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Huskies Fall To 12th-Ranked Bulldogs 5-2

May 2, 2022

SPOKANE - Fresh on the heels of their upset series win over a sixth-ranked Stanford team, the Dawgs were back on the road today facing another favored opponent - 12th-ranked Gonzaga. Starter Stu Flesland III was solid into the fifth with a two-run home run his only blemish. A string of bullpen walks in the sixth however, added a few more. The Huskies rallied with a run in the top of the ninth and brought the tying run to the plate, but it was not to be as the Huskies fell to the Bulldogs 5-2.

McKay Barney got the game started drawing a walk. Cam Clayton sent a sharp line drive to the outfield next, but right to the left fielder for out number one. With Johnny Tincher in the box, Barney took off on the first pitch and was in safe on a bounced throw from the catcher. He would remain stranded however, as Tincher drove one to the right fielder and Coby Morales grounded out to first. 

Lefty Stu Flesland III got the start on the mound for Washington. The leadoff batter checked a 2-2 pitch connecting for a ground out to Michael Snyder at third. A line drive over the head of Clayton at short put the second batter on. He drew a ton of attention with multiple throws from Flesland and catcher Jake Leitgeb. The next batter went down swinging and the final out came on a fly ball to Colby Wallace in right.

AJ Guerrero led off the inning with a sharp one-hopper to the shortstop, but he was able to make the play firing to first for the out. Colby Wallace followed pulling a grounder to first base for out number two. Michael Snyder turned on one as well, but delivered a grounder of his own right to the third baseman for the third out.

The five-hole batter led off with a chopper to Coby Morales at first base for the inning's first out. A breaking ball outside sat down the swinging left-handed batter that followed. A stand up double to the fence in right center followed, but he would get no more. Clayton fielded the next ball in play at short and fired over. The throw was a little low and wide, but Morales was able to scoop it up for the third out.

Leading off the third, Josh Urps roped one up the middle but the shortstop made an incredible diving play to rob Urps of the hit. Jake Leitgeb sent a grounder to the shortstop as well, but was quickly thrown out. With two down, a return to the top of the order saw Barney lay a gorgeous bunt down the third base line. He had almost overrun the base to right field by the time the ball got to first. Up next, Clayton hit one hard, but got just under it flying out to right field.

The leadoff batter sent a hard grounder right to Urps at second, but a bad hop sent it ricocheting off of him into right field for a base hit. The next better popped out to Snyder in foul territory at third. A homerun to left followed however, making it a 2-0 game in favor of the Zags. The next batter overreached for the pitch and sent a lazy fly ball to Wallace in right. Then Clayton made a fantastic play on a ball to his right, then fired a long one-hopper over to Morales for out number three.

Lead off batter Johnny Tincher was unable to drop one in as he flew out to right for the second time. Coby Morales went down swinging for out number two. The third batter, AJ Guerrero sent a grounder to the third baseman to end the top half of the inning.

The fourth inning was a pitcher's dream for Flesland. Pitch number one sent a weak grounder to Snyder at third. Pitch number two sent a weak fly ball to Barney in center. Pitch number three was a strike and Barney camped under a fly ball off of pitch number four as well.

Coby Wallace started the inning with a line drive base hit into shallow center field. Snyder put a charge into one next, but the right fielder was able to make the catch. With Urps at the plate, a wild pitch advanced Wallace into scoring position at second. Urps was unable to bring him in though, flying out to center. Next was Jake Leitgeb's turn and he drew a full count walk. With two on Barney looked to make something happen, but just missed, sending a fly ball to center field for out number three.

The Huskies got a quick out as Urps fielded a ground ball. Forced to make a quick throw the ball ended in the dirt, but Morales made another great dig at first. The next batter sent a much easier ground ball to Urps again for out number two. A hard ground ball snuck past a diving Cam Clayton at short. RHP Reilly McAdams replaced Flesland III on the mound for his first appearance as a Husky. His first out would have to wait however as catcher Jake Leitgeb fired down to second to deny a stolen base for out number three.

Cam Clayton led off the inning and wasted no time as he leaned into the first pitch and drove it over the left field fence to put the Dawgs on the board. Johnny Tincher stepped in next and drove a shot to deep left center. The center fielder made a phenomenal diving catch, but the outfield camera could show the ball falling well out of his glove  on impact. It was beyond the umpire's line of sight though. Coach Meggs contested it, but to no avail. Coby Morales went down on strikes for out number two.  The inning came to an end with a Guerrero grounder to short.

Urps raced out to shallow right field to make a difficult catch for out number one. A walk put a runner on first and RHP Case Matter entered with a runner on. It was not his day though as two more walks followed to fill the bases with one out. LHP Bryce Armstrong took over on the hill. The batter drove a 2-1 pitch deep to left, but Guerrero was able to make the catch with his back against the wall. A run would score however, making it a 3-1 ballgame. Pitching Coach Elliott Cribby went to his bullpen again bringing in RHP Ryan Velazquez. With runners on first and second, Velazquez got the next batter to a full count, but put him on with a walk as well. The Zags would follow that with a two-run base hit to center to make it a 5-1 ballgame. With runners on first and second the Huskies finally escape the inning with a fly ball to left.

Colby Wallace went down swinging on an off-speed pitch. Snyder jumped on the next pitch of the inning, but sent a grounder right to third for out number two. Josh Urps stepped in next and put a beautiful stroke on the ball, dropping it into shallow center for a base hit. Jake Leitgeb had another long at bat, including six foul balls, but went down looking at a ball outside on a pitch that even the catcher felt needed to be pulled in a bit.

The seventh got off to a smooth start with Velazquez delivering an easy chopper to Urps at second. The next batter sent shortstop Cam Clayton ranging over behind second where he gloved the ball and got just enough on the throw to make the out at first. Another ball to Clayton offered a much easier backhand opportunity which he executed to perfection firing over to Morales for out number three.

The Zags made their first pitching change of the game. McKay Barney began the inning with a drive to center, but it was caught after just a few steps toward left field. Clayton went down swinging next for out number two. Johnny Tincher turned on a 1-1 pitch and sent a rocket one-hopper down the third base line. The fielder drop-stepped down to a knee and made a stab at the ball. It somehow found his glove and he threw over to first for the final out.

The first batter of the inning sent a ball sky high to shallow center field where Barney called everyone off and made the catch. Batter number two was sent packing after a called strike three on the outside corner. Finally, a solid grounder to Morales at first was fielded cleanly to send things to the ninth.

Morales went down swinging to start the ninth. AJ Guerrero jumped on his first pitch and grounded out to short. Then things got interesting. Colby Wallace worked a full count before landing on first with his first walk of the season. Christian Dicochea stepped in to pinch hit for Snyder and ripped a shot to the wall in right center for an RBI double. Next up, Urps worked a 3-0 count before he saw his first strike. He stayed disciplined in the box and watched ball four cross below his knees. This brought the tying run to the plate as Will Simpson came in to pinch hit for Leitgeb. A pitching change was made and Simpson stepped in the box. The comeback was not to be though, as an off-speed pitch outside sent Simpson down swinging.

Starter Stu Flesland III took the loss moving to 1-3 on the season. He went 4.2 innings giving up 2 runs on 5 hits with no walks and 2 strikeouts. Ryan Velazquez was notable down the stretch going 2.1 innings with no runs, a hit, a walk, and a strikeout.

Next up for the Huskies is a three-game home series against eighth-ranked UCLA starting on Friday.