May 31, 2003
LONG BEACH, Calif. - In his first start of the season, sophomore David Dowling allowed only one unearned run on six hits over six and two-thirds innings as the Washington baseball team staved off elimination with a 4-1 win over Minnesota Saturday night at Blair Field.
The Huskies (42-17 on the year) will face top-seeded Long Beach State Sunday, needing to beat the host 49ers twice to win the double-elimination NCAA Long Beach Regional. The regional champ will advance to the Super Regionals next weekend against the winner of a regional at Stanford.
Minnesota (40-22) was eliminated with the loss. The Gophers lost Friday to the Huskies in a first-round game and stayed alive with a 7-5 win over Pepperdine earlier Saturday.
Dowling, a lefty from Kirkland's Juanita High, only got word that he'd start the game about 40 minutes before gametime as Coach Ken Knutson opted for a southpaw to face Minnesota's lineup, heavy with left-handed hitting. Dowling, who made four starts and nine relief appearances as a freshman last season, had worked in 18 games in 2003, but had yet to get a start as a sophomore.
Dowling gave up six hits (all singles) while walking three and striking out five. UM starter Matt Loberg (6-2) suffered the loss, allowing four runs on 10 hits in his three and one-third innings of work.
The third-seeded Huskies, who collected three hits and the first and another in the second without scoring, finally got into the runs column with three in the third. Greg Isaacson singled and scored on a hit-and-run double to the gap from catcher Aaron Hathaway. After a lineout, left fielder Chad Boudon added to his UW single-season record with his 22nd homer of the year, giving his team a 3-0 lead.
Minnesota, the regional's No. 2 seed, broke through with its first run in the sixth, cutting the UW lead to 4-1. Luke Appert reached on an error by Isaacson, the Husky second baseman. After a single and a force at second put runners at first and third, DH Jon Becker lined a single up the middle to drive in Appert.
The Gophers, who scored five in the ninth to beat Pepperdine earlier Saturday, started to rally again vs. the UW. In the ninth, pinch hitter Tony Leseman singled and, after an out, Sam Steidel reached on an error by third baseman John Otness on what may have been a game-ending, double-play grounder.
However, Washington went to the bullpen to get ace reliever Will Fenton, who recorded the game's final two outs for his 12th save of the season and second of the tournament. Fenton walked UM's Luke Appert to load the bases with two outs, but Lillibridge, the UW center fielder, made a diving catch on a shallow fly from Scott Welch to end the game.
Five different Huskies -- Isaacson, Hathaway, Lillibridge, Boudon and Kyle Larsen -- finished the game with two hits. Becker was the only Gopher to notch more than one, going 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Game time Sunday vs. the 49ers is 1:00 p.m. If the UW wins that game, another winner- take-all game will follow at the scheduled time of 5:00 p.m.
LINESCORE NCAA Long Beach Regional, semi-final (loser out) #3 Washington 4, #2 Minnesota 1 Minnesota 000 001 000 -- 1 7 0 Washington 003 100 00x -- 4 14 3 David Dowling, Trent Baysinger (7), Will Fenton (9) and Aaron Hathaway. Matt Loberg, Craig Molldrem (4) and Jake Elder. W - Dowling (7-2). L - Loberg (6-2). Sv - Fenton (12). 2B - UW, Hathaway, Nick Batkoski, Tila Reynolds. HR - UW, Chad Boudon (22). T - 2:53. A - 1,039. Records: UW 42-17; UM 40-22.