With the win the Huskies finally evened their season record at 7-7 after opening 0-4, while the Gauchos dropped to 8-8.
Washington had a chance to wrap up the
victory without coming to bat in the bottom of the
ninth, but their bullpen gave up a two run, 5-3 lead
in the top of the ninth.
Josh Conover opened the inning on the mound
for the Huskies with a chance to save starter Matt
Kasser's second win of the season. He struck out two
of the first three batters he faced, but hit a batter,
yielded a single to Matt Aidem, and walked Chris Malec
to load the bases. He then walked Matt Wilkerson to
force home Matt Stevens and bring the Gauchos to
within one run at 5-4.
Husky head coach Ken Knutson
then brought in Johnson, the right fielder, to set up
a matchup between the left handed throwing Johnson and
the left handed hitting Bill Rowe. It did not turn out
the way the Huskies would have liked as Johnson walked
Rowe on four pitches to score pinch runner Travis
LeBouf and tie the game at 5.
Knutson then went back
to the bullpen and brought in Brandon McKerney to
pitch to Chris Valaika. Valaika looked like he had a
single up the middle but shortstop Brent Lillibridge
got to the ball and flipped it to Mike Rundle just in
time to force Wilkerson at second base and preserve
the 5-5 tie.
Johnson led off the bottom of the ninth with
a chance to make amends for his game tying walk and
fouled off four pitches against Gaucho reliever Loren
Fraser before drawing a walk. Rundle sacrificed
Johnson to second, and after Lillibridge struck out,
Larsen lined a single to left to score Johnson with
the game winner. The Gauchos may have had a play on
Johnson at the plate but Matt Stevens overran the ball
and failed to come up with it.
McKerney faced only one batter and got the
win in his first career decision. Fraser suffered the
loss for the Gauchos to drop to 1-2.
The Huskies scored all five runs in the
bottom of the first inning against starter Michael Martin. Johnson blooped a single to left center and
stole second. Andy Lentz struck out but catcher Matt
Kalafatis threw the ball into right field for an
error, allowing Johnson to score and Lentz to advance
to second. Lillibridge doubled down the left field
line to score Lentz, and after Kyle Larsen got hit by
a pitch, Zach Clem doubled down the left field line to
score Lillibridge and make it 3-0 Washington. Curt
Rindal made it 4-0 with a sacrifice fly to the warning
track in left field, and the Huskies scored their
final run when Clem scored on a throwing error by
third baseman David Figoni.
The Gauchos got to Kasser for two runs in the
fourth. Malec doubled to left, moved to third on a
groundout and scored on another groundout by Rowe.
Valaika got aboard on an infield single, stole second
and scored on a line single to left by Matt Emerick.
UC Santa Barbara made it 5-3 Huskies with a run in the
top of the eighth against reliever Keaton Everitt.
With one out Malec doubled to right, Wilkerson singled
and Rowe doubled to center to plate Malec. With
runners on at second and third Knutson brought in Matt
Hague to relieve Everitt, and he escaped further
damage by getting Valaika to pop out to Lillibridge
and striking out Emerick.
With the shaky relief in the ninth, Kasser
came away with a no-decision for the Huskies. He went
seven innings, allowing two runs, both earned, on four
hits with three walks and six strikeouts. For the
Gauchos Martin went the first six, allowing five runs,
but only two earned, on six hits and three walks with
At the plate, for the Huskies, Johnson
continued to live on base and remained perfect in the
series. After three hits and a walk in the series
opener on Friday night, he reached base all five times
on Saturday with three more hits and a pair of walks.
For the Gauchos Malec went 2 for 3 with two runs
scored and Rowe went 1 for 4 with three runs batted
The Huskies go for the sweep of their first
home series when they host the Gauchos in the finale
at 1 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. Kyle Parker (2-2,
3.94) will take the mound for the Huskies.
Larsen's heroics launch Diamond Dawgs
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