Rankin's Hit Lifts UW Past USC, 9-8

May 1, 2009

SEATTLE - Down 8-7 in the eighth, the Washington baseball team got a two-out, two run single from second baseman Pierce Rankin to lift the Huskies to a come-from-behind, 9-8 win over USC in a Pac-10 game Friday night at Husky Ballpark.

Rankin, a sophomore from Shorecrest who returned to the lineup on Tuesday after three weeks out with injury, finished 3-for-5 with a double and a pair of runs to go with his two big runs batted in.

The Huskies (19-23 overall, 8-8 in the Pac-10) had trailed most of the game, including by counts of 4-0 and 6-3. They tied the game at 7-7 in the seventh, but didn't take their first lead until Rankin's hit in the eighth.

In the eighth, the Huskies loaded the bases on a single, an intentional walk and a hit batter before Rankin drilled a single to center off of Robert Stock (3-3), who had caught the first seven-plus innings of the game before taking over on the mound.

Andrew Kittredge (3-3), who gave up a homer in the top of the eighth that broke the 7-7 tie, got the victory. Geoff Brown worked the ninth inning for his first save.

USC (22-21, 10-9 in the Pac-10) took the early lead with a run in the first inning. With runners at the corners with one out, Grant Green was caught in a run-down between first and second on a stolen-base attempt. While he was chased down, Alex Sherrod was able to score, making it 1-0.

In the third, the Trojans got runners at the corners with no outs and a sacrifice fly from Grant Green drove in Mike O'Neill from third. First baseman Ricky Oropesa followed with a long homer to right, his 11th of the season, to stretch the USC lead to 4-0.

Thanks to a two-out error, the Huskies broke through for three in the third, cutting the lead to 4-3. With David Bentrott aboard on a bunt single, Caleb Brown's liner to the right side was dropped by second baseman Joe DePinto, keeping the inning alive. Jake Rife followed with a triple to the right-field corner and then scored on a single from Troy Scott.

USC used a pair of leadoff walks to score two more in the fourth, without getting a base hit. After walking the first two in the fourth, Husky starter Aaron West was relieved by Tyler Cheney. After a bunt to move the runners up, a groundout from O'Neill scored one and then, on a third-strike wild pitch, a second run came in, making it 6-3.

The UW got a run back in the sixth when first baseman Scott led off by going deep with his seventh homer a year. Later in the sixth, Rankin singled and eventually scored on a two-out, infield single from Brendan Gardner-Young, cutting the lead to 6-5.

In the seventh, Anthony Vasquez tripled to drive in Grant Green, making it a 7-5 USC lead.

But the Huskies finally drew even in the bottom of the seventh, rallying for two runs. With two outs and nobody on base, Scott walked and Rankin doubled. A passed ball allowed Scott to score and Brett Wilcox lined a single to right to plate Rankin, knotting the score at 7-7.

In the eighth, with Kittredge on in place of Cheney, DePinto hit a one-out solo homer, breaking the tie and putting USC in front, 8-7.

The Huskies and Trojans continue the series Saturday with a 2:00 p.m. game and Sunday at 1:00 p.m. Admission to Saturday's game is free, as a part of the annual UW Spring Fling, which also includes softball vs. Oregon, track & field vs. Washington State and the Windermere Cup/Opening Day regatta. Both remaining baseball games vs. USC will air live on KKNW AM-1150 radio.

LINESCOREPac-10 Conference GameWashington 9, USC 8USC           103 200 110 -- 6  9 1Washington    003 002 22x -- 9 13 1Brad Boxberger, Ryan Cabral (7), Robert Stock (8) andStock, Kevin Roundtree (8). Aaron West, Tyler Cheney (4),Andrew Kittredge (8), Geoff Brown (9) and Brett Wilcox. W -Kittredge (3-3). L - Stock (3-3). Sv - Brown (1). 2B - UW,Pierce Rankin. 3B - USC, Anthony Vasquez; UW, Jake Rife. HR- USC, Ricky Oropesa (11), Joe DePinto (3); UW, Troy Scott(7). T - 2:59. A - 915.
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