Washington 5, #17 Arizona State 3

Brent Lillibridge homered with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to cap a five run rally as the Huskies stunned #17 Arizona State 5-3 on Saturday afternoon in the middle game of the Pac-10 series at Husky Ballpark.

With the win the Huskies improved to 9-11 in the Pac-10 and 30-21 overall but most likely still need to beat Arizona State in the series finale and win all three games at UCLA on May 27-29 to have a realistic shot at an NCAA tournament berth. The Sun Devils dropped to 11-0 and 30-22.

Arizona State pitchers Jason Urquidez and Zechry Zinicola combined to shut down the Husky offense on only three hits through the first eight innings and it looked like the Sun Devils would slam the door on Washington's postseason hopes going into the last of the ninth.

Matt Hague looked at Zinicola's first two pitches for strikes but worked the count back to 2-2 and lined the next pitch right back at Zinicola and into center field for a leadoff single. Kyle Larsen followed with a line single to center and Nick Batkoski drove a 3-1 pitch from Zinicola off the yellow stripe and over the wall in dead center field for his fifth home run of the season. The long ball also gave Batkoski two ninth inning game-tying home runs in a week, as he also hit a solo shot against third ranked Oregon State on Sunday, May 15.

After Batkoski's homer, Joey Dunn grounded out to Zinicola and Mike Rundle popped out to second. Taylor Johnson kept the inning going for the Huskies with a walk, and Arizona State head coach Pat Murphy brought in left handed reliever Brett Bordes to face the right handed hitting Lillibridge. After looking at two balls and a strike Lillibridge hit a towering fly ball into the trees beyond the left field wall for his eighth home run of the season. When he reached home plate he got mobbed by his jubilant teammates.

Reliever Brandon McKerney got the win to improve to 4-0. He pitched two scoreless innings, allowing only one walk while striking out one. David Dowling had a second consecutive solid start for the Huskies, keeping them in the game. He went seven innings, allowing three runs on seven hits while walking four and striking out five. His teammates, however, did not give him any support and he left the game with a 3-0 deficit, giving up a run in the top of the third and two runs in the seventh. In the third, J.J. Sferra bunted for a base hit, advanced to second on a ground out to first by Rocky Laguna, and scored on a ground single to center by Travis Buck. In the seventh, Andrew Romine walked and Sferra dragged a bunt for a base hit. They executed a double steal, and after Laguna struck out, a ground out by Buck plated Romine and a base hit by Colin Curtis scored Sferra.

The Huskies had their chances to get to Urquidez, but left two runners aboard in the second, fifth and seventh. Their cause was also hampered by Sun Devil catcher Tuffy Gosewisch, who had a great day throwing out Husky runners on the basepaths. In the second he nailed Larsen attempting to steal. In the third he got Johnson at second, and he completed the hat trick when he threw out Zach Clem at second in the fourth.

Urquidez got a no-decision, allowing only three hits and four walks, while striking out three, in six and a third shutout innings. Zinicola got victimized by the Husky rally in the ninth and suffered the loss to fall to 3-3. He gave up four runs on three hits and walk in two and a thirds innings. He struck out two.

The Huskies play their final home game of the season when they host Arizona State on Senior Day at 1 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. They hope to make the final home appearances for seniors Batkoski, Dowling, Johnson, Larsen, Rundle, Josh Conover and Keaton Everitt a memorable one with a win and a sweep of the three game series. After Sunday's home finale, the Huskies finish the regular season with three games at UCLA.

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