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Bottom Of 9 Squeeze Play Gets Pinched As Huskies Fall To Portland 5-4

Mar 15, 2022

Considering that today's game was delayed 10 minutes due to showers that never came, one could say Husky bats were as unpredictable as the weather. The Portland Pilots visited Husky Ballpark today and managed to stay a step ahead throughout the game. Though the Huskies tied the game twice, they were unable to find that crucial big play, go-ahead at-bat.

Top of 2
Sophomore Bryce Armstrong got the start for the Huskies and struck out two while retiring the side in order in the first, but the second was a different story.  A lead off double down the right field line got the Pilots started. A sacrifice bunt moved the runner along, though it was unnecessary as another double brought him in for the first run of the game. Following an unassisted ground out to First Baseman Will Simpson, a single, once again ,to first base took Simpson just far enough off the base that the runner barely edged him out. The effort earned him an RBI with a runner on third for the at-bat. Armstrong finally got out of the inning with a fly out to left field.

Top of 3
Armstrong was back to form starting the inning with a strikeout. A single to center field offered some concern, but Sophomore Catcher Jake Leitgeb was having none of it and quickly sat him down trying to steal second. Armstrong rounded out the inning with his fourth strikeout of the day.

Bottom of 3
The Pilots went to their bullpen early and the Huskies went to work. Dalton Chandler drew a walk in the inning's first at-bat. McKay Barney decided Chandler was in scoring position and sent him home with a triple down the left field line.  Next up, AJ Guerrero reached base when a rushed throw by the shortstop pulled the first baseman off the bag. With that, Barney scored from third and the game was tied, 2-2.

Top of 4
Following a lead off pop out to Cam Clayton at shortstop, Coach Meggs went to his bullpen calling on sophomore RHP Calvin Kirchoff. His first batter grounded out to shortstop, but the second batter would prove a little more challenging as he left nothing to chance dropping the ball over the center field fence. Following a walk and a single to right field, Kirchoff was finally able to get a final 4-6 groundball out.

Top of 5
Kirchoff was able to put a quick out on the board with a fly out to left field. Next up, a single to right raised some concern, but he followed with another strikeout. Unfortunately that third out didn't quite come as soon as was hoped. The next batter ripped a shot toward the right field line. Right Fielder Coby Morales flew to the ball and laid out, but fell short with the ball getting by into no man's land. By the time he got the ball in, the batter had a stand up triple with an RBI and, along with his team, a 4-2 lead.

Bottom of 5
McKay Barney led off the 5th with a walk. Two batters later, Coby Morales stepped up to the plate with something to prove. He ripped a double to left field scoring Barney to make it a 4-3 ballgame. The Huskies weren't done though. Morales soon advanced to third on a wild pitch. This afforded him the opportunity to enjoy a light jog home when the next batter, Will Simpson, doubled down the left field line, tying the game at four a piece.

Top of 7
On the mound, RHP Josh Emanuels replaced RHP Stu Flesland III who came in and sat down the Pilots in order in the 6th. Emanuels' inning started with a less than lucky break however, when a routine grounder to Dalton Chandler was fielded cleanly, but he was unable to get a handle on the ball in his mitt causing a late throw to first. The following two batters singled to left and center driving in a run to put Portland on top 5-4.

Bottom of 9
With the scoreboard showing a one-run ballgame, Coach Meggs went to one of his more reliable bats in Johnny Tincher to lead things off. Tincher came through ripping a screaming grounder past shortstop. Luke Rohleder came in to pinch run. He quickly stole second and the Dawgs had the tying run in scoring position! With no outs on the board, Cam Clayton came through with a sacrifice bunt moving Rohleder over to third. Next up, Preston Viltz came in to pinch hit for Chandler. With Husky fans on the edge of their seat, Viltz squared around to bunt. Rohleder immediately took off for home. Viltz got the bunt down the first base side, but still pretty close to the pitcher who was able to field it and quickly get it to the catcher, leaving Rohleder to unsuccessfully dance around the catcher's mitt. Though a golden opportunity had vanished, the Dawgs still had some bark in them.  With Viltz now on first, Barner stepped up and singled up the middle putting runners on the corners. Guerrero went down swinging however, to end the game.

Starter Bryce Armstrong went 3.1 innings on the mound, giving up 4 hits, 2 earned runs, and 4 K's with zero walks.  Josh Emanuels took the loss moving to 0-1.