SALT LAKE CITY – Husky ace Tyler Davis threw a career-high eight innings and picked up his 10th win of the season as Washington beat Utah 11-1 Saturday at Smith’s Field to clinch its eighth Pac-12 series in eight tries.
The win made Davis the Huskies’ 14th 10-game winner in team history – the first since Tim Lincecum won 12 in 2006. Davis has now won each of his last eight starts and has allowed two or fewer earned runs in 10-straight starts.
Seventh-ranked Washington (31-11-1, 18-5) earned its 18th Pac-12 win of the season, the most since 20 as a member of the old Pac-12 North in 1997. The Huskies have a one-game lead over Oregon State, who plays at California later today.
The game was close through the first six innings, as UW had just two hits and a 2-0 lead on Utah (13-27, 3-17) starter Zach Adams (0-4). But, the Huskies busted it open in the final three innings scoring nine times and collecting 13 hits.
The Huskies took the 1-0 lead in the first thanks in large part to Braden Bishop’s legs. Bishop led off the game with a single and was sacrificed to second by Andrew Ely. With Robert Pehl at bat, Bishop swiped third for his team-leading 15th steal of the season and came around to score one pitch later on a wild pitch.
Alex Schmidt made it 2-0 in the second with his second home run of the series down the right field line. His solo shot was his fifth of the season and stayed just fair inside the foul pole. He moved into a tie with Pehl for fourth in the Pac-12 with five home runs.
The Huskies did not get their next hit until the seventh inning, but were able to make them count with five that led to three runs. Trevor Mitsui led off the inning with a single and Schmidt followed with his second hit of the game. After Austin Rei was retired, Jack Meggs delivered a double to left-center field that reached the wall and scored both Mitsui and Schmidt.
Erik Forgione followed with a single and was able to take second as Meggs tried to score but was thrown out at home. After Bishop walked, Ely made the score 5-0 with a single that plated Forgione.
The 5-0 advantage proved to be plenty for Davis, who allowed his only run in the seventh on a sacrifice fly. Davis ended up giving up seven hits and two walks, while striking out five Utah batters over eight innings.
Washington added an insurance run in the eighth on a Rei RBI single and then busted the game open in the ninth with five runs. Will Sparks had a 2-run single, while Mitsui, Chris Baker and Kyle London all produced RBI singles.
Eight of nine Huskies’ starters had hits in the game, led by Mitsui with three. Schmidt and Forgione each had two hits.
The Huskies will go for the sweep against the Utes Sunday at 11:00 a.m. PT. Jeff Brigham (5-2, 2.49) will take the hill for UW and will face Utah right-hander Dalton Carroll (1-3, 4.91).
#7 Washington 11, Utah 1
WASH 110 000 315 –- 11 15 1
UTAH 000 000 100 –- 1 8 0
Tyler Davis, Alex Nesbitt (9) and Austin Rei. Zach Adams, Josh Chapman (7), Hunter Rodriguez (9), Luke West (9) and Konnor Armijo. W – Davis (10-1). L – Adams (0-4). Sv – none. HR – UW, Alex Schmidt (5). 3B – none. 2B – UW, Jack Meggs, Erik Forgione; Utah, Cody Scaggari, TJ Bennett. LOB: UW 8, Utah 9. Time – 2:45. Attendance – 974.