Pitching coach Anthony Claggett) put a great scouting report together. Cresswell back behind the plate called a great game. Having the offense behind you, it’s kind of a motivational boost.”
Jace Stoffal (1-2) was tagged with the loss. He allowed six hits, four walks and five earned runs in the first 3 innings. Stoffal struck out four.
The Cougars scored three times in the second and three more in the fourth to take a commanding 6-0 lead.
Hainline and junior outfielder Bryce Matthews led off the second with back-to-back doubles to take a 1-0 lead. Cresswell then hit his third homer of the season, a shot to left, for a 3-0 advantage.
Cresswell singled to start the fourth. An out later, junior shortstop Kyle Russell singled and moved up to second as the Ducks tried unsuccessfully to gun down Cresswell at third. Cresswell then scored on a wild pitch, and Advincula followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 5-0 Washington State. Sophomore third baseman Cam Magee singled, then McKeon doubled him home.
Oregon tallied one in the fifth on a one-out single by Carter Garate.
The Cougars closed out the scoring in the seventh as McKeon had a leadoff solo home run to left, his third of the year.
The second game of the three-game series takes place at 2:05 p.m. today.
Oregon 000 010 000—1 5 0
Washington State 030 300 10x—7 11 1
Stoffal, Mercado (4) and Cromwick; Hawkins, Liss (6), Wilford (7), Baughn (8) and Cresswell. W — Hawkins. L — Stoffal.