Diamond Dawgs take double-header

Brandon McKerney allowed only one hit in his first career start as the Huskies beat the Utah Valley State Wolverines 11-1 in the second game of a doubleheader at a blustery Husky Ballpark. Washington won the first game 3-1 and with the sweep of the twinbill improved to a perfect 9-0 at home and 16-10 overall. Utah Valley State fell to 9-20 with the doubleheader loss.

McKerney was nearly perfect in his six innings of work. After retiring the first four batters he faced, he gave up a ground single to Dan Bulow in the top of the second inning, but then proceeded to retire the next 14 batters. He earned the win to improve to 2-0. Left hander Nick Hagadone pitched the final three innings in relief to earn his first save. He gave up the only run on three hits and a walk.

At the plate, the Huskies got on the board with a run against Wolverine starter Brady Drake in the bottom of the third. Brent Lillibridge lined a double to center field to lead off the inning, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a line single to right by Zach Clem.

The Huskies then broke the game open with seven runs in the bottom of the fifth, sending 11 batters to the plate. The Huskies got some help from the Wolverines as Lillibridge led off with a routine grounder, but shortstop Eli Slesk bobbled the ball for an error, allowing the runner to reach safely. Clem lined a single to right and Kyle Larsen followed with a line double to left that should have only been a single, but the ball rolled past left fielder Canyon Vance all the way to the wall, scoring Lillibridge and Clem.

With one out, Nick Batkoski got hit by a pitch, and after Joey Dunn fouled out to first baseman Trent Perry, Kiel Lillibridge flared a single to right to score Larsen and give Washington a 4-0 lead. Michael Burgher walked to load the bases and then Taylor Johnson cleared them with a three run double to left center. Brent Lillibridge capped the scoring with a line single to left to score Johnson.

In the top of the eighth, Utah Valley State got on the board as Bulow led off with a single, moved to second on a single by Todd Bateman, advanced to third on a fielder's choice and scored on another fielder's choice.

The Huskies,however, came back with three more runs in the bottom of the eighth. Cory Rickard led off with a single and Matt Hague lined a single off the glove of shortstop Jeremy Harris. Ryan Anderson singled to score Rickard, and after DJ Neyens struck out, Kiel Lillibridge singled to score Hague. Burgher walked to load bases, and Nick Jiles plated Anderson with the final run on an infield single.

Making his first career start, Kiel Lillibridge had a perfect night at the plate, going 2 for 2 with two walks, a run scored and two runs batted in.

On the mound for Utah Valley State, Drake suffered the loss to drop to 2-3, giving up seven runs, two earned, on six hits and five walks while striking out only two in four and two thirds innings.

In the opener, the Huskies scored two runs in the bottom of the first as Clem reached on an error and Larsen hit his fifth home run of the season. Those two runs turned out to be all the Huskies needed, as David Dowling and Josh Conover held the Wolverines to only one run. Dowling pitched the first six and two thirds innings, allowing only three hits and an unearned run while fanning two, to improve his record to 3-0. Conover pitched the final two and a third innings, allowing a hit and walk while striking out three, for his third save of the season.

The Huskies go for the sweep of the Wolverines in the series finale at Husky Ballpark at 1 p.m. on Tuesday.

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