Eighth Inning Husky Gamble Falls Short, Opens Door For Arizona In 6-2 Loss
With the sun peaking through the clouds, it was a beautiful Spring day for baseball, as well as Sustainability Day at Husky Ballpark. Coming off a series-opening loss, the Huskies, in their purple unis and white pants, knew they had their hands full against the country's 15th ranked team in the Arizona Wildcats.
Sophomore Calvin Kirchoff got the start on the mound and started strong retiring the first three batters in order, including two strikeouts. The Huskies matched that performance in the bottom half however, ending the first with a 0-0 score.
Top of 2
In the second, Kirchoff got the first batter to fly out, however the homerun challenges from last night's game crept back in as the second batter sent one into the left field bullpen for the early 1-0 Wildcat lead. Two fly outs followed to end the inning.
Bottom of 3
DH Ben Smith led off the inning with a base hit to third base. Two batters later, McKay Barney reached on a fielder's choice while Smith was safe at second on an error by the second baseman who bobbled the ball on his way to the base. Johnny Tincher stepped up next and drove a single to left field sending Barney to second and Smith all the way home to tie the game. Two batters later, Guerrero singled to third base scoring Barney to put the Dawgs on top 2-1.
Top of 4
The leadoff batter walked and stole second. He then made his way to third on a ground out to second. A ground out to shortstop followed scoring the run and tying things up at twos.
Top of 8
Kirchoff performed well through innings 5-6 giving up just one hit. Stefan Raeth entered in the seventh and retired the side in order. Then in the eighth, a lead off single through the right side offered cause for concern, however shortly after a fly out, Tincher fired a runner out at second trying to steal. With two outs, perhaps Raeth got a little too careful as he handed first and second to the Wildcats on walks. Looking at two outs and a late inning 2-2 ballgame against a solid Arizona team, the Huskies knew they needed to get a final out at all costs. The situation was surely playing through center fielder McKay Barney's head as the next batter laced a line drive in his direction. Runners were going on contact. Barney immediately broke on the ball, but it was dying fast. Should he take it on a hop with a chance to throw the runner out at home or lay out in hopes of ending the inning right there. He chose the latter and, unfortunately, came up inches short. He did a miraculous job of playing it in such a way that the ball didn't entirely get by him to the wall, however. He was able to quickly get it in with only the one run scoring. This put runners on the corners, still with two outs. Further damage would come though as the next batter ripped a double that cleared the bases for two more Wildcat runs. A strikeout followed, but the Huskies were left looking up at a 5-2 ballgame.
Top of 9
Stu Flesland III came in for Raeth to start the ninth. He was able to start quick, fielding a ball from the first batter for an easy toss to Will Simpson at first for out number one. Unfortunately, the second batter started quick as well as he took Flesland's first offering over the left field wall. A fly out and a ground out followed leaving the Huskies with a four-run deficit heading into the bottom half.
Bottom of 9
Getting that lead off batter aboard is crucial and Barney delivered with a single up the middle. Unfortunately, it simply wasn't the Dawg's day as Tincher grounded into a double play and Simpson went down swinging to end the game.
Starter Calvin Kirchoff took the loss, but performed well going 6 innings giving up just 2 earned runs on 3 hits with 3 walks and 5 strikeouts.
The Huskies look for a brighter outcome in game three of the series tomorrow at 1:05 PM.