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Pilots Blast Cougars 16-9

May 14, 2007

PORTLAND, Ore. - After three consecutive weeks on the road, the University of Portland proved on Monday that it couldn't wait to return home, connecting for season highs of 16 runs and 21 hits in a 16-9 nonconference win over the Washington State Cougars. Portland improves to 21-27 on the year while the Cougars drop to 25-23.

The Pilots got hot early and didn't look back, exploded for nine runs in the first inning and building a 15-0 lead after four. The Cougars responded with six runs in the sixth and three in the eighth, but it was too little too late as Portland tacked on another run in the seventh and cruised to the victory.

Portland had a balanced attack from the plate, with each starter contributing at least one hit. Junior Brandon Howard had a season high four hits, going 4-for-6 with two RBI, three runs scored, and a stolen base. In the first inning, Howard, a switch hitter, connected on singles from both sides of the plate.

Senior designated hitter James Allen also had a big day, going 3-for-4 with three RBI and a pair of doubles. Senior shortstop Jesse Rodgers and freshman third baseman also added three hits, Rodgers going 3-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored and Shaw 3-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored. Junior rightfielder Danny Meier chipped in two hits, two RBI and two runs scored.

On the hill for the Pilots, senior righthander Brian Cox (pictured) got his first start of the year and picked up his first win. Cox was dominant through the first five innings, allowing only two baserunners and at one point retiring 10 consecutive batters, before running into trouble in the sixth. For the game, Cox threw five innings, giving up four hits and striking out six while allowing three runs.

Junior Brian Yoakum, senior Sean Sargent and freshman Tommy Renda came out of the bullpen for Portland, with Renda tossing 1.1 scoreless innings to close out the game and keep his earned run average to a perfect 0.00.

For the Cougars, starter Adam Dentz took the loss, lasting only two-thirds of an inning while allowing five hits and seven runs (three earned). Washington State used seven pitchers on the afternoon, with Seth Harvey lasting the longest, going 2.1 innings midway through the game.

Offensively for Washington State, third baseman Paul Gran hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning and finished the afternoon 1-for-4 with two RBI and a pair of runs scored. Shortstop Josh Ashenbrenner went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored, while left fielder Scott Suttmeier and first baseman Jim Murhpy each had added a hit and two RBI.

The Pilots conclude the 2007 season this weekend with a three-game West Coast Conference set against No. 22 Pepperdine (32-19, 11-7 WCC) at Joe Etzel Field. The Pilots (7-11 WCC) would finish in a four-way tie for fourth place in the WCC with two wins and would finish alone in fourth place with a sweep. It will be the final chance for Pilot fans to see seniors James Allen, Brian Cox, Justin Ehlers, Adam Kerr, Justin Pierce, Josh Roberts, Jesse Rodgers and Sean Sargent in action.

The Waves and Pilots are set to square off at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, May 18 and at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 19 and Sunday, May 20.