SEATTLE – Andrew Ely delivered a walk-off, bases-loaded double that scored three runs in the bottom of the 10th inning to rally 14th-ranked Washington to an improbable 5-4 victory over 19th-ranked Oregon and set off a wild celebration on the infield of Husky Ballpark Sunday.
Oregon (22-10, 7-5) scored twice in the top of the 10th to take a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the inning, but the Huskies (22-6-1, 10-2) just would not roll over and play dead.
Alex Schmidt led off the 10th with a walk and Austin Rei singled to put runners at first and second. Erik Forgione was offering himself up with a sacrifice bunt, but losing pitcher Jake Reed (2-1) could not find the strike zone and walked him on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases with nobody out.
Reliever Darrell Hunter entered the game and got Braden Bishop to roll into a fielder’s choice with third baseman Mitchell Tolman getting the force out of Schmidt at home to set up Ely’s heroics. After taking the first pitch for a ball, Ely hooked a Hunter fastball into the right-field corner. Pinch-runner Chris Baker and Forgione scored easily and Bishop slid face first across home plate way before the throw reached the catcher to send the Huskies home with the victory.
“You dream to get in those situations,” said Ely, still wearing the remnants of a shaving cream pie in the face he received during a post-game interview with the Pac-12 Networks.
“I’m glad it could happen.”
It nearly didn’t happen for the Huskies on Sunday. In the 10th, Oregon’s Austin Grebeck led off with a double down the right-field line and was sacrificed to second. After a hit batter put runners on the corners, pinch-hitter Steven Packard delivered a 2-2 pitch from Troy Rallings through the hole on the right side of the infield to put the Ducks ahead 3-2.
Oregon added another run on a two-out single by A.J. Balta to make it 4-2, but once again, the Huskies proved no lead is safe against them.
“They scored two in the 10th and I don’t think anyone in the stands or the guys in the dugout thought we couldn’t come back,” said Ely. “We just continued to push.
“I think resiliency is the key word here.”
The Huskies ran their record to 4-0 in extra-inning games and 6-1 in one-run games.
Long forgotten are the pre-season polls where the Huskies were picked to finish 10th out of 11 teams by the Pac-12 coaches. The Huskies remain a game ahead in the Pac-12 standings at 10-2 over 9-3 Oregon State. They have now won 19 of their last 21 games.
Forgotten in the Huskies’ comeback were the performances by today’s starting pitchers. The Huskies’ Jeff Brigham and Oregon’s Jeff Gold locked horns in a classic matchup of staff aces.
The Ducks got on the board first, scoring twice in the second inning off Brigham. Tolman led off the inning with a double and was sacrificed to second. After a walk to J.B. Bryant put runners on the corners, Brigham unleashed a wild pitch that scored Tolman.
Oregon added another run after Nick Catalano, who reached on a walk, broke from first base drawing the throw from the catcher Rei. Bryant, the runner at third, broke for home when Rei threw the ball and was able to score when the throw went off the second baseman Ely’s glove.
The Huskies’ bats were quiet until the sixth inning when they strung together four-consecutive hits and tied the score 2-2. Bishop’s single got things started and ended Gold’s bid at a no-hitter. It was also UW’s first hit since the third inning of Saturday’s game – a span of 12 innings.
Ely followed Bishop with a single to extend his hit streak to 19 games. Robert Pehl smashed a single over the head of the third baseman to drive home Bishop from second and cut the lead to 2-1. Brian Wolfe capped the scoring with a double off the wall in right field that scored Ely.
The Huskies had hits in only two innings all day – the sixth and the 10th.
Rallings was the winning pitcher and improved to 3-0 on the season despite giving up two runs in the 10th.
Brigham went six innings for the Huskies, giving up three hits and two earned runs. He was uncharacteristically wild allowing four bases on balls and hitting a batter, but also struck out four.
Washington will take Monday off before returning to action Tuesday against Seattle U. The teams will play at Bannerwood Field in Bellevue at 6:00 p.m.
The Huskies host Stanford in a three-game set starting Friday.
#14 Washington 5, #19 Oregon 4
ORE 020 000 000 2 –- 4 7 2
WASH 000 002 000 3 –- 5 6 0
Jeff Brigham, Will Ballowe (7), Troy Rallings (9) and Austin Rei. Jeff Gold, Brian Cleavinger (9), Jake Reed (9), Darrell Hunter (10) and Shaun Chase. W – Reed (3-0). L – Rallings (2-1). Sv – none. HR – none. 3B – none. 2B – UO, Mitchell Tolman (2), Austin Grebeck; UW, Brian Wolfe, Andrew Ely. Time – 3:05. Attendance – 1,777.