Huskies Erase Six-Run Deficit, Take Stanford Series On Walk-Off Wild Pitch
SEATTLE - The Huskies met up with Stanford at Husky Ballpark this afternoon for the rubber match of the three game series. Having beaten the sixth-ranked team in the nation on Friday, repeating the task for a series win seemed like a hefty challenge. The Dawgs proved they were up to it though, going toe-to-toe with the Cardinal by exchanging runs all day long, including a pair of long balls. A four-run third for the Cardinal hit hard, but a five-run seventh for the Dawgs hit harder. A three run Cardinal response in the eighth was the ultimate gut punch, but the Dawgs recovered and came out swinging in the ninth. With the bases loaded, a Colby Wallace single and an inside pitch that grazed Josh Urps tied the game. Seemingly stunned, the Cardinal delivered a wild pitch that had Ben Smith from third landing the ultimate knockout blow as he slid across with the walk-off score.
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RHP Josh Emanuels got his third start of the season on the mound. Facing some of the conference's toughest hitters at the top of the order, he escaped giving up just one hit before getting into trouble in the second. A leadoff strikeout started the inning before a walk got things going for the Cardinal. A ground ball to second baseman Urps delivered the second out with a toss to shortstop Cam Clayton at the base, but the runner still remained at first via a fielder's choice. A single to left field followed putting runners on the corners. The runner on first attempted to swipe second, but catcher Johnny Tincher fired down to the shortstop who suddenly had the baserunner in a rundown. A toss to Will Simpson at first delivered the final out, but it all appeared a bit planned as the runner from third snuck across the plate first to give Stanford the early 1-0 lead.
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AJ Guerrero led off the second for the Huskies. He dialed in his swing by fouling off the first two pitches and then squared one up launching it deep down the left field line for a home run. A two-out Cole Miller double to left field provided more Husky excitement, but Urps followed with a line drive to center field for out number three.
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The Cardinal seemed to have Emanuels figured out in the third as a single, back-to-back home runs, and a double triggered a call to the bullpen. Lefty Adam Bloebaum delivered a fly out in foul territory to Simpson at first. Another double followed however, continuing the big Stanford inning as another run came across to make it a 5-1 ballgame. A pair of fly outs finally put an end to things.
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Stanford bats remained hot in the fourth as they started off with a single to short. Another grounder to short brought an out, but moved a runner into scoring position at second. The next batter singled to right field scoring the runner from second to make the score 6-1. A double down the right field line placed runners on second and third and brought with it another call to the bullpen. Next was LHP Stu Flesland III's turn to face the strong Cardinal lineup. A ball to Clayton at short was fired over to Urps at the bag for an out on the retreating runner, however the runner on third scored on the play. The next batter flew out to right field to send things to the bottom half of the fourth with the Cardinal up 7-1.
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With work to do, Will Simpson wasted no time getting things started launching a double to right center. Guerrero seized the RBI opportunity and drove a single to left field scoring Simpson. Tincher followed ripping a double down the left field line that scored Guerrero all the way from first. The Huskies would go down in order from there, but had chipped away making it a 7-3 ballgame.
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RHP Stefan Raeth replaced Flesland III to start the fifth and aside from one lone walk, carved up the Cardinal in order for three innings keeping the game within reach. Then the Husky bats got restless again. Cole Miller led off the seventh with a ground ball to short. A rushed throw sailed on him placing Miller safe at first. Josh Urps came to the plate next and sat on a 1-0 fastball up in the zone sending it deep over the fence in right center. With a fresh set of empty bags and a 7-5 score, the Dawgs went to work again. McKay Barney started things off drawing a walk. Cam Clayton singled to center field. One out later, Simpson singled through the left side scoring Barney and placing runners on first and second. Now it was Guerrero's turn as he singled down the right field line scoring Clayton for the tying run and sending Simpson to third. Continuing the feast, Tincher bumped one off the top of the mound into center field scoring Simpson from third to give the Huskies their first lead of the ballgame at 8-7.
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Stanford wasn't having it though and went back to work starting things off with a base hit through the right side. A triple down the right field line followed tying the game once again. The next batter cued one up off the end of his bat toward Simpson at first. Wicked spin on the ball crossed Simpson up. The ball got by him scoring the runner on third, handing the lead back to Stanford at 9-8. Following a sac bunt and a walk, a single up the middle scored another run to make it a 10-8 ballgame. Urps came up with an incredible play to stop the bleeding as he fielded the ball off Raeth's mitt on the mound, stepped on second and fired to first for the inning-endind double play.
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The Huskies were unable to break through in the eighth. RHP Ryan Velazquez replaced Raeth to start the ninth and worked his magic delivering a ground ball to Simpson at first and a pair of swinging strikeouts. Keeping the score close, Stanford was within striking distance, but the Dawgs had work to do. Will Simpson got the offense started in the ninth with a single to left and was then replaced on the basepaths by Dalton Chandler. Two batters later, Tincher drew a one-out walk on four pitches and handed the bag to pinch runner Jarred Mazzaferro. Michael Snyder followed with a full count walk of his own and relinquished the bag to pinch runner Ben Smith. Colby Wallace stepped in the box next and ripped a single through the right side plating Chandler and keeping the bags juiced. With a full count, a ball low and in got away from the catcher. An opportunity presented itself as fans eagerly anticipated Mazzaferro flying in to tie the game, but excitement from that drama would have to wait as the ump indicated a hit batter and welcomed Mazzaferro in with a light jog. Fans didn't have to wait long however, as the next batter, McKay Barney, checked his swing on a ball in the dirt. It quickly got away toward the third base dugout sending the catcher scrambling. With a wide open plate, Ben Smith bolted with his eyes on the prize and slid headfirst across the base as the crowd erupted in celebration. Huskies win, 11-10, to take the game and the series!
Starter Josh Emanuels went 2 innings giving up 5 runs on 6 hits with 1 walk and 2 strikeouts. Stefan Raeth went 4 innings in relief giving up 3 runs (2 earned) on 3 hits with 2 walks and 3 strikeouts. Ryan Velazquez recorded his first win with a record of 1-0 while not allowing a run over 1 inning with no walks and 2 strikeouts.
The Huskies have little time to enjoy the series win as they are back in action tomorrow at Gonzaga. First pitch at 3:35 PM.