UW 3, USC 0

SEATTLE - Jake Rife went 3 for 4 with two runs batted in while Jason Erickson pitched eight scoreless innings to lead Washington to a 3-0 win over USC in the middle game of a three game Pac-10 series at Husky Ballpark on a cloudy Saturday afternoon.

With the win the Huskies improved to 9-8 in the Pac-10 and 20-23 overall while USC dropped to 10-10 and 22-22. The win also moved the Huskies a half game ahead of the Trojans for fifth place in the conference.

Rife had a run scoring double in the first, a single in the sixth, and an RBI triple in the eighth in raising his average to .343 (49 for 143). Erickson (3-4) extended his scoreless inning streak to 17, following a 2-0 shutout of the Oregon Ducks in Eugene on April 25. He allowed six hits and set a career high in strikeouts with 9, breaking his previous high of 7 set on several occasions.

Erickson begain his record breaking start in fine fashion, striking out the side in t he first inning. He got Mike O'Neill looking, then Alex Sherrod and Grant Green swinging. The Trojans had their chances to get on the board against Erickson, getting a pair of runners aboard in the second, third, and fifth innings, respectively, but on each occasion, Erickson pitched himself out of trouble.

After throwing 122 pitches in eight innings, UW Head Coach Ken Knutson went to the bullpen to get the final three outs. Geoff Brown and Brian Pearl ended the game the same way Erickson began it, by striking out the side. Brown struck out Hector Rabago and then Pearl punched out Keith Castillo and Brandon Garcia to earn his seventh save of the season.

Andrew Triggs (4-3) came up on the short end of the terrific pitching duel with Erickson, suffering the loss despite recording his second complete game of the season. He went eight innings, allowing three runs, all earned, on six hits and three walks. He struck out seven.

The Huskies got a run in the bottom of the first when Brendan Gardner-Young led off with a walk on four pitches, moved to second on a groundout by Caleb Brown, and scored on an opposite field double down the third base line by Rife. Then in the eighth, the Huskies got two valuable insurance runs with two outs. Brown walked and scored when Rife lined a triple into the gap in left center field. Kyle Conley then grounded a single into center to plate Rife.

The series concludes at 1 p.m. on Sunday afternoon at Husky Ballpark. Andrew Kittredge will start for the Huskies and Robert Stock for the Trojans.

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