Ute bats blister Huskies...again

Much like a day earlier, the Utah Utes benefited from hot hitting Sunday afternoon to beat the Washington Huskies 8-3 under blue skies at Husky Ballpark.

Utah (9-7) peppered the field with 17 hits for the game, many coming as a result of weak groundballs finding the holes between the Husky infielders. Not to be overlooked, though, the Utes also managed five extra-base hits.

Washington starter Sean White went 6 2/3 innings, giving the Huskies some much needed innings, but could only limit the Utes to eight runs in the process. White dropped to 1-1 on the young season.

Mitch Maio, Utah's hottest pitcher, continued to blaze today by striking out 11 Huskies over innings of work. The senior right-hander mixed in offspeed pitches well enough to keep the UW batters off-balance for the majority of the game, and got more than enough run support from the Utah offense to improve to 3-0 in 2002.

Washington (6-5) fell behind early as Utah picked up a run in the second when shortstop Brett Baldwin knocked in designated hitter Jake Jordison with a single. They tacked on another run an inning later when second baseman Adam Castleton singled and advanced to second on an overthrow, then was batted home two batters later on a single by Matt Ciaramella.

Already ahead 2-0, Utah made it a four-run game with two more runs in the fourth inning. With two outs and a runner on first base, White had to face the heart of the Ute order and he paid dearly. First baseman Nate Weese continued his assault on Husky pitching with an RBI triple, and right fielder Brit Pannier followed with a double to knock in Weese.

The Huskies finally got on the board in the bottom half of the inning. Tyler Davidson singled with one out, and designated hitter Bryan Johnson brought him home one batter later with a double. After Steve Ramsey grounded out for the second out of the inning, freshman first baseman Kyle Larsen clubbed his second homerun in as many games on a first-pitch fastball to make it a 4-3 game.

As Larsen stepped up to the plate, a fan in the crowd yelled, "You've got the wind!" referring to the wind blowing out toward the outfield. It didn't take long for the Eastlake High product to listen to the advice, as it was only seconds later that he crushed the ball over the 395 sign in right-center.

But before the Huskies could build any more momentum, Utah methodically built on their one-run lead. With two outs in the sixth inning, they scored a run when Donnie Saba scampered home from third base on a passed ball by Aaron Hathaway to make it 5-3.

An inning later, Utah did all its damage with two outs and nobody on. Mike Westfall singled. Donald Hawes walked. Then Baldwin, who came into the game batting .154, hurt the Huskies with his second RBI single of the game, this one knocking in Westfall. Now behind three runs, White and the Huskies hoped to escape any further damage in the inning. But Castleton wouldn't let that be the case, knocking in both Hawes and Baldwin with a single one batter later.

Up 8-3, Maio shut down the Husky bats for the final three innings to pick up the win.

Husky releiver David Dowling pitched the final 2 1/3 innings for the Huskies and spread out three hits to hold Utah without a run.

Tila Reynolds again led the Huskies with three hits, finishing the three-game series 8-14.

Player of the Game:
Utah starter Mitch Maio came into the game with a 2.38 ERA, and it showed why all afternoon. The righty was masterful, pitching his first complete game of the season while fanning 11 Huskies.

Play of the Game:
Utah second baseman Adam Castleton's two-out, two RBI single in the seventh upped the Utes' lead from 6-3 to 8-3, and seemingly took the air out of any hopes of a Husky comeback.

Game Notes:

Dressed to Impress: The Huskies looked sharp today in new-look uniforms that featured gold jerseys with purple lettering. Complimented with white pants and a purple cap, the Dawgs scored a 10 in the style department.

Up Next: The Huskies head south to face the Portland Pilots for a one-game series on Tuesday at 2 p.m. The Diamond Dawgs return home Friday, March 8th for a six-game homestand that kicks off with a 6:30 start against UC-Riverside.

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