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Washington State saw a couple late inning comeback attempts turned away in an 8-6 defeat in the series-opener at USC Friday evening. The Cougars brought the tying run to the plate in the seventh and eighth innings but saw the threats turned away by the USC bullpen.

The Cougars (23-21, 10-15 Pac-12) received a pair of multiple-hit games from Kodie Kolden, Kyle Manzardo and Tristan Peterson along with a two-run home run from Peterson. Manzardo also drove in two more runs to push his season total to 56.

Reliever Michael Newstrom worked two scoreless innings, his 30th appearance of the season, tied for third-most in WSU history, trailing only Matt Bower (2014) and Sam Trice (2015) who share the record of 31.

USC improved to 21-21 overall and 9-13 in conference play after scoring six runs in the fourth inning and took advantage of five Cougar errors.

KEY MOMENTS OF THE GAME

The Cougars jumped out to an early lead with a run in the second inning. Jacob McKeon lined a single into centerfield and Jack Smith followed with a chopped single the other way through the right side to put runners on the corners and McKeon scored on a Jake Meyer’s fielder’s choice groundout to second base.

In the fourth inning, USC used a pair of walks and six hits to plate six runs in the frame and took a 6-1 lead. The Trojans took advantage of a leadoff error and added a run in the fifth for a 7-1 advantage.

In the sixth, the Cougars put two runners on with one out and Peterson drove one deep to right-centerfield for an RBI-single as both runners had to hold up after the rightfielder nearly made the catch. USC ended the rally with a flyout and a strikeout to keep the game at 7-2.

In the seventh, WSU loaded the bases with two outs and Manzardo delivered with a two-run single the other way into left field to cut the USC lead to 7-4. The Cougars stranded two more runners with an inning-ending flyout to right field.

In the eighth, the first two Cougar hitters reached but the USC bullpen kept its three-run lead with a sliding catch from the rightfielder, a strikeout and a groundout to the pitcher.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE: Kyle Manzardo singled in the 6th inning to extend his on-base streak to 23 games. . .Manzardo recorded his team-leading 22nd multiple-hit game of the season.

NEXT UP: The series continues with Game 2 Saturday at 2 p.m.

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