#10 UC Irvine 17, Washington 13

SEATTLE - Brock Bardeen homered twice and scored the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth inning to help the 10th ranked UC Irvine Anteaters outlast the Huskies 17-13 in the high scoring opener of a two game non-conference series at a rainy Husky Ballpark on Tuesday night.

The Anteaters (13-6) came back from deficits of 4-1, 8-7, and 12-8 to beat the Huskies (8-12) in a wild affair before 248 fans who braved the elements.

It did not seem to matter to the Anteaters who the Huskies sent out to pitch against them, as they tallied 16 hits against six Husky pitchers. They went ahead for good against fifth Husky pitcher Andrew Kittredge (1-2) in the ninth.

Bardeen led off with a walk. Eric Deragisch struck out on a failed bunt attempt, but Ronnie Shaeffer singled and both runners advanced on a passed ball by Pierce Rankin. Casey Stevenson got hit by a pitch to load the bases and DJ Crumlich drove the first pitch he saw from Kittredge just deep enough to center field for a sacrifice fly to score Bardeen and put the Anteaters on top 14-13.

UC Irvine then added three insurance runs on a two run double by Dillon Bell and a run-scoring single by Ben Orloff.

The Anteaters began the game with a run in the top of the first against Husky starter Jorden Merry. With one out Orloff walked, stole second, took third on a passed ball and scored on a wild pitch.

Washington came back with three runs in the bottom of the first against starter Cory Hamilton to take a 3-1 lead. Brendan Gardner Young led off with a walk and Julien Pollard bunted safely for a base hit. Rankin advanced both runners with a sacrifice, and a wild pitch allowed Gardner Young to score. Kyle Conley struck out but walks to Troy Scott and Ty Rasmussen loaded the bases. Then a third straight walk to Jake Rife forced home Pollard and Aaron Russell singled to score Scott.

The Huskies went ahead 4-1 in the bottom of the second on consecutive doubles by Pollard and Rankin.

UC Irvine overcame the 4-1 deficit and went ahead 7-4 by sending 10 batters to the plate and scoring six runs in the top of the third, all with two outs. Orloff walked and Ryan Fisher got hit by a pitch. Jeff Cusick then reached on an infield single, scoring Orloff, who never stopped running from second, to make it 4-2. A wild pitch by Merry allowed Fisher to take third and Cusick second. Bardeen walked to load the bases.

With Deragisch at the plate Merry's third wild pitch of the game allowed Fisher to score, Cusick to advance to third and Bardeen second. Deragisch then drove in both runners with a single to left and scored on a double to right center by Shaeffer.

The Huskies scored a single run in the bottom of the third to make it 7-5 Anteaters on a solo homer, his third of the season, over the wall in left field by Rasmussen. They then regained the lead at 8-7 in the bottom of the fourth, loading the bases on two walks and a hit batter against reliever Matt Dufour. Conley drove in Gardner Young with a sacrifice fly to right. After a walk to Scott re-loaded the bases, Rife beat out an infield single to score Pollard and Russell singled to plate Rankin.

Bardeen tied the game at 8 with a solo homer, his first of the game and fifth of the season, over the wall in right center in the top of the fifth, but the Huskies continued to rough up Anteater pitching and regained the lead at 12-8 with four runs in the bottom of the fifth. With one out Gardner Young tripled to center, and after an intentional walk to Rankin, scored on a single by Conley. Scott then cleared the bases with a three run homer, his third, over the 385 marker to the left of the center field screen.

From that point, third Anteater pitcher Noel Avison (1-0), gave his team a chance to come back by shutting the Huskies down, pitching two perfect innings in the sixth and seventh. Bardeen cut the 12-8 Husky lead in half with a two run homer in the seventh.

Then UC Irvine scored three runs in the top of the eighth to take a 13-12 lead, highlighted by a solo homer by Shaeffer, his first, leading off the inning.

Avison got hurt by his defense in the bottom of the eighth as the Huskies capitalized on an error to tie the game at 13. Conley led off with a high fly ball to right that should have been a routine first out but Bell dropped the ball, allowing Conley to end up at third. Scott then plated Conley with a sacrifice fly to center.

Avison went three innings to get the win, allowing only one unearned run on one hit and two walks. He struck out four. Closer Eric Pettis pitched a perfect ninth to wrap up the victory. For the Huskies Kittredge lasted only two thirds of an inning, giving up four runs, all earned, on three hits and a walk. He struck out one.

The teams conclude the brief two game series on Wednesday at 2 p.m. at Husky Ballpark. Adrian Gomez will start for the Huskies and Nick Hoover for the Anteaters. Then the Huskies begin Pac-10 play with a three game series at Stanford from March 27-29.

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