SEATTLE – Junior Robert Pehl singled home the go-ahead run in a five-run eighth innings as the sixth-ranked Husky baseball team rallied Tuesday night at Husky Ballpark to beat Grand Canyon University, 8-7.
The Huskies (33-11-1), coming off a 21-17 slugfest-win Sunday over Utah, had five hits off three Antelopes’ pitchers to complete a comeback from a 7-3 deficit entering the eighth inning that was as much as five runs after five innings.
GCU (25-20) took a four-run lead into the bottom of eighth after tacking on a run in the top of the inning on a two-out, infield single by Matt Haggerty that scored Josh Meyer from third. But an inauspicious infield single by Branden Berry started the game-changing rally for the resilient Huskies
The next batter Alex Schmidt hit a tailing double to left-center field that scored Berry all the way from first. After Ryan Wiggins fouled out, Will Sparks was hit by a pitch and Andrew Ely walked to load the bases and put the tying run on first.
Pinch hitter Austin Rei, coming off a 5 for 6 day against Utah, delivered a two-run double into the right-center field gap that put the winning run at second and the tying run at third.
Erik Forgione promptly laid down a would-be squeeze bunt that allowed Ely to score and turned into a base hit when nobody covered first base.
Pehl finished off the scoring by banging a single through the hole between third and short that scored Rei and gave the Huskies the 8-7 lead.
Troy Rallings, who pitched the final 2 and 2/3 innings to get the win yesterday, retired the Antelopes in order in the ninth to pick up his team-high eighth save.
Will Ballowe (4-1) pitched 1 and 2/3 innings to pick up the win. Jaren Drummond (0-2) faced three batters but did not record and out in the 8th and took the loss for GCU.
The ultimate result looked like it might not happen early in the ballgame. After Huskies’ starter Henry Baker sailed through the first two innings, Grand Canyon roughed him up for four runs and chased him from the game. The Antelopes got on the board on a fielder’s choice out and Paul Panaccione followed with a run-scoring triple. Chad De La Guerra ended Baker’s day with a long two-run homer to right field for his third home run of the season.
Washington got on the board in the fourth to cut the lead to 4-1 on Berry’s first home run of the season. His shot to left center was the Huskies’ Pac-12-leading 24th of the year.
The Antelopes upped their lead to 6-1 in the fifth on a two-out, two-run single by De La Guerra. Both runs were unearned as they came after a fielding error by pitch Dae Yang Kim.
The Huskies got two runs back in the sixth to cut the lead to 6-3. Wiggins had a bases-loaded single to score one run and Sparks knocked home the other run on a sacrifice fly.
Washington pounded out 12 hits, with Matt Jackson and Berry the only Huskies to collect more than one.
The Huskies take a well-deserved day off on Tuesday and return to action on Thursday for the first of three games against Bethune-Cookman. Game one is scheduled to start at 5:00 p.m.
#6 Washington 8, Grand Canyon 7
GCU 004 020 010 –- 7 10 0
WASH 000 102 050 –- 8 12 2