LOS ANGELES – Jared Fisher pitched 8 and 1/3 strong innings to lead red-hot Washington to a 8-2 victory Friday night over USC at Dedeaux Field and extend the Huskies’ win streak to a season-high eight games.
Fisher, who gave up seven earned runs in the opener at Husky Ballpark last week, was a different pitcher this time out. He gave up seven hits, allowed one earned run, struck out five and walked one to even his record at 2-2 and help the Huskies move to 18-5-1 on the season and 6-1 in Pac-12 play.
The Huskies are 15-1 over their last 16 games. They remain tied for first with UCLA in Pac-12 action after the Bruins won and Oregon lost.
USC dropped to 13-11 on the season, 3-4 in Pac-12 play.
The Huskies’ offense provided Fisher plenty of backing with 12 hits. They used some two-out magic to strike first in the second inning.
Mitsui has now reached base safely in all 20 games he has played in this season.
The Huskies continued to make Strahan work hard in the third inning, scoring four times and sending nine hitters to the plate.
Andrew Ely got things started with a lead-off walk and Robert Pehl followed with a double to put a pair of runners in scoring position. Brian Wolfe, the reigning Pac-12 Player of the Week, delivered a single that scored Ely and Berry followed with a blooper that landed safely in left field to score Pehl and put runners on the corners.
Mitsui delivered a two-out hit that scored Wolfe and Austin Rei followed with a RBI single to make it 5-0.
By the end of the inning, the losing pitcher Strahan (2-2) had already thrown 74 pitches.
Washington tagged Strahan with another run in the top of the fifth on a Mitsui sacrifice fly. Berry hit a ground-rule double to right field, advanced to third on a ground out and scored for the third time on the night as Mitsui drove in his third to make it 6-0.
USC finally got on the board in the bottom of the fifth inning after the Huskies committed two errors. Lead-off hitter Blake Lacey reached on a throwing error by shortstop Erik Forgione and one out later, Omar Cotto laid down a bunt single out in front of the plate which the catcher Rei threw wildly to past first allowing both runners to move into scoring position. Timmy Robinson delivered a sacrifice fly to right that made it 6-1.
The Huskies offense answered right back in the top of the sixth to give Fisher back his six-run cushion. With Forgione on third and Braden Bishop at first, Ely laid down a perfect sacrifice squeeze bunt that scored the lead runner and make it 7-1.
Rei capped the scoring for the Huskies in the ninth inning by lacing a two-out double into the left-center gap that scored Mitsui, who reached after getting hit by a pitch, all the way from first.
Fisher came out to pitch the ninth inning and go for the complete game, but USC chased him after a one-out triple by Jeremy Martinez and a RBI single by Dante Flores. With 111 pitches under his belt, Fisher was pulled in favor of Will Ballowe, who got the final two outs of the game.
Five Huskies had two hits each on the night. Mitsui went 2-for-3 with 3 RBIs, Rei was 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs and Berry was 2-for-4 and scored three runs.
Ely singled in the fourth inning to extend his hit streak to 14 games.
Game two of the series will be played between the two teams on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. The Huskies will send junior right-hander Tyler Davis (4-1, 1.36) to the hill against USC lefty Bob Wheatley (2-2, 2.25).
Washington 8, USC 2
WASH 014 011 001 –- 8 12 2
USC 000 010 001 –- 2 7 1
Jared Fisher and Austin Rei. Wyatt Strahan, Marc Huberman (5), Sean Silva (9) and Garrett Stubbs. W – Fisher (2-2). L – Strahan (2-3). Sv – none. HR – none. 3B – USC, Flores. 2B –UW, Robert Pehl, Branden Berry, Rei. Time – 2:50. Attendance – 702.