Washington State opened a nine-game road trip with a 6-4 victory at Portland Wednesday afternoon.
The Cougars improved to 10-2, matching the program’s best start since 2010, while Portland dropped to 7-8.
Senior outfielder Collin Montez and junior first baseman Kyle Manzardo each had two hits and homered while senior third baseman Jack Smith also had two hits. Montez hit a three-run home run in the first for his fourth home run of the season while Manzardo hit a go-ahead solo homer in the fifth inning for his sixth long ball of 2021 and extended his on-base streak to 37 games, tied for the third-longest in program history.
Redshirt-junior reliever Will Sierra picked up the win out of the bullpen after firing three no-hit innings and set a career-high with seven strikeouts with no walks allowed and just one unearned run. Junior Dakota Hawkins earned the save by recording the final five outs, three via strikeout.
KEY MOMENTS OF THE GAME
Both teams traded three-run homers in the opening frame as the Montez gave the Cougars a 3-0 lead with a no-doubter to right field but Portland answered with a three-run shot to left-centerfield in the bottom of the inning.
Sierra gave the Cougars a big boost out of the bullpen after taking over with two outs and two runners on in the third inning, ending the threat with a strikeout and retired the first seven batters he faced.
Manzardo broke the tie game with a two-out solo home run to straight away centerfield in the fifth and Jake Meyer pushed the lead to 5-3 with a run-scoring sacrifice fly in the sixth.
The Pilots took advantage of a couple Cougar defensive miscues to push a run across and make it a one-run game in their half of the sixth.
WSU regained a two-run lead in the eighth as Meyer reached on a dropped fly ball and came around to score on a pair of passed balls for a 6-4 advantage.
In the bottom of the eighth, Portland used a pair of one-out singles to put runners on first and second but Hawkins came in from the bullpen and struck out the firsts two hitters he faced to end the threat.
In the ninth, the Pilots used a double and infield single to put runners on the corners with two outs but Hawkins closed things out with a groundout to second.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE: Manzardo singled in the 1st inning to extend his on-base streak to 37 games. . .Collin Montez homered in the 1st to extend on-base streak to 12 games. . .Montez and Kodie Kolden each extended their hitting streaks to 7 games. . .Freshman Kyler Stancato made his collegiate debut, started in CF and went 0-for-2
NEXT UP: The Cougars continue their nine-game road trip with a weekend series at No. 18 Oregon State in Corvallis.