UW Beats Minnesota, 4-1, To Stay Alive In NCAAs

May 31, 2003

LONG BEACH, Calif. - In his first start of the season, sophomore David Dowlingallowed only one unearned run on six hits over six and two-thirds innings as theWashington baseball team staved off elimination with a 4-1 win over Minnesota Saturdaynight at Blair Field.

The Huskies (42-17 on the year) will face top-seeded Long Beach State Sunday, needing tobeat the host 49ers twice to win the double-elimination NCAA Long Beach Regional. Theregional champ will advance to the Super Regionals next weekend against the winner of aregional at Stanford.

Minnesota (40-22) was eliminated with the loss. The Gophers lost Friday to the Huskies ina first-round game and stayed alive with a 7-5 win over Pepperdine earlier Saturday.

Dowling, a lefty from Kirkland's Juanita High, only got word that he'd start the gameabout 40 minutes before gametime as Coach Ken Knutson opted for a southpaw to faceMinnesota's lineup, heavy with left-handed hitting. Dowling, who made four starts andnine relief appearances as a freshman last season, had worked in 18 games in 2003, buthad yet to get a start as a sophomore.

Dowling gave up six hits (all singles) while walking three and striking out five. UM starterMatt Loberg (6-2) suffered the loss, allowing four runs on 10 hits in his three and one-thirdinnings of work.

The third-seeded Huskies, who collected three hits and the first and another in the secondwithout scoring, finally got into the runs column with three in the third. Greg Isaacsonsingled and scored on a hit-and-run double to the gap from catcher Aaron Hathaway. Aftera lineout, left fielder Chad Boudon added to his UW single-season record with his 22ndhomer of the year, giving his team a 3-0 lead.

In the fourth, the UW added to the lead as sophomore Nick Batkoski doubled down theleft-field line and then scored on a single from freshman Brent Lillibridge.

Minnesota, the regional's No. 2 seed, broke through with its first run in the sixth, cuttingthe UW lead to 4-1. Luke Appert reached on an error by Isaacson, the Husky secondbaseman. After a single and a force at second put runners at first and third, DH Jon Beckerlined a single up the middle to drive in Appert.

The Gophers, who scored five in the ninth to beat Pepperdine earlier Saturday, started torally again vs. the UW. In the ninth, pinch hitter Tony Leseman singled and, after an out,Sam Steidel reached on an error by third baseman John Otness on what may have been agame-ending, double-play grounder.

However, Washington went to the bullpen to get ace reliever Will Fenton, who recordedthe game's final two outs for his 12th save of the season and second of the tournament.Fenton walked UM's Luke Appert to load the bases with two outs, but Lillibridge, the UWcenter fielder, made a diving catch on a shallow fly from Scott Welch to end the game.

Five different Huskies -- Isaacson, Hathaway, Lillibridge, Boudon and Kyle Larsen --finished the game with two hits. Becker was the only Gopher to notch more than one,going 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Game time Sunday vs. the 49ers is 1:00 p.m. If the UW wins that game, another winner-take-all game will follow at the scheduled time of 5:00 p.m.

LINESCORENCAA Long Beach Regional, semi-final (loser out)#3 Washington 4, #2 Minnesota 1Minnesota      000 001 000 -- 1  7 0Washington     003 100 00x -- 4 14 3David Dowling, Trent Baysinger (7), Will Fenton (9) andAaron Hathaway. Matt Loberg, Craig Molldrem (4) and JakeElder. W - Dowling (7-2). L - Loberg (6-2). Sv - Fenton (12).2B - UW, Hathaway, Nick Batkoski, Tila Reynolds. HR - UW,Chad Boudon (22). T - 2:53. A - 1,039. Records: UW 42-17; UM 40-22.
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