Dawgs Take Crucial Game One At USC, 2-1
With Pac-12 Tournament berth implications on the line, the Huskies met USC at Dedeaux Field tonight looking to continue their hot streak. It would be another pitching duel with the Dawgs limiting the Trojans to just one run on six hits while the Huskies were able to make the most of their nine hits. A triple off the wall in right set Josh Urps up to score on a McKay Barney grounder in the third. USC would tie it up in the fifth, but an AJ Guerrero rocket over the fence in the eighth gave the Huskies all they would need down the stretch to put another notch in the win column.
TOP OF 1
McKay Barney got things started with a leadoff single to shallow center field. Next up at the plate, Cam Clayton sent a ground ball to the shortstop who was only able to get the out at second. With one on and one out, Johnny Tincher sent a ground ball to third. He was on with another fielders choice as Clayton was thrown out at second. With two outs, Will Simpson sent a hard one-hopper to the second baseman who made the play and, for the third time in the inning, threw it over to record an out at second base.
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Right-hander Jared Engman took the mound to start the game and delivered a routine ground ball to Clayton at short, however a good throw went sailing by Simpson as he lost it in the setting sun. The next batter went down on strikes for the first out of the bottom half. A ground ball to Josh Urps at second was good enough for the out at second, but the batter made it to first safely on the fielder's choice. With two outs, Urps chased a pop up from the next batter over into foul territory on the first base side and hauled in out number three.
TOP OF 2
Left fielder AJ Guerrero was first to step to the plate in the second, but he went down on strikes. Coby Morales followed, but was out on a hit back to the pitcher. With two outs, Michael Snyder grounded out to short.
BOTTOM OF 2
The bottom of two was a busy one for Guerrero who made all three outs in left field.
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Colby Wallace led off the third with a grounder to the second baseman's glove side as he made the play for out number one. Urps followed with a ball that threatened to clear the wall in right, but it was just shy and bounced off the the fielder's glove as he collided with the wall. Urps took advantage and flew around the bases arriving safely at third. Barney followed with a grounder to second that brought Urps across to put the Dawgs up 1-0. Clayton followed with a grounder to the pitcher to send things to the bottom half.
BOTTOM OF 3
Engman began the inning sitting the first two batters down on strikes. A base hit up the middle followed to put a runner on first. A walk to the next batter put two aboard. With pressure mounting, Engman escaped the inning with a fly ball to Guerrero in left.
TOP OF 4
Tincher led off the inning with a shot over the third baseman's head. Simpson followed with a hard hit off the second baseman's glove to put runners on first and second. Clayton went down on an infield fly to short which brought Morales to the plate. A ground ball to the second baseman however, kicked off a 4-6-3 double play.
BOTTOM OF 4
Engman sat the first batter down swinging at strike three. The next batter hit a lazy grounder that Engman considered fielding, but ultimately let go. Michael Snyder had the approach from third and made an amazing barehanded play to fire the runner out at first. The Huskies retired the side on a line drive to Urps at second.
TOP OF 5
Michael Snyder led off the inning with a base hit through the left side. Wallace followed going down on strikes. With one out, lefty Josh Urps slapped a base hit the other way putting two aboard. Barney stepped in next, but went down swinging. Clayton dug in next, but a ground ball to short put an end to the top half of the fifth.
BOTTOM OF 5
A lead off strikeout was a positive for the Dawgs, but a pair of singles put runners on the corners. A squeeze bunt was perfectly executed scoring a run and putting runners on the corners once again. A wild pitch advanced the runner on first over to second. With two runners now in scoring position, Clayton came up with a phenomenal play at short to keep both runners at a standstill as he threw over to first for the second out. An unassisted put out by Simpsons at first would end the inning.
TOP OF 6
Tincher began the inning grounding out to short. Both Simpson and Guerrero followed with singles to left field to put two on. Morales stepped in next and loaded the bases with a walk which triggered a Trojan pitching change. With one out, Snyder went down swinging at a ball up and away. The Huskies looked to Wallace next who worked a full count before hitting a grounder to second for out number three.
BOTTOM OF 6
Michael Snyder flashed some leather again making a diving stab at a shot down the line. The throw over to first put one away. The next batter was sent to first after being hit by a pitch. A single to left field followed putting two runners on and brought a call to the bullpen. RHP Case Matter took over for Engman after five and a third. A full count walk followed to load the bases with one out. Matter battled and sat the next batter down on four pitches. With two down and the bases loaded, Matter came up clutch again with another swinging strikeout to retire the side.
TOP OF 7
Urps grounded out to first to lead off the inning. Barney followed popping out to third in foul territory. With two outs, Clayton sent a ground ball to his counterpart at short to end the inning.
BOTTOM OF 7
The leadoff batter was aboard in the bottom of the seventh after walking on nine pitches. A call to the bullpen brought in RHP Josh Emanuels. A ground ball to second delivered the only out at first base as the runner was already off to second on the pitch. After just one batter, RHP Ryan Velazquez took over on the mound with a runner in scoring position. With one out, the next batter swung at the first pitch and popped out to Snyder at third. With two down, Velazquez faced a lefty at the plate who sliced a line drive to left, but Guerrero had no trouble tracking it down for the third out of the inning.
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Tincher jumped on the first pitch, but popped out to the first baseman in foul territory. Simpson followed and made good contact to left center, but the left fielder was able to make it over in time for the catch. Guerrero dug in next and, after timing up ball one, he smashed the second pitch he saw over the left field fence to give the Dawgs a 2-1 lead! Morales followed going down on strikes to end the inning.
BOTTOM OF 8
RHP Stefan Raeth took over on the mound to start the eighth for the Dawgs. A fly ball to second baseman Josh Urps in shallow center delivered out number one. A one-hopper to Urps again brought out number two. The inning's third batter sent a flare into shallow right field, but Simpson made his way out from first and hauled in the running catch.
TOP OF 9
Up 2-1, the Dawgs were looking for some insurance runs and sent Snyder to the plate. He drew a walk to get things started. Preston Viltz pinch hit for Wallace next. He attempted to put down a sacrifice bunt, but got under it flying out to the pitcher who threw on to first to double up Snyder. With two down now, Urps stepped in and drove a shot to right field, but it was caught for the third out of the inning.
BOTTOM OF 9
Raeth took the mound again in the ninth and fanned the first batter. Batter number two went down as well looking at strike three on the inside corner. The next batter drove a 1-2 pitch into center field for a base hit. With a 1-0 count to the next batter, a meeting on the mound ensued. With a plan in place, Raeth went to work again. Three pitches later, another strikeout was record and with it, another Husky win!
Starter Jared Engman had another solid outing going 5.1 innings, giving up just 1 run on 5 hits with 1 walk and 5 strikeouts. Ryan Velazquez took the win moving to 2-0. He went 2/3rds of an inning, giving up no runs, hits, walks, or strikeouts. The save went to Stefan Raeth - his third. He pitched two complete innings holding the Trojans scoreless with just 1 hit, no walks, and 3 strikeouts.
The Huskies face USC again in game two of the three-game series tomorrow at 1:00 PM.