LOS ANGELES – It is March Madness indeed. And the Huskies are hoping the madness does not stop in April.
Washington scored five times in the 14th inning to beat USC, 8-3, Sunday at Dedeaux Field to sweep the Trojans and run its win streak to 10 consecutive games. The Huskies finished March 16-1 and are 17-1 over their last 18 games.
“It was a great team win and a great weekend,” said Huskies’ coach Lindsay Meggs. “I’m happy for our guys. We found a way to wear them down and get the victory.”
The Huskies increased their lead in the Pac-12 standings to two games after UCLA lost in 10 innings to Arizona State Sunday.
With USC (13-13, 3-6) celebrating the 40th anniversary of its historic stadium, Washington (20-5-1) ruined the party by sending 10 batters to the plate and capitalizing on three USC errors to break open a tight game.
After USC reliever Kyle Davis held the Huskies in check from the eighth innings to the 13th,
Andrew Ely was hit by a Sean Adler pitch to open the 14th and Robert Pehl followed with a walk. Jack Meggs laid down a sacrifice bunt in front of the plate, but reliever Brent Wheatley dropped the ball allowing all the runners to reach safely.
Branden Berry opened the floodgates and broke the 3-3 deadlock with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly for the first out. The Huskies followed with four-consecutive hits to bust the game wide open. Trevor Mitsui, Matt Jackson, Austin Rei and Erik Forgione all hit singles to left field that led to runs coming across the plate and giving UW the 8-3 advantage.
Brandon Choate (2-0), who came into the ballgame in the 13th inning, mowed down USC in the 14th to earn the win.
Four Husky relievers combined to give up five hits and no earned runs in 8 and 1/3 innings of work.
UW won despite leaving 15 runners on the bases and facing its first deficit of the series.
If not for a spectacular catch by Bishop in the seventh inning, the game might not have even reached extra innings. With the score knotted at 3-3 in the seventh, Omar Cotto drilled a shot to right-center field that was headed over the fence. Bishop ran full speed to his left and leaped up at the last second to snatch the ball before it cleared the wall and preserve the tie.
“I’ll go on record as saying it was as good of a catch I’ve ever seen in a college baseball game,” said Meggs, who is in his 20th year of coaching. “Not only did it keep the score where it was, it gave us a shot of adrenaline and momentum.”
USC took its first lead of the series and did something that had not been done all season long to Husky starter Jeff Brigham in the third inning. The Trojans took the 2-0 advantage, tagging Brigham with multiple earned runs in a start.
Vohn Bozoian got things started in the second with a lead-off single. No. 9 hitter Reggie Southall followed with a four-pitch walk and lead-off hitter Omar Cotto sacrificed both runners over. Garrett Stubbs grounded out to score one run and Timmy Robinson followed with a two-out double to make it 2-0.
The Huskies responded in the top of the fourth inning to cut the Trojans’ lead in half and chase starter Nigel Nootbaar from the game. After getting the first two outs, Nootbaar walked the number eight and nine hitters Rei and Forgione on eight pitches, Braden Bishop followed with a RBI single that scored Rei and chased Nootbar from the game.
Reliever Kyle Twomey came into the game to retire Ely and keep the score 2-1 momentarily.
The Huskies took the 3-2 lead one inning later in the fifth on a 2-run opposite field home run by Mitsui. With two outs and Pehl on second base, Mitsui drove Twomey’s offering into the wind blowing from left to right around the right field pole for his second homer this season. It was the Huskies only extra-base hit out of 15 hits.
Mitsui ended up 3-for-7 on the day with 2 RBIs and has now reached base safely in all 22 games he has played.
The Huskies maintained its lead until the sixth when USC tied it up at 3-3 and chased Brigham from the game. After hitting AJ Ramirez with his 79th pitch of the day to put runners at first and second with two outs, Brigham was pulled in favor of Trevor Dunlap.
Dunlap gave up an infield single to Blake Lacey that bounced off the glove of sprawling third baseman Alex Schmidt to allow Kevin Swick to score.
Brigham finished the day giving up a season-high three earned runs on six hits. He struck out three and walked one batter.
Besides Mitsui, Pehl had three hits (3-for-5). Rei had two hits and Ely also had two hits to extend his hitting streak to 16 games.
Washington returns home this week and will host Oregon for three games at Husky Ballpark. All three games will be televised by the Pac-12 Network.
Washington 8, USC 3 (14 innings)
WASH 000 120 000 000 05 –- 8 15 2
USC 002 001 000 000 00 –- 3 11 3
Jeff Brigham, Trevor Dunlap (6), Troy Rallings (10), Will Ballowe (13), Brandon Choate (13) and Austin Rei. Nigel Nootbaar, Kyle Twomey (4), James Guillen (7), Kyle Davis (8), Sean Adler (14), Brent Wheatley (14), Jeff Paschke (14) and Garrett Stubbs. W – Choate (2-0). L – Adler (2-1). Sv – none. HR – Trevor Mitsui (2). 3B – none. 2B – Timmy Robinson. Time – 4:23. Attendance – 806.