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By George Stieren

FRISCO, Texas – Washington State roared to an 11-6 victory over the home state Texas A&M Aggies in the Frisco Classic Friday night at Riders Field. Cougars’ starting pitcher Grant Taylor worked into the sixth inning, surrendering two runs on four hits while striking out a career-high seven batters. The win moves his record to 2-0 on the season.

Taylor had run support in abundance as the Washington State bats smashed their way to 11 runs on 12 hits, buoyed by an eight-run fourth inning. Washington State Head Coach Brian Green secured his 200th career win, joking that a tumultuous ninth inning gave him a few grey hairs to go along with the celebration provided by his players postgame. “(The win and recognition from the players) was a great honor, and it was great to do it here at this tournament.”

“We played with a lot of freedom at the plate. We had a lot of quality contact. Grant (Taylor) setting the tone on the mound. And (Justin Van De Brake) just plugging along with great at bats.” Van De Brake, who paced the offense with three RBIs, added: “It’s a good win. I think we all know within the team that we can compete at this level. Not surprised to get a win.”

The Cougars started the scoring by playing station-to-station, pushing three runs across in the second inning – two on a pair of infield hits, and another on a passed ball. The first run came home when Hylan Hall chopped a grounder to the hole between shortstop and second, and then barely beat the throw to first while bringing Justin Van De Brake home. WSU added a second run a batter later when Kyle Russell secured an infield hit on a grounder to third, scoring Collin Montez and putting Washington State up 2-0. The third run of the frame came on an errant pitch by Texas A&M starter Nathan Dettmer, giving Kodie Kolden the opportunity to scamper across the plate.

The Cougs put the game away by scoring eight times in the bottom of the fourth inning while sending 14 batters to the plate. The run eruption began with Russell ripping a single down the leftfield line, scoring Hall and Will Cresswell, giving Washington State a 5-0 advantage. The hit chased Aggies’ starter Nathan Dettmer (1-1), who was tagged with the loss, after 3 1/3 innings.

Russell went on to score, making it 6-0, when Van de Brake was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. One batter later, WSU extended the lead to 7-0 when Montez worked a walk that allowed Bryce Mathews jog home.

Jack Smith furthered the outburst with a double down the rightfield line as Jacob McKeon and Van De Brake circled home to make it 9-0. Smith had three RBIs on the night. Kolden rounded out the inning’s onslaught with the 2-RBI single that brought Smith and Montez home for runs 10 and 11.

The Aggies, playing in their third Frisco Classic, got on the board a half-inning later when Kalae Harrison singled to right to drive in Austin Bost, who opened the fifth inning with a single.

Texas A&M added a run in the sixth inning when Bost lined a single to center, garnering the RBI and bringing in Jack Moss. Kolby Kmetco tamped down the Aggies by pitching a scoreless inning of relief. Taylor Smith gave Texas A&M its third run in the eighth inning by racing home from third base on a wild pitch by Elias Farland. The run was the only blemish on Farland’s pitching line that included two innings pitched and one hit.

The Aggies mounted a ninth-inning rally, plating three runs after two outs were recorded. The first run coming on a Taylor Smith RBI single bringing Kole Kaler. The second by way of Logan Britt scoring on a passed ball, followed by Ryan Targac’s RBI single to rightfield, scoring Jordan Thompson.

The game lasted 4 hours, 11 minutes with a total of 18 runners left on base.


Day two of the three-day Frisco Classic begins at noon CT Saturday at Riders Field with Washington State facing Wichita State in a matchup featuring Friday’s game winners. Texas A&M and Iowa will each look to bounce back in the 6 p.m. nightcap Saturday after each suffered losses Friday.

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