UC Riverside beats UW, wins series

Shoddy defense by the University of Washington Sunday afternoon allowed UC Riverside to score all six of its runs with two outs as the Highlanders won the rubbermatch in the series, 6-4, at Husky Ballpark.

Left-handed reliever Matt Thiessen took the win, working four and one-third innings of scoreless relief in place of starter AJ Shappi, to move to a perfect 4-0 on the season.

The Highlanders improved to 15-7 on the year.

The suspect defense caught up to the Huskies in the very first inning. With two outs and runners on second and third base, Scott Powis came to the plate and hit a hard grounder to shortstop Tila Reynolds that would have produced the final out of the inning.

Reynolds' throw to first base bounced short of the bag and first baseman Bryan Johnson couldn't come up with the scoop, allowing the Highlanders to score a run and keep the inning alive.

Before the damage had ended, two more runs crossed the plate on consecutive singles by Randy Blood and Rich Hofman. Down 3-0, the Huskies and starting pitcher Sean White dug themselves an early hole that they could never recover from.

The Huskies did close the gap to 3-2 in the second inning when left fielder Jay Garthwaite singled home Tyler Davidson, who had earlier been hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a stolen base. Garthwaite then swiped second with a steal of his own before third baseman John Otness knocked him home with a single.

But Washington (8-7) would never get any closer.

In the fourth inning the Huskies appeared to be out of a jam when Highlander designated hitter Adam Spiker reached on a fielder's choice for the second out of the inning. But that wasn't the case as the Highlander outfield trio combined to pummel pitches offered from White into gaps.

Right fielder Tim Faulkner singled to put runners at first and second, then center fielder Brian Wahlbrink doubled in both baserunners with a ball rocketed into the gap in left-center. Wahlbrink came across on left fielder Adam Seuss' single, making it 6-2 before the Huskies could get out of the inning.

Washington added two runs in the fifth off of Shappi on a double by Jay Garthwaite, scoring Reynolds and Bryan Johnson. But at 4-6, the Huskies couldn't manage to push any more runs across on Thiessen the final four innings.

White took the loss for the UW, dropping to 1-2 on the season.

Player of the Game:
Husky left fielder Jay Garthwaite. The junior from Kent went 2-4 at the plate with two RBI, and turned in the defensive play of the game when he threw out Tim Faulkner trying to score from third base on a fly ball in the sixth inning.

Play of the Game:
With two outs and runner on second and third in the first inning, UW shortstop Tila Reynolds fielded a grounder and threw low to first baseman Bryan Johnson. That allowed a run to score, and gave the next two batters, Randy Blood and Rich Hofman, the opportunity to knock in two more runs with back-to-back singles before inning ended. The Huskies would never recover from the early three-run deficit.

Up Next: Washington begins a three-game homestand Thursday, March, 14 against Brigham Young University. Games will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and Saturday's contest is set to start at 1 p.m.

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