Feb. 22, 2001
TUCSON, Ariz. - Catcher Jefferson Thiel drove in the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to lead the Washington baseball team to a season-opening 6-5 win over Brigham Young Thursday at Tucson Electric Park. The game was the Huskies' first of three in this weekend's Illini Desert Classic.
The Huskies had trailed by as many as four runs in the game, but scored three in the seventh and two in the bottom of the ninth to pull out the win. In the ninth, with Ben Miller at third and two outs, BYU (7-7) brought in James Ray, its second reliever of the inning. Ray walked Duggan Moran, who was lifted for pinch runner Justin Drake. Third baseman Michael Done then singled down the left field line to send home Miller with the tying run before Drake scored from second base on Thiel's single up the middle.
The Huskies (1-0) took a while to get the offense going, thanks in large part to BYU ace Nate Fernley, who worked eight innings, but got no decision. Fernley, a senior righthander, entered the game with a 5-0 record, a 1.71 earned run average, 52 strikeouts and only five walks in 42 innings. He has been named the Mountain West Conference pitcher of the week three weeks running. Against the UW, he allowed eight hits, three earned runs and fanned nine.
Washington starter Tyler Shepple also earned no decision despite a strong opening outing. Shepple, a sophomore making his first career start after 13 relief outings as a freshman, allowed only two runs on four hits over six innings. He struck out five and didn't walk a batter. Sophomore reliever Scott Robertson, who pitched a scoreless top of the ninth inning, picked up his first career victory.
The Cougars opened the scoring in the first inning. Leadoff man Shane Belliston reached on a single and then, one out later, Matt Carson belted his sixth home run of the season to left-center field to stake BYU to a 2-0 lead. Washington finally broke into the scoring column in the sixth. Done singled, stole second and move to third on an errant throw. He scored on a groundout from center fielder Andre Marshall.
The Cougars posted three more runs in the seventh to take a 5-1 lead before the Huskies closed the gap in the seventh, scoring three runs. After a double from Tila Reynolds and a walk to Bryan Johnson, Jay Garthwaite doubled to center to score two runs. Garthwaite would come around on a single from Moran to cut the Cougars' lead to 5-4.
Garthwaite and Done eached finished the day with three hits in four at bats. Thiel, a sophomore from Bothell, finished 2-for-4. Belliston, Michael Wirrick and Tyler Perry each had two hits for BYU.
Friday at 2:00 p.m. (Pacific time), the Huskies take on Kentucky in the second of three games this weekend.
LINESCORE at Tucson Electric Park Washington 6, Brigham Young 5 BYU 200 000 300 -- 5 10 1 Washington 000 001 302 -- 6 12 1 Nate Fernley, Justin Su'a (9), James Ray (9) and Michael Davies. Tyler Shepple, Taylor Grant (7), Shawn Kohn (7), Mike Bomar (8), Scott Robertson (9) and Jefferson Thiel. W - Robertson (1-0). L - Ray (0-2). 2B - UW, Tila Reynolds, Jay Garthwaite. 3B - UW, Andre Marshall. HR - BYU, Matt Carson (6). T - 2:42. A - 150.