Diamond Dawgs rebound on Saturday

Mike Wagner singled with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning to score Jay Garthwaite with the winning run as the Huskies defeated UCLA 5-4 in a taut one run affair at Husky Ballpark on an overcast but blustery Saturday afternoon.

Garthwaite walked with one out in the ninth and moved to third on flare single into right field by John Otness. UCLA coach Gary Adams then brought in Doug Silva to face Wagner with only one out and the winning run at third base. After pinch runner Brandon Jacobson stole second base to take away the chance of grounding into a double play, the Bruins had the option of walking Wagner to load the bases and set up a force at any base. Instead they elected to pitch to him, and Wagner queued a 3-2 pitch in and out of the glove of a sliding Matt Thayer in right field for a single to plate Garthwaite and send the 411 fans in attendance home happy.

With the victory, the Huskies reclaimed sole possession of second place in the Pac-10 with a 9-5 record and improved to 21-20-1 overall, while UCLA dropped to 6-8 and 21-27. They also overcame the tremendous all around effort by two way player Wes Whisler, who started both on the mound and at designated hitter for the Bruins.

Whisler put the Bruins on top 1-0 in the first inning when he drove a double off the wall in center field and scored on a single by Josh Arhart. He then pitched himself out of trouble in the bottom of the first inning when the Huskies had an opportunity to tie the game. Greg Isaacson and Aaron Hathaway laid down bunt singles on consecutive pitches in the first inning to give the Huskies runners at first and second with no one out, but then Whisler induced Tyler Davidson to chop into a double play and struck out Jay Garthwaite swinging.

The Huskies drew even with an unearned run in the bottom of the second. John Otness reached base safely when third baseman Brandon Averill bobbled his ground ball, Wagner reached on an infield single, and Kyle Larsen singled to right field to load the bases. Whisler struck out Michael Done for one out, and then Tila Reynolds lifted a sacrifice fly to right to score Otness, with Wagner advancing to third. The Huskies had a chance to add more when Greg Isaacson hit a sharp grounder that appeared headed into right field, but first baseman Warren Trott speared it and raced to the bag to retire Isaacson and end the inning.

The Huskies got two more runners in the third on a leadoff walk to Aaron Hathaway and a one out single by Garthwaite, but Whisler escaped unscathed again, retiring Otness on a fly ball to center and Wagner on a fielder's choice.

Washington finally converted another scoring opportunity against Whisler in the bottom of the fifth to take a 2-1 lead. Hathaway singled and Davidson got hit by a pitch. After a deep fly ball to right center field by Garthwaite, Otness lined a hit and run single into left field to score Hathaway and send Davidson to third.

Whisler helped his own cause again and tied the game for the Bruins in the top of the sixth when he lined his 10th home run of the season, a shot that just cleared the wall in left center field over a leaping Garthwaite.

Just as soon as Whisler tied the score, the Huskies reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the sixth. Larsen led off with a double into the gap in left center field. Done then walked. Reynolds sacrificed the runners up one base, bringing Isaacson to the plate. The Husky second baseman lined a sacrifice fly to left fielder Matt Thayer to score Larsen and put the Huskies on top 3-2.

After the Huskies and Bruins traded zeros in the seventh, UCLA tied the game at 3 in the eighth, on another extra base hit by Whisler. Ryan Rasmussen drew a leadoff walk from Husky starting pitcher Sean White and advanced to second on a sacrifice by Rashad Parker. Husky head coach Ken Knutson then brought left hander Brian Carter to face the left handed hitting Whisler. After looking at a ball and fouling off four pitches, Whisler lined a double into an empty center field to score Rasmussen, as Garthwaite had played Whisler to left center field.

As they did in the sixth inning, the Huskies answered UCLA's tally with a run of their own in the bottom of the eighth. Larsen drew a leadoff walk from Whisler, prompting coach Gary Adams to remove him in favor of reliever Chris Cordeiro. Cordeiro struck out Done looking and Reynolds swinging, but then Isaacson lined a double in and out of the glove of a diving Parker in center field to plate Larsen and give the Huskies a 4-3 lead.

The Bruins came back to tie the game yet again in the ninth when Adam Berry came up to pinch hit for Trott and launched a monstrous blast off Husky reliever Will Fenton over the fence in left center field for his 16th home run of the season, setting the stage for Wagner's game winning hit in the bottom of the frame.

With the seesaw nature of the game, both White and Whisler came away with no decisions on the mound. White pitched seven and one-third innings for the Huskies, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks with seven strikeouts, while Whisler went seven plus innings for the Bruins, allowing four runs on nine hits and four walks, with two strikeouts.

Despite yielding the leadoff home run to Berry in the ninth, Fenton got the last five outs for the Huskies and got the win to improve his record to 2-2, while Cordeiro took the loss for UCLA to drop to 1-6.

The Huskies and Bruins once again take the diamond in the rubber game of the series at Husky Ballpark on Sunday afternoon, with the first pitch from Husky right hander Clay Johnson, scheduled for 1 p.m. The game can also be heard on radio courtesy of 1150 AM KKNW.

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