TEMPE, Ariz. – Andrew Ely couldn’t remember the last time he hit a game-winning home run. What he did know is that Arizona State reliever Ryan Burr would want to get ahead of him in the count in the 11th inning.
Sure enough, Burr threw Ely a 95-mph fastball on the first pitch and the Huskies’ junior knew exactly what to do with the pitch. He deposited the ball over the right-center field wall to give his team a 4-3 lead, which would ultimately prove to be the final score.
“I usually try to stay through the ball. I’m more of a singles and doubles hitter,” Ely said after hitting his second home run of the season.
“But I got the pitch I was looking for and we needed it in that situation.”
The Huskies’ (12-5-1, 2-1) victory Sunday gave them the series win over Arizona State (9-8, 1-2) 2-1 in the final time UW will ever play at Packard Stadium. It marked the first time since 2004 that the Huskies have won a series in Tempe.
UW returns home winners in nine of its last 10 games, but after giving up a late lead, it didn’t look promising for them.
Arizona State trailed 3-1 entering the ninth inning but scored twice off a bullpen that had not yielded a run in the ninth inning this season to force extra frames.
Trevor Dunlap (1-1), who entered the game in the eighth inning with two outs, couldn’t hold the lead in the ninth. But he would pitch perfectly in the 10th and 11th innings to earn the win.
Christopher Beall led off the ninth with a home run to right off Dunlap to bring ASU within one run of the Huskies. Drew Stankiewicz followed with a walk, was sacrificed to second and advanced to third on a single by Johnny Sewald. Jake Peevyhouse, a defensive replacement in the top of the ninth, followed with a deep sacrifice fly to center field that easily scored Stankiewicz and tied the score up at 3-3.
Through the eighth inning, four Washington pitchers had combined to hold Arizona in check.
Starter Jeff Brigham gave up just one run – his fifth start allowing one or less runs – but did not figure in the decision. He labored through five innings, giving up six hits, one earned run and striking out three without walking a batter.
It looked like the Huskies were going to get all the offense they would need early in the game. For a second-straight day, Washington scored in the first inning to spot its starter a cushion.
Lead-off hitter Braden Bishop reached on a fielding error by third baseman Dalton Dinatale, who had two errors in last night’s six-run eighth inning. After an Ely sacrifice bunt, Robert Pehl brought Bishop home on a double over Dinatale’s head. Branden Berry knocked Pehl home with a single up the middle to make the score 2-0.
Brigham could not hold the two-run cushion for long as Arizona State responded in the bottom of the first with a run of its own to cut the deficit to 2-1.
RJ Ybarra drove in Nathaniel Causey with a two-out single, but it could have been worse for UW. Earlier in the inning Johnny Sewald was gunned out at home on a beautiful throw by left fielder Brian Wolfe that catcher Austin Rei caught on the fly and absorbed the collision at home for the out.
UW extended its lead back to two runs in the top of the second inning without the benefit of a hit. Rei led off with a walk, was sacrificed to second and took third on a throwing error by shortstop Colby Woodmansee, also allowing Erik Forgione to reach safely. After Forgione was picked off of first base, Rei was able to score on a wild pitch with Bishop at bat to make it 3-1.
The game would stay that way until the ninth.
Washington managed only three hits over the final nine innings of the game and was outhit 10-5. No UW hitter had more than one hit.
“I think today’s game really showed the character of our guys,” said coach Lindsay Meggs. “It’s tough to give it up in the ninth and have the energy and strength to fight back and win it in extra innings.
“I believe that kind of tells you about the guys we have and the fight they have.”
Washington returns home for a big week of action. The Huskies will take on Portland Tuesday, March 18 at Tacoma’s Cheney Stadium before debuting brand new Husky Ballpark in a weekend series against Arizona.
Washington 3, Arizona State 3 (11 innings)
WASH 210 000 000 01 –- 3 4 1
ASU 100 000 002 00 –- 3 10 3
Jeff Brigham, Will Ballowe (6), Troy Rallings (7), Trevor Dunlap (8) and Austin Rei. Darin Gillies, Eder Erives (7), Eric Melbostad (7), Ryan Burr (9) and RJ Ybarra. W – Dunlap (1-1). L – Burr (1-2). Sv – None. HR – UW, Andrew Ely (2). ASU, Christopher Beall (1). 3B – UW, Austin Rei. ASU, Drew Stankiewicz. 2B – UW, Robert Pehl. Time – 3:21. Attendance – 2,566.