Huskies two-for-two over Cougs

Closer Will Fenton pitched two scoreless innings of relief and struck out the side in the ninth inning to preserve the lead and give the Huskies a 6-5 victory over Washington State on Saturday afternoon in the middle game of a three game non-conference series at Husky Ballpark.

Fenton entered the game in the eighth and retired the Cougars in order on three fly balls to the outfield. Then in the ninth, he struck out both pinch hitter Chad Spellman and Cougar leadoff batter Jay Miller swinging before Justin Hart chopped a single high off the Astroturf infield for his fourth hit of the game, and moved to second when third baseman John Otness fielded his hit and threw the ball past first baseman Kyle Larsen. That brought Derek Bruce to the plate with Hart representing the tying run, but Fenton fanned Bruce swinging to notch his fourth save of the season and second in as many days against the Cougars.

As they did on Friday night before the opener of the series, the Huskies and Cougars once again had to battle the elements as well as their opponents on the diamond. They waited through a rain delay of one hour and 53 minutes, and despite a steady rain throughout the contest, managed to finish all nine innings in front of 364 fans who sat through the raindrops.

The Huskies got on the board first with two runs in the bottom of the second inning when Mike Wagner led off with a walk and newcomer Chad Boudon, a junior transfer from the University of Hawaii, hit his first career Husky Ballpark home run and second of the season, a two run shot over the left field wall. The Cougars made it 2-1 Washington with a run in the top of the third when Miller reached on a throwing error by shortstop Tila Reynolds, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a single by Hart.

Washington added two unearned runs in the fifth due in large part to some sloppy Washington State defense. Freshman Brent Lillibridge lined a single to left to lead off the inning and Reynolds sacrificed him to second. However, Reynolds reached safely when Cougar starting pitcher Tony Banaszak fielded his bunt and made an errant throw off the glove of first baseman Grant Richardson. Then Greg Isaacson sacrificed both Lillibridge and Reynolds up a base, but he reached safely when third baseman Bruce Jacobsen's throw pulled Richardson off the base. That loaded the bases for Larsen, who popped out to shortstop, but then Banaszak hit Wagner with a pitch to force home Lillibridge, and Reynolds scored on a fielder's choice ground out to second by Boudon.

Despite coming into the game with a 3-11 record, the Cougars, as they did on Friday night, battled back to tie the game with three runs in the top of the sixth, loading the bases on a infield single by Hart, a hit batsman, and a walk to Jeremy Farrar. Wes Falkenborg then hit an infield single to plate Hart and Jeff LaRue followed with a single to right to score both Bruce and Farrar.

The Huskies quickly stifled any momentum the Cougars gained with their three runs in their half of the inning with two runs in the bottom of the sixth. Aaron Hathaway lined a triple into the gap in right center and scored on a double to the left field wall by Lillibridge. Aaron McKenzie then entered the game in relief of Banaszak, and promptly walked Reynolds on four pitches. One out later McKenzie hit Larsen to load the bases, and after battling Wagner for eight pitches, hit Wagner to force home Lillibridge and give Washington a 6-4 lead.

The Cougars cut Washington's lead to one in the top of the seventh on a bases loaded sacrifice fly by Bruce. They still had runners on at first and second with only one out, but Husky left handed reliever David Dowling struck out Richardson looking and induced Farrar to ground into a force out at third to end the threat.

On the mound, Dowling earned the win for the Huskies to improve his record to 4-0, allowing a run on two hits and a walk in one and one thirds innings of relief of starting pitcher Jeff Petersen. Banaszak dropped to 0-4 for the Cougars, allowing all six Husky runs, four earned, in five and one third innings, on six hits and four walks.

With the win, the Huskies improved their season record to 8-6, while the Cougars dropped to 3-12. The Huskies look to sweep the three game series on Sunday at Husky Ballpark, with game time scheduled for 1 p.m., weather permitting. Trevor Gibson will probably make his first start of the season on the mound for Washington, while Karl Mejlholm will take the ball for Washington State. Top Stories