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League-series finale curse broken

After having dropped the series finale in each of its past three conference matchups, the Husky men's baseball team turned the tide and shut down Cal 11-3 in game three yesterday afternoon.

The UW victory secured the series 2-1 for league-play-weary Washington (6-6 Pac-10, 28-13 overall), which captured the opener 16-3 Friday but fell 6-3 the following afternoon.

The Huskies broke yesterday's scoreless game open during a six-run third inning, when a walk to lead-off hitter Brent Lillibridge forced in a run, shortstop Tila Reynolds singled in another run and right-fielder Mike Wagner belted a three-run double. Third-baseman John Otness finished the offensive drive when he sent home Wagner with a single.

"We got to their starter, and we went through two pitchers that inning," said UW left-fielder Chad Boudon, who belted four home runs during the series. "We focused in and hit anything that they brought to the plate."

The Bears (9-9, 25-21) put their first run on the board in the top of the fourth when Connor Jackson tagged up with the bases loaded on a Jeff Dragicevich sacrifice fly.

The Huskies responded in the bottom of the inning when Greg Isaacson cleared the right-field fence with a solo shot. Boudon also went deep an inning later, boosting the Washington advantage to 9-1 with a two-run round-tripper, his 17th homer of the season.

A seventh-inning Isaacson stand-up double that sent home DH Nick Batkoski, and an Aaron Hathaway run-scoring single that dribbled under the glove of the Cal shortstop accounted for the final two UW runs.

Cal catcher Chris Grossman lofted an 0-1 pitch over the right-field wall to pick up the Bears' second run, while Cal first-baseman James Holder advanced to third on an errant pick-off attempt, completing the journey home on a Jeremy Burchett single to notch the final run of the game.

Bear starter Mike Padgett tamed the aggressive Huskies at the plate in game two, however, allowing only two unearned runs in eight innings of work. Washington managed to take the lead in the first, when Lillibridge reached when the Cal third-baseman bobbled the ball and crossed home on an Isaacson single after swiping second.

The Huskies fought back for a pair of runs in the ninth -- aided by a Lillibrige double and Hathaway and Isaacson singles -- but the Cal closer cut the rally short by expertly fielding a Kyle Larsen grounder.

The Bears' pitching staff took a 22-hit beating by UW bats in the opener, with junior transfer Boudon connecting for three homers as the Huskies set the tone with a seven-run first inning.

UW hurler Sean White earned his sixth-straight win -- which also included a five-run Husky fifth -- while Cal went through six pitchers during the matchup.

The series victory leaves the Huskies confident in their potential to move up the ranks in league standings.

"This weekend helps us to close in on the conference leaders," said UW coach Ken Knutson.

"Baseball is about who pitches the best, and consistently -- as long as we do that, we will be right there in the thick of things."

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