UW 5, Arizona State 1

Mike Wagner belted two home runs, including a tie-breaking two run shot in the fourth inning, as Washington defeated third-ranked Arizona State 5-1 at Husky Ballpark on Saturday afternoon.

With the victory in the opener of the very important Pac-10 series, the Huskies won their third straight game and improved to 11-8 in conference and 36-15, while Arizona State fell to 12-7 in league play and 46-11 overall.

The Huskies also moved to within one game of the Sun Devils for second place in the Pac-10 and a half game of third place Arizona, pending the outcome of Saturday's night game between the Wildcats and the Oregon State Beavers in Tucson.

Sean White started on the mound for Washington and improved to 7-4, allowing only the one run on five hits and three walks in six innings, while striking out three. He yielded two out singles to Andre Ethier and Jeremy West in the first, but got Jeff Larish, the Pac-10 leader in runs batted in with 83, to ground out harmlessly to second baseman Greg Isaacson to end the inning.

Then in the second, Steve Garrabrants singled, stole second, and scored on a two out base hit to center by Tuffy Gosewisch to give Arizona State a brief 1-0 lead. After that White limited the hot-hitting Sun Devils, who entered the game with a Pac-10 team leading .351 batting average, to just a two out single by Garrabrants in the fourth.

Left hander Trent Baysinger earned his third save of the season with three scoreless innings, allowing only one hit and one walk. He also emphatically slammed the door on the Sun Devils by striking out the side in the ninth, fanning Dennis Wyrick on three pitches and then Ryan Bosch and Joel Bocchi looking.

Offensively the Huskies managed only six hits, but made the most of them. Wagner got the Huskies' first hit and tied the game at 1 when he led off the bottom of the second against Arizona State starter Erik Averill with his 12th home run of the season, a high fly ball into the visitors' bullpen in left field.

Then in the fourth, Wagner put the Huskies up 3-1 with his 13th home run of the season, a shot just over the 365 marker in left field, following a single by Tila Reynolds and a sacrifice by Aaron Hathaway.

The Huskies made it 5-1 in the fifth with a pair of runs. John Otness drew a one out walk, moved to second on a wild pitch by Averill, and scored on a single to right field by Brent Lillibridge.

Right fielder Travis Buck made a great throw to Gosewisch, but Otness just did get his hand on the plate before Gosewisch applied the tage. Reynolds came up next and lined a double over the head of center fielder Ethier to score Lillibridge all the way from first base. Once again there was a play at the plate but Lillibridge beat Gosewisch's tag.

Averill suffered his first loss of the season to drop to 7-1, allowing five runs on five hits and one walk in five innings, while striking out four.

The Huskies and Sun Devils play the middle game of the series on Sunday afternoon, with first pitch at 1 p.m. Jeff Petersen will start for Washington and Ben Thurmond for Arizona State.

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