SAN MARCOS, Texas – Air Force scored five runs in the eighth inning to break open a tight game and hand Washington a 14-9 loss in the season opener for both teams at Bobcat Ballpark in the first game of the Texas State Tournament.
The Huskies fell to 0-1 on the season despite bashing out 11 hits, five errors by Air Force’s defense and a great 3-for-5 day with a home run, double and 3 RBIs from junior Robert Pehl.
With the game tied at 9-9 in the bottom of the eighth inning, Air Force was able to load the bases off UW reliever Trevor Dunlap with one out. It appeared Dunlap would wiggle out of the jam after getting Adam Groesbeck to pop out to second base for the second out, followed by a foul pop by Seth Kline to catcher Parker Guinn. But Guinn, fighting the sun and wind, dropped the ball in foul territory up the third base line giving Kline a second chance. In Kline’s continuing at bat, a run scored on a passed ball before he drove in two more with a single up the middle. Air Force would add two additional runs to put the game out of reach.
Dunlap (0-1) took the tough-luck loss for the Huskies, while Air Force reliever Nathan Stanford (1-0) shut the Huskies down over the final 2.2 innings to earn the win.
Air Force responded with three runs of their own in the bottom of the inning. Starter Zach Wright gave up a leadoff double, followed by a hit batter, but appeared to be poised to get out of the jam after getting a double play from his defense. Wright threw one in the dirt, though, and Spencer Draws was able to easily score from third to tie the game. Air Force added two more runs with two outs after a walk was followed by back-to-back doubles – the second one by David Thomas scoring two runners.
The Huskies plated two runs in the top of the sixth to draw even. Pehl blasted a solo home run to left-center field and Alex Schmidt drove in another run with a RBI double down the right field line. Wolfe tried to score all the way from first on Schmidt’s hit, but was thrown out a home on a nice relay by the Air Force defense.
Air Force responded right away in the bottom of the sixth with four runs to take a 7-3 lead. They chased Wright from the game after a hit batter and double and were able to score both runs on hits off of reliever Troy Rallings. They would add two more before Rallings was able to escape from the inning.
Washington answered with a huge inning of its own, sending 11 batters to the plate in the top of the seventh. Ryan Wiggins led off the inning with a double and would later score on the first of two errors in the inning. Pehl plated two more runs on a RBI double and would score later to tie the game on a throwing error. Trevor Mitsui and Schmidt added RBI singles to give UW the short-lived 9-7 advantage.
The Falcons scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh on a Tyler Jones 2-RBI single off Dunlap.
The Huskies threatened in the eighth with runners on second and third and only one out, but ultimately were unable to score off the submarine-style righty Stanford. Stanford did not allow a hit and struck out four in his 2.2 innings of work.
Luckily for Washington, the Huskies will have a chance to bounce back as they play Michigan later Friday in a second game at 5:00 p.m. PT.
Washington will play host Texas State on Saturday at noon PT and wrap up the trip with a 10:00 a.m. game against Michigan on Sunday.
GAME 1 vs. Air Force
Air Force 14, UW 9
UW 000 102 600 -- 9 11 0
AF 000 304 250 -- 14 14 5
Zach Wright, Troy Rallings (6), Trevor Dunlap (7), Troy Nesbitt (8) and Ryan Wiggins, Parker Guinn (7). Cameron White, Trent Monaghan (7), Nathan Stanford (7) and Brian Sicher. W – Stanford (1-0). L – Dunlap (0-1). Sv - none. HR – UW, Robert Pehl (1). 2B - UW, Alex Schmidt, Pehl, Ryan Wiggins, Erik Forgione. AF, Spencer Draws, Tyler Jones (2), David Thomas, Seth Kline (2), Noah Pierce. Time – 3:10. Attendance – TBA.