Diamond Dawgs rout USC 26-2

Greg Isaacson led a balanced offensive attack with two home runs, including a grand slam, as the Huskies moved into a tie for third place in the Pac-10 and strengthened their hopes for an NCAA tournament berth with an impressive 26-2 pummeling of USC in the opener of a crucial season-ending series at Husky Ballpark.

On a magnificent 70+ degree night for baseball, the Huskies set a season high for runs and hits, with 27, surpassing the previous highs of 21 runs and 23 hits set in a victory over Cal-State Northridge in Lancaster, California on March 1.

Isaacson also became the fifth Husky in the last six games to hit two home runs in the same game, following Chad Boudon (May 19-Arizona State), Mike Wagner (May 17-Arizona State), John Otness (May 11-UCLA), and Brent Lillibridge (May 10-UCLA).

The Huskies scored early and often, tallying seven runs in the first, four in the second, and six in the third. By the time the Trojans finally put a run on the board, the Huskies already led 17-0.

USC starter Bobby Paschal did not even make it out of the first inning, retiring only two hitters and giving up six hits and a walk.

After Lillibridge grounded out to third to lead off the bottom of the first, Tila Reynolds walked and Aaron Hathaway lined a two run homer, his fourth of the season, over the 365 marker in left field.

Then Wagner blooped a single into center, Boudon singled sharply to left, and Nick Batkoski hit a roller that got past both second baseman Dale LeGaspi and shortstop Anthony Lunetta for a single to score Wagner and make it 3-0.

Kyle Larsen came up next and lined a single to center to score Boudon, and when center fielder Travis McAndrews bobbled the ball, Batkoski scored and Larsen advanced to second. Otness flied to left for the second out of the inning, and then Isaacson hit a high fly over the right field wall for his eighth round-tripper of the season and a 7-0 Husky lead after one.

In the second, Reynolds singled to lead off, advanced two bases on an errant pickoff attempt by reliever Clayton Wentworth, and scored on a single to right by Wagner.

One out later, Batkoski singled to center, and then Larsen hit what looked like a routine foul ball down the left field line but it dropped just fair for a double, scoring Wagner and sending Batkoski to third. Then Otness lined a single off the mound and into center to plate both runners.

The Huskies just continued to hammer Trojan pitching in the third. Lillibridge and Reynolds singled and both moved up a base on a wild pitch by third USC pitcher Michael Cooper.

Wagner singled to drive in Lillibridge, and Boudon lined a single past third baseman Michael Moon to score Reynolds. Larsen walked to load the bases, and then Cooper fired an errant pickoff down the right field line, allowing Wagner and Boudon to score and Larsen to advance to third. Otness then made it 17-0 with a two run homer, his sixth, over the wall in left center field.

USC finally got on the board in the top of the fourth with a run as Spencer Gordon drove in Joey Metropoulos with a double down the left field line.

Unfortunately for the Trojans the Huskies just continued to hit and answered their run in the top of the frame with a pair in the bottom of the inning, loading the bases and scoring on two fielder's choice groundouts.

The Trojans managed another meager run to make it 19-2 in the fifth, as they loaded the bases and McAndrews got hit by a pitch from Husky starter Sean White to force home Darin Vieira.

After the Huskies finally went scoreless in the fifth, managing just a single by Otness, his third hit of the game, the Huskies sent all nine batters to the plate in the sixth and scored six more runs to make it 25-2.

Ben Johnson and Taylor Johnson singled and Justin Drake got hit by a pitch to load the bases. Steve Ramsey singled to right to plate Ben Johnson and Otness got hit by a pitch to force home Taylor Johnson.

Then Isaacson took a 1-2 pitch from fourth USC pitcher Rudy Quinonez and hit a towering fly ball that sailed over the right field foul pole. After a brief hesitation, first base umpire Darrel Mason waved the ball fair, giving Isaacson a grand slam and his ninth home run of the season.

The Huskies completed the evening's barrage with another home run, a solo shot over the right field wall, his second of the season, by Ramsey in the eighth.

Meanwhile, White went five innings on the mound for the Huskies to pick up the victory and improve to 8-4. He allowed two runs, on earned, on five hits and three walks while striking out nine.

Scott Robertson pitched four scoreless innings of two hit ball in mop up duty for White and, despite the margin of victory, picked up the save, his third of the season. Paschal suffered the loss for the Trojans to drop to 3-7.

With their victory, the Huskies improve to 38-16 overall and, following Arizona's 5-2 loss to Arizona State in Tempe on Friday night, move into a third place tie in the Pac-10 with Arizona with 13-9 marks, a game behind the Sun Devils, who improved to 14-8.

The Huskies also clinched a tie for fourth place in the Pac-10, as they dropped USC to 11-11, and even if the Trojans win the next two games, both teams will finish with 13-11 league records. The Huskies and Trojans play game 2 of the series at Husky Ballpark on Saturday afternoon, with first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m. Jeff Petersen will get the start on the mound for Washington, while Anthony Reyes will take the ball for USC.

NOTE: The series matches the the two Pac-10 co-leaders in home runs with 21, USC's Jeff Clement and the Huskies' Boudon. Neither hit a long ball on Friday night, but Boudon did finish 2 for 5 with two runs scored and two runs batted in, while Clement only received two at-bats, grounding out to second base in the first and then taking a called third strike in the third.

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