UW 5, USC 1

Jeff Petersen and Will Fenton combined on a five hitter as the Huskies virtually wrapped up an NCAA tournament berth with a 5-1 victory over USC in the middle game of a season ending series at Husky Ballpark on Saturday afternoon.

The Huskies improved to 14-9 in the Pac-10, 39-16 overall, and clinched at least a tie for third place in the conference, pending the outcome of the last two games of the series between Arizona and Arizona State at Packard Stadium in Tempe.

With 13 wins in league play believed to be the minimum requirement to gain one of the 64 postseason spots based on past precedent, the Huskies perhaps positioned themselves to receive a higher seed.

After the two teams combined for 28 runs and 34 hits in a 26-2 Husky victory in Friday night's opener, the Huskies and Trojans combined for only six runs and 15 hits in a quick and tidy affair which took only two hours and 10 minutes to complete. Fortunately the game ended when it did because not long after the final out, the skies opened up and a torrential downpour came down.

Petersen pitched seven terrific innings, allowing five hits and one walk, while striking out three, to earn the win and improve his record to 6-5. He threw only 77 pitches, and did not throw more than five pitches to any individual batter. In fact, two of the batters he threw that many pitches to, Jeff Clement and Jon Brewster, he struck out.

The only run he allowed was unearned and came in the second inning, as Travis McAndrew led off with a base hit, and after Jon Brewster flied out to left, Spencer Gordon lined a one hopper to Greg Isaacson at second base for what looked like a routine inning ending double play, but Isaacson threw the ball high past shortstop Tila Reynolds, allowing McAndrews to advance to third and Gordon to second.

Then Darin Vieira plated McAndrews with a ground out to Isaacson. From that point Petersen yielded only four singles before head coach Ken Knutson turned to Fenton to pitch the final two innings.

True to the form he displayed all season, Fenton did not give up a run. He emphatically slammed the door on the Trojans for his ninth save, retiring them in order and striking out three.

Anthony Reyes started for the Trojans and dropped to 2-4, despite coming within one out of pitching his first complete game of the season. He yielded all five runs on 10 hits and three walks, with nine strikeouts.

In contrast to the 26 runs on Friday, when the Huskies scored early and often, they got off to a slow start offensively on Saturday afternoon.

They got the first two runners aboard in the bottom of the second on a single by Kyle Larsen and a walk to Chad Boudon, but Reynolds fouled back two sacrifice attempts and struck out looking. Then, on what looked like a hit and run, John Otness swung through the first pitch from Reyes, and Larsen got thrown out at third on what would go into the books as both his first stolen base attempt and caught stealing of the season, while Boudon moved into second with his third swipe of the season.

Otness eventually struck out swinging and a promising inning ended with nothing.

Fortunately, with Petersen pitching very sharply, the lost inning did not come back to haunt the Huskies and they not only tied the game, but took the lead with two runs in the bottom of the fourth.

Wagner took Reyes deep over the left field bullpen on the first pitch of the inning for his 15th home run of the season and a 1-1 tie. After Reyes fanned both Larsen and Boudon, Reynolds lined a double into the right field corner and came home on a triple by Otness over the head of center fielder McAndrews.

The Huskies made it 3-1 in the sixth on a double by Larsen and a single by Boudon, before putting the game away with two runs in the bottom of the eighth.

Isaacson led off with a single to left and moved to second on a sacrifice by Aaron Hathaway.

Wagner then followed with a double off the glove of right fielder Ryan Broderick, but because he had to make sure that the ball would drop, Isaacson could only advance to third.

After Reyes walked Larsen intentionally to load the bases, Boudon drove in Isaacson and Wagner with a single to left.

The Huskies look to end the regular season with a sweep of the Trojans when the two teams play the finale of the series at 1 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. Probable starters are Clay Johnson for the Huskies and Brian Bannister for the Trojans.

Then the Huskies will convene at the Don James Center in Husky Stadium at 9:30 a.m. on Monday to discover their postseason destination.


NOTES: Boudon-Clement Watch - In the matchup of the two leading home run batters, neither Boudon nor Clement added to their current totals of 21, but once again Boudon fared better than Clement at the plate, finishing 2 for 3 with 3 RBI, while Clement went 0 for 3 with a walk.

Greg Isaacson had a rare bad day defensively. After his throwing error in the second, he committed another throwing error in the fifth on a grounder by Clement, which marked only the second time in his career he had a two error game.

Sunday's game marks the final home appearance for Husky seniors Brandon Jacobson, Tila Reynolds, Scott Robertson and Sean White.

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