For the last few years, Donnie Marbut has wanted to bring his Washington State University baseball team to the Tri-Cities for a game.
It's finally going to happen, when the Cougars play the University of Washington Huskies at 6 p.m. Tuesday in a nonleague game at Gesa Stadium in Pasco.
"We found a way to do this," said Marbut in a phone interview Wednesday. "It just had to be the right timing for everybody. I think this will be the first of many in the Tri-Cities."
He also likes the fact the Huskies are involved.
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"I would think that for every 100 people in the Tri-Cities, 85 are WSU fans and 15 are Husky fans," he said.
Marbut is not happy with the Cougars' 22-25 overall record, 6-15 in the Pac-10 Conference.
"This is absolutely not where I'd thought we'd be at all," he said. "I expected this team to be one of the top 15 teams in the country. Last year, we led the country in come-from-behind victories."
But he blames a lack of consistency, injuries and even himself for the reason this team might not get back to the NCAA regionals for a third consecutive season.
"But it's not over," he quickly counters. "We'd have to win out to have a chance."
The Cougars play host to Oregon for a three-game series this weekend, then play the Huskies at Gesa on Tuesday, before finishing the regular season with a three-game set Memorial Day weekend at USC.
The injuries have been big ones, and have included starting pitcher Chad Arnold -- a senior from Southridge High who declined to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers last year after they drafted him as a junior.
"I think he wanted to be treated fairly by the Dodgers and he didn't think he was," said Marbut, who felt the same way. "He got hurt when he came back. But Chad has been one of the biggest big-game pitchers we've ever had here. He should still get a chance to play pro ball."
Another Tri-Citian -- Richland High graduate Brett Jacobs -- has been a big contributor this season as a sophomore.
"Brett led us in hitting last year," Marbut said. "I think he came out of the womb hitting. He's struggled some this year, but he's going to have a great Cougar career."
Another big reason foor Marbut to bring his team to the Tri-Cities is for recruiting. The Tri-Cities has been a hotbed for high school baseball for a number of years.
He already has signed Southridge seniors -- and twins -- Bryce and Ty Jackson to letters of intent and he's looking for more.
"We need to build a fence around the Tri-Cities," Marbut said. "The best players in the Tri-Cities need to be Cougars."