The Washington baseball team’s second game against Seattle University (16-16) this season was everything the first one wasn’t.
When the Huskies (19-15) first took on their crosstown rival in late February, their bats were seemingly still in winter hibernation, and the UW lost 5-1.
But Tuesday, the Husky offense came alive in a rain-soaked affair, leading the UW to a 6-0 victory.
Additionally, the pitching and defense came through time and again for the Huskies, who overcame three errors to preserve the shutout.
Starting pitcher Austin Voth (5-1) earned the win for the Huskies despite pitching only four innings. But what Voth lacked in innings pitched he made up for in clutch performances.
“I just wanted to focus on throwing strikes and let my defense work,” Voth said. “I knew they would get outs for me and that’s what happened. I just didn’t give up.“
Voth made up for a pair of errors in the first and second innings, both committed by right fielder Michael Camporeale, who twice dropped the rain-slicked baseball to allow singles to turn into extra bases.
Both errors put two runners in scoring position with zero or one out, but each time, Voth got the UW out of the jam without allowing a run.
“Had we come into the dugout in the bottom of the first down two to nothing — which could have happened — they would have had an awful lot of momentum,” head coach Lindsay Meggs said. “So that was huge for us. To get out of that without giving up any runs gave us a lot of momentum.”
After scoring a run in the first, the Huskies did the rest of their damage in the third inning, which saw the team bat around the lineup.
Caleb Brown started the hit parade with a leadoff double. Then the Redhawks contributed a pair of run-scoring wild pitches, and the rout was on.
“We’d been waiting awhile for our bats to break out,” Brown said. “We hadn’t busted out our bats like that for a while and getting a big inning like that … was more of a relief than anything else.”
Voth shut down any attempt to respond to the UW’s big inning with an eight-pitch bottom of the third, including a strikeout of pinch hitter Bryndon Ecklund.
It was a cathartic inning for a Washington team that has been struggling to string together hits of late. The Huskies entered the game having lost eight of their past 10 games but are now on a small but significant two-game winning streak.
“I think that helps guys understand that [hitting] can be contagious,” Meggs said. “The guy in front of me gets one, then I get one and the guy behind me gets one. We have enough good hitters in our lineup [that] if we don’t chase pitches, the guy behind you can get one too. So I thought that was a good sign for us.”
The Huskies got into another jam because of an error in the sixth inning, when a throw from second baseman Andrew Ely that should have started a double play sailed over shortstop Erik Forgione’s head, giving the Redhawks two baserunners with no outs.
But the Huskies escaped that jam, too, when reliever Nick Palewicz generated a double play and a groundout to get out of the inning.
Tied at one win apiece, the Huskies and Redhawks won’t get a chance to decide the series until May 22, when the rubber match will be held at Bannerwood Park.
Reach reporter Jacob Thorpe at email@example.com. Twitter: @Jacob_B_Thorpe
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