Around The Horn With Ben

Feb. 24, 2009

During the course of the 2009 Husky Baseball season, gohuskies.com will check in with left-handed pitcher Ben Guidos. The redshirt sophomore from Normandy Park will fill the fans in on the Huskies' road trips, results and locker room insights.

Here's what Ben has to say about the Huskies' season-opening trip to Fresno State Feb. 20-22.

This past weekend we flew down to California to take on defending national champion Fresno State. Our flight took off at 7 a.m. Thursday morning, so we would arrive in Fresno in time to check in, get settled, and take batting practice Thursday night. Before we got off the ground, the guys found out that freshman Kevin Komstadius had never flown before. We played a few practical jokes on him about the lights turning on and off and how morning flights were more dangerous and whatnot, but luckily for Komo, we had a smooth flight to Cali to start off the trip.

Friday we showed up at the field ready to spoil the ceremony to honor the 2008 national championship team. In front of a very rowdy crowd, Jorden Merry pitched in and out of trouble, striking out eight Bulldog batters through five innings while allowing just one run.

The bullpen came in behind Merry and did a good job of keeping the game close to the end, giving our offense a good chance of winning the game. Entering into the top of the 9th inning we trailed the Bulldogs 3-2. The first two batters of the inning were retired in order. Down to our last out, second baseman Doug Cherry stepped to the plate and drove a ball over the left-centerfield fence to knot the game up at 4 apiece. After a celebration at the plate, the Bulldogs recorded the third out of the inning and had their chance to win the game in the bottom of the ninth.

Unfortunately that's just what they did. For all the drama Cherry brought with his home run, the letdown of losing in the bottom of the ninth was just as dramatic.

Saturday another Husky senior took the hill when Tyler Cheney confused the Bulldog hitters with good control of his entire arsenal of pitches. Over five innings Cheney allowed only one run on two hits, making the Bulldog hitters look foolish on numerous occasions.

Following Cheney was sophomore Forrest Snow. With a big jump in his velocity, getting his fastball up to 94 MPH, with an 80 MPH slider, Snow continued to puzzle the Bulldog hitters throwing three hitless innings in relief of Cheney.

The Husky bats however, were far from puzzled on Saturday. Cherry continued swinging a hot bat from the night before, ending the day with three hits and four RBI, as did Kyle Conley who knocked his first home run of the season on Saturday. Brett Wilcox also contributed in a big way with two base knocks. After a sloppy ninth inning, we came out on top 11-4, taking the second of three games from the defending national champions.

Sunday we sent another veteran pitcher to the mound in Jason Erickson. In the rubber match of the series, we had chances to push runs across but didn't seem to get that breakthrough hit that we needed to have a big inning. Jason didn't have his best stuff on the mound but he battled through three innings allowing only 1 run.

Fresno's starter kept making big pitches and held our offense scoreless through 6 innings. In the top of the seventh, Brendan Gardner-Young knocked in a run to tie the game at 1-1. But in the bottom half of the inning the Bulldogs mounted a rally and plated two runs off of a ball hit off the wall in left field just out of the reach of our left fielder. The score remained 3-1 until the final out of the weekend was recorded and the Bulldogs took the series from us 2-1.

It's hard to take something positive out of a weekend series loss, but we feel like that fact that we didn't play near out potential, and we still competed with a very good team says something about what we are capable of this year. The defending national champions came out and pitched well and had some big swings, and we were right there competing with them all weekend. If one or two more plays get made over the course of the weekend, the Huskies could very well have walked out of Fresno with a series sweep.

Until next time Dawg fans.

- Ben Guidos

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