Diamond Dawgs drop regular season finale

Brian Anderson struck out Bryan Johnson with two runners aboard in the bottom of the ninth inning to help the Arizona Wildcats avert a sweep and spoil Fan Appreciation/Senior Day with a 5-2 victory over the Huskies in the regular season finale for both teams at Husky Ballpark on Sunday afternoon.

With the victory Arizona dropped the Huskies to 15-9 in the Pac-10 and a third place tie with Arizona State. Overall the Huskies dropped to 30-25-1, while Arizona improved to 9-15 in the conference and 31-24 overall.

The Huskies had plenty of opportunities to score some runs and blow the Wildcats out after taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning on Tyler Davidson's 13th home run of the season, a towering shot over the scoreboard in left field. They loaded the bases three times but could not score, and stranded 15 baserunners overall.

In the fifth, Greg Isaacson blooped a single off the glove of first baseman Pat Reilly in shallow right field, Taylor Johnson lined a double off the yellow stripe just above the 365 mark in right field, and Kyle Larsen walked to load the bases for Davidson.

After getting ahead of the Husky left fielder in the count 1-2, Arizona reliever Chris Goodman got Davidson to pop up to second baseman Moises Duran and end the inning.

After failing to score themselves when Husky starter Clay Johnson hit three batters to load the bases in the second inning, the Wildcats did not squander such an opportunity in the seventh, scoring all five of their runs off Johnson and relievers David Dowling and Will Fenton.

Clayton Bried led off with a single, advanced to third on a base hit by Brad Hassey, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Reilly to knot the contest at 1. After John Hardy singled to left, Husky head coach Ken Knutson brought in Dowling, a left hander, to face one batter, left handed hitting catcher Chris Cunningham. Dowling did not get the job done, walking Cunningham on five pitches and loading the bases. Knutson went to his bullpen again, bringing in Fenton, a right hander, to face Anderson.

Anderson grounded into a force out at second, scoring Hassey with the go ahead run. Moises Duran then stepped to the plate and drove the first pitch from Fenton over the left field wall for a three run homer, his ninth of the season, and a 5-1 Wildcat lead.

The Huskies looked as if they would answer Arizona's five spot with a big inning of their own in the bottom of the seventh. Isaacson walked, and after Taylor Johnson grounded into a force at second, Tila Reynolds walked. Larsen followed with a line single into right to score Johnson and cut Arizona's lead to 5-2. Davidson flied out to center for the second out of the inning, but Aaron Hathaway walked to load the bases for Jay Garthwaite, the Husky leader in both home runs and runs batted in.

Unfortunately, the Huskies left the bases jammed as Garthwaite hit a mile high pop up on the first pitch from reliever Tony Sulser to shortstop Hassey to end the inning.

Washington loaded the bases again in the bottom of the eighth as Bryan Johnson walked, Isaacson laid a perfect bunt down the third base line for a single, and Reynolds walked. Acting Arizona head coach Mark Wasikowski then brought in Anderson from center field to pitch to Larsen with two outs, and he got out of the inning on his very first pitch, retiring the Husky first baseman on a soft flare to third baseman Hardy. The Huskies would not go away, and threatened yet again in the ninth, getting two runners on base on singles by Davidson and Garthwaite. Michael Done came to bat, representing the tying run, but he grounded into a fielder's choice for the second out.

The Huskies still had the tying run at the plate in the form of Bryan Johnson, but he struck out on three pitches to end the game.

On the mound, Clay Johnson suffered the loss for the Huskies to drop to 2-2 despite pitching relatively well, allowing three runs on six hits and two walks in six and one third innings. Freshman Jason Snyder started for Arizona but had to leave the game after facing only one Husky batter, Taylor Johnson, in the bottom of the first. After looking at a strike on the first pitch, Johnson smacked a line drive off Snyder's arm above the elbow.

Left hander Chris Marini, who started the first two games of the series in right field, made his first appearance on the mound for Arizona this season in emergency relief and pitched four innings, allowing only the long ball by Davidson. Ultimately, however, Goodman got the victory for Arizona to improve to 5-2.

With the regular season complete, the Huskies now hope to crash the postseason party with an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament. ESPN2 will reveal the 64 teams in this year's field at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, May 27.

NOTES: Prior to the game, Washington honored seven graduating seniors, ace pitcher Shawn Kohn, third baseman Done, reserve catcher Tim Rice and relievers Brian Barton, Greg Colburn, Zack Daniels, and Randy Vanderplow.

Sunday's finale most likely also marked the final games as Huskies for juniors Sean White, Reynolds, Davidson. and Garthwaite. They are eligible for major league baseball's annual amateur draft, which runs from Tuesday,June 4 through Wednesday, June 5. According to Baseball America, White (4), Reynolds (6), Davidson (7) and Garthwaite (9) rank among the top 10 major league prospects in the state of Washington. The Bible for minor league baseball has also projected White, Reynolds, and Davidson as second to fifth round picks in the draft.

Other Huskies eligible for the draft include junior closer Tyler Shepple and junior first baseman/designated hitter Bryan Johnson.

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