Huskies Fall To Fresno State, 5-4, In Opener

Feb. 20, 2009

FRESNO, Calif. - Jake Johnson scored from third base on a wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth as the Fresno State baseball team handed Washington a 5-4 loss Friday night at Beiden Field in the first game of the season for both teams.

The teams traded solo home runs in the eighth and ninth innings as Fresno State took a 4-3 lead on a leadoff homer from freshman Dusty Robinson in the eighth and Husky junior Doug Cherry belted a two-out solo homer in the top of the ninth to tie the score at 4-4.

However, in the bottom of the ninth, Johnson doubled and moved to third on a single from Tom Mendonca, who was retired trying to take second. UW closer Brian Pearl came on to face Steve Detwiler, but his third pitch to the plate went to the backstop, allowing Johnson to score the winning run.

UW reliever Adrian Gomez, who came on to begin the ninth, suffered the loss. Fresno State closer Zach Bischoff picked up the win despite allowing the Cherry homer in the ninth.

Prior to the game, the College World Series-winning Bulldogs were presented with their championship rings in front of a standing-room-only crowd and live crews from the local TV stations.

The Bulldogs nearly took advantage of that momentum in the first inning, loading the bases on an infield single, a walk and a hit batter. However, UW starter Jorden Merry coaxed a shallow flyout and a called strikeout to wiggle off the hook with the score still 0-0.

Fresno State threatened again in the third as the first two hitters in the inning reached base, but Merry struck out the three, four and five hitters in order to get out of the jam.

Washington broke through for the game's first run in the fourth. Catcher Pierce Rankin singled and moved to third on a groundout before Kyle Conley's two-out single to left sent him home, giving the UW a 1-0 edge.

Fresno State finally got to Merry in the fifth. After Danny Muno reached on a one-out single, Gavin Hedstrom walked and both runners advanced on a wild pitch, first baseman Jake Johnson singled to left, sending home both runners to put the home team on top, 2-1. Merry went five innings, striking out eight and allowing two runs on three hits, but didn't figure in the decision.

In the sixth, Fresno State took advantage of two Husky errors and a walk to increase its lead to 3-1.

Washington tied the game at 3-3 in the top of the eighth. Pinch hitter Julien Pollard led off the inning with a single and then scored when Brendan Gardner-Young doubled off the fence in right. Later in the inning, Conley came through with his third hit and second RBI of the game, plating Gardner-Young to knot the game at 3-3.

However in the bottom of the inning, Robinson led off by hitting the first pitch of the inning to straightaway center, giving the Bulldogs a 4-3 lead. In the top of the ninth, the first two Husky hitters were retired before Cherry belted a Bischoff offering out to left-center, tying the score once again at 4-4.

The Huskies and Bulldogs go at it again Saturday in a 2:00 p.m. game and conclude the three-game series Sunday at 1:00 p.m. Live audio of both games is available at gohuskies.com.

LINESCORENon-Conference GameFrFresno State 5, Washington 4Washington      000 100 021 -- 4 10 4Fresno State    000 021 011 -- 5  8 0Jorden Merry, Geoff Brown (6), Andrew Kittredge (7),Adrian Gomez (9), Brian Pearl (9) and Pierce Rankin. HoldenSprague, Derek Benny (7), Zach Bischoff (9) and DannyGrubb. W - Bischoff (1-0). L - Gomez (0-1). 2B - UW,Brendan Gardner-Young; FS, Jake Johnson. HR - UW,Doug Cherry (1); FS, Dusty Robinson (1). T - 3:03. A - 3825.
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