UW 10, USC 8

Aaron Hathaway doubled to score Brent Lillibridge with the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth inning and scored a valuable insurance run as the Huskies completed their first ever sweep of the Trojans with a come from behind 10-8 victory in the regular season and series finale for both teams at Husky Ballpark on Sunday afternoon.

The Huskies finished the regular season at 40-16 overall and 15-9 in the Pac-10, good for sole possession of third place in league play.

Now they wait to see where the NCAA selection committee will send them with an at-large bid as they aim to complete "unfinished business", their slogan for the season, with a trip to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska, from June 13-23.

After getting pounded by Gonzaga 13-2 and 16-1 in the first two games at Husky Ballpark this season, the Huskies won 22 of 25 at home to finish with an outstanding 22-5 record, a winning percentage of .815.

They also became the fourth Husky team to win 40 games under Head Coach Ken Knutson, joining the 1994 (46-18), 1997 (46-20) and 1998 (41-17) squads.

Hathaway and Lillibridge spearheaded the Huskies' comeback offensively, from first a 6-0 and then a 7-1 deficit to win Sunday's game.

Hathaway finished 3 for 4 with a run scored and four runs batted in, while Lillibridge continued his terrific freshman season with a 3 for 4 day at the plate, three runs scored and two RBI.

With one out in the bottom of the eighth, Lillibridge lined a single to left center field. He then got picked off by fourth Trojan pitcher Fraser Dizard, but instead of trying to get back to first, he kept running toward second and beat the throw from first baseman Joey Metropoulos to shortstop Anthony Lunetta at second base, stealing his ninth base of the season.

Greg Isaacson struck out swinging for the second out of the inning, leaving it up to Hathaway to try to put the Huskies ahead.

He delivered, lining a 2-1 pitch into the corner in right field to score Lillibridge and put the Huskies ahead 9-8.

Dizard then walked Mike Wagner intentionally to set up a left hander vs. left hander matchup with Kyle Larsen, but Larsen made the strategy backfire, singling on the first pitch from Dizard to score Hathaway and make it 10-8.

After getting outscored by the Huskies 31-3 in the first two games of the series, the Trojans turned the tables on the Huskies, sending nine batters to the plate and scoring six runs in the very first inning against starter Clay Johnson.

Johnson hurt his own cause, walking Michael Moon and Jeff Clement and giving up a double to Anthony Lunetta to load the bases with none out. Metropoulos walked to force home Moon.

Then Travis McAndrews singled to right to score Lunetta and Clement and make it 3-0. Jon Brewster brought home Metropoulos with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-0, and Ryan Broderick capped off an 11 pitch battle with Johnson and made it 6-0 USC with a two run homer, his third, over the right field wall.

Knutson then brought in left hander David Dowling to relieve Johnson, and he retired #9 batter Darin Vieira on one pitch, a groundout to Larsen.

The Huskies got on the board with a run in the bottom of the first on back to back doubles by Isaacson and Hathaway, but the Trojans restored their lead to six runs and made it 7-1 in the top of the third as McAndrews doubled and scored on a chop single over the head of third baseman John Otness.

Jon Brewster attempted to steal home and give the Trojans a cheap run, but Dowling threw to Hathaway to nail him at the plate.

Lillibridge got a run back for the Huskies in the bottom of the third with a one out home run to dead center field, his 12th of the season, and the Huskies made it 7-6 with four runs in the fourth, sending nine batters to the plate.

Chad Boudon reached safely on a throwing error by shortstop Lunetta, stole second, moved to third when catcher Clement's throw got into center field, and scored on a ground single to center by Tila Reynolds.

Reynolds stole second and USC starter Brian Bannister walked Otness Nick Batkoski to load the bases for Lillibridge, who lined a single to right field on the first pitch to plate Reynolds.

The Huskies caught a break on Bannister's second pitch to Isaacson, as the pitch got past Clement all the way to the backstop. Batkoski ran more than halfway between second and third and Lillibridge between first and second when Otness decided to head back to third instead of trying to score on what would have gone into the books as a wild pitch. No one covered their bases, so the runners managed to get back safely.

With two balls on Isaacson USC coach Mike Gillespie decided to go to the bullpen and brought in left hander Josh Rummonds. Isaacson drew a walk, charged to Bannister, to force home Otness. Hathaway then came to the plate and lined a sacrifice fly deep enough to score Batkoski.

The Huskies finished the climb out of the six run hole and took an 8-7 lead with two runs in the bottom of the sixth. Batkoski lined a single to right center field and Lillibridge walked. After Isaacson popped up to third, Hathaway singled to right center to score Batkoski and tie the game, with Lillibridge moving to third.

Then Mike Wagner hit another single to right center to score Lillibridge and give the Huskies the lead.

The lead would last exactly one batter into the top of the seventh, as Metropoulos hit a high fly ball off Trent Baysinger over the bullpen wall for his 11th home run and a tie game.

On the mound, after Johnson started and lasted only two thirds of an inning, giving up six runs, all earned on three hits and three walks, the Huskies received solid relief efforts from Dowling and Baysinger.

Dowling went 3 2/3 innings, allowing one run on three hits and two walks, while striking out five, and Baysinger also went 3 2/3 innings, allowing one run on two hits and two walks with one strikeout.

As the pitcher of record when the Huskies scored in the eighth, Baysinger earned the victory to improve to 4-1. Closer Will Fenton then came into the game to pitch the ninth and retired the Trojans in order to earn his 10th save and finish the regular season without allowing a single run in 30 innings. Bret Butler suffered the loss for USC to drop to 1-5.

The Huskies will now discover where they will head for postseason when the NCAA selection committee unveils its 64 team field for the upcoming tournament at 9:30 a.m. on Monday morning. The team and coaches will gather at the Don James Center in Husky Stadium to learn their destination.

The Huskies honored six players on Senior Day: Tila Reynolds, Sean White, Scott Robertson, Brandon Jacobson, Jefferson Thiel and Jeremiah Porter made their final home appearances in Sunday's finale.

Boudon-Clement watch: Neither the Huskies' Boudon nor the Trojans' Clement homered in the series and remain tied for the Pac-10 lead with 21. Boudon finished 0 for 5 with a run scored, while Clement finished 0 for 4 with a run scored. Clement came close to hitting #22 in the top of the seventh as he sent Lillibridge to the wall in center field to snare his deep fly ball. He also had a potential extra base hit taken away in the second when first baseman Larsen snared his line drive down the first base line.

The NCAA revealed the sites for 16 regionals held the weekend of May 30-June 1. 14 of the top 16 teams in the most recent Baseball America top 25 will host: #1 Florida State, #2 Rice, #3 Cal State Fullerton, #4 Long Beach State, #5 Stanford, #6 Arizona State, #7 Nebraska, #8 Texas A&M, #9 Texas, #10 LSU, #11 Georgia Tech, #13 Auburn, #14 North Carolina State, and #15 Southern Mississippi. #20 Mississippi State and #21 Miami will also host.

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