Huskies win Game 2 of Baseball Apple Cup

SEATTLE - Zach Clem scored the winning run on a wild pitch by Nick Cebula to give the Huskies a 5-4 victory in 13 innings over Washington State at Husky Ballpark on Saturday afternoon. The Huskies and Cougars close out the 2006 regular season Sunday with a 1:00 p.m. game.

The Huskies moved into a tie for seventh in the Pac-10 with the Cougars at 10-13 and upped their overall mark to 35-25, while the Cougars dropped to 36-22. Although the chances of advancing to the NCAA tournament remain very slim, Husky head coach Ken Knutson said, "There's always hope. With a win we will have the same record as Stanford (11-13 in the Pac-10). Stanford just lost two games to UC-Davis and we will have more wins (overall, 36 to 30). Hopefully we will both get in."

In the bottom of the 13th, Clem led off with a line single to left center, moved to second on a sacrifice, his third in as many plate appearances, by Danny Cox, and took third on the first of two wild pitches by Cebula. With Clem only 90 feet away from scoring the winning run the Cougars chose to intentionally walk both Matt Stevens and Bradley Boyer to load the bases and set up a force at any base. However, the strategy backfired when, after getting two swinging strikes on Brett Kaluza, Cebula uncorked a wild pitch that bounced up against the screen in front of the home plate bleachers, allowing Clem to score and end the Huskies' longest game in innings this season. Their previous longest games lasted 11 innings, in the season opener at New Mexico State on February 10, at home against UCLA on April 1, and at Arizona State on April 9.

The Huskies forced the game into extra frames when they rallied with two runs in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game at 3. Matt Hague led off with his sixth home run of the season, a line shot into the center field screen on the first pitch from starter Wayne Daman, Jr. The Cougars then brought in reliever Mike Wagner, but the Huskies greeted him rudely, getting singles from Matt Lane, Curt Rindal and Clem, with Clem's base hit scoring pinch runner Michael Burgher with the tying run. The Huskies had a chance to win the game in regulation when they still had runners on at second and third after Cox advanced pinch runner Nick Burnham and Clem with a sacrifice, but Wagner struck out Stevens swinging and Boyer looking to extend the game.

The Cougars took a 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning when Husky starter Adrian Gomez hit Travis Coulter with a pitch and Jared Prince hit his ninth homer of the season over the bullpen wall in left field. After Andy Lentz hit his sixth home run of the season for the Huskies over the wall in left field by the flagpole to make it 2-1, the Cougars restored their two run lead in the top of the eighth when Prince walked and scored on a line double into the gap in left center by Jim Murphy.

After the Huskies tied the game in the last of the ninth, the Cougars took a 4-3 lead in the top of the 10th when pinch hitter Simi Reynolds singled, took second on a sacrifice, and scored on a single to center by Coulter. In the bottom of the 10th the Huskies tied the game again when Lentz led off with a bloop single to center, moved to second on a sacrifice by Cory Rickard, and scored on an opposite field double to right center by Hague to tie the game at 4. Hague thought he had won the game with his second homer of the game but the ball bounced off the top of the wall and he had to settle for an extra base hit. Trevor Petersen then lined what looked like a base hit into the hole between second and third but third baseman Jeff Miller dove to his left to snare the ball and keep the Cougars in the game. Wagner then struck out Joey Dunn swinging to send the game to the 11th.

On the mound both teams got quality outings from their starters. For the Huskies, freshman left hander Gomez went eight innings, allowing three runs on five hits and three walks, while striking out six.

Knutson said, "Adrian pitched super. He competed very well and stepped up big for us today. He can throw any pitch he wants for a strike."

For the Cougars Daman, Jr. went eight plus innings. He yielded two runs on five hits and two walks, while striking out seven.

Bryce Mooney, the fourth pitcher for the Huskies, ended up with the win, improving to 4-3 with two scoreless innings. He allowed one walk but struck out three. Jayson Miller, the third pitcher for the Cougars, suffered the loss to drop to 2-1. He gave up a run on one hit and one walk in one and one thirds innings. He did not strike out a batter.

Washington and Washington State play the rubber game of the series and the regular season finale on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. Senior Matt Kasser will start for the Huskies in his final home game as a Husky. In addition to Kasser the Huskies will also honor Burnham, Clem, Rickard, Rindal and D.J. Neyens on Senior Day at Husky Ballpark. Top Stories