They were expected to sweep, and the No. 6 Washington baseball team (36-11-1, 19-5 Pac-12) didn’t disappoint, as it sent Bethune-Cookman (BCU) home empty handed on Saturday.
The UW won 4-0 on Friday and beat BCU 7-1 in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader, but the first game on Saturday was no landslide.
Freshman Jack Meggs rounded third and scored on a throwing error by BCU’s third baseman to secure a 5-4 extra-inning win for the UW. The game was tied at four going into the 11th inning, but centerfielder Braden Bishop’s attempted sacrifice was fired past the first baseman, clinching the series for the Huskies.
UW starter Tyler Davis didn’t factor into the decision in what could have been his 11th win of the season.
Davis hadn’t given up more than two runs in the past 10 starts, but was less than spectacular in the first game on Saturday. He struck out seven in eight innings, but gave up a season-high four runs on a career-high 10 hits.
“Nothing went wrong,” Davis said. “They just put good swings on the ball today. They put the ball where the defense wasn’t. The good thing is that we have a great bullpen, and I knew our offense was going to come through.”
A win would have moved Davis into a tie for second on the UW’s single-season wins list with Jake Kringen and Shawn Kohn. Tim Lincecum holds the record with 12 wins in the 2006 season.
Davis will get two more chances in the regular season to make his mark in the record book, but he has a solid shot at challenging Lincecum’s record with a playoff berth on the horizon for the Huskies.
BCU got to Davis early, scoring three runs in the first inning. The first two came on RBI singles, and the Wildcats executed a seamless delayed double steal to bring in the third. Designated hitter Jordan Thomas attempted to steal second, and as soon as UW catcher Austin Rei popped out of his crouch to throw to second, first baseman Eric Sams took off from third to steal home.
The Huskies came back to tie the game in the bottom of the second. Right fielder Branden Berry knocked in the first run with a single to left center. Second baseman Andrew Ely had an RBI of his own with a sac fly to center to score Berry, and left fielder Robert Pehl singled up the middle to tie the score at three.
Bishop robbed a go-ahead run from the Wildcats in the top of the third with a fully-extended diving catch in shallow center. Besides his diving catch, Bishop has robbed two homers so far this year, including one against USC which was No. 1 on SportsCenter’s Top 10 at the end of March.
Berry broke the tie in the third with a sac fly to center to score first baseman Trevor Mitsui from third, but BCU knotted the game again, scoring one run in the top of the sixth to spoil Davis’ chance at the win. The score would stay 4-4 until its dramatic end.
Junior Jeff Brigham led the Huskies to a 7-1 win in the second game, tossing six scoreless innings of four-hit ball with six strikeouts. The teams only played seven innings in the final game of the series.
“Jeff did a nice job at getting ahead of guys early on,” head coach Lindsay Meggs said. “When he does that, he’s really difficult. He can throw that put-away slider and do his thing. That was the difference for him today.”
The Huskies jumped all over BCU starter Keith Zuniga to start game two, lighting up the righty for seven runs, four earned, in the first four innings.
“We were just a little more patient than in the first game,” Meggs said. “We just wanted to make sure we didn’t take our foot off the gas. We played these guys as hard as we can play. We were grinding it out like we did all year.”
Designated hitter Brian Wolfe drove in the Huskies’ lone run in the first inning with a single up the middle.
Zuniga got into trouble in the second inning. He loaded up the bases, then hit Bishop with a pitch to force in the Huskies’ second run. Ely and Pehl each had RBI singles to right field to score the third and fourth runs, and Wolfe capped the rally with a sac fly to score Bishop.
BCU’s starter loaded up the bases again in the fourth and gave up a run on a fielder’s choice before the Wildcats went to their bullpen. Wolfe knocked in another run to put the Huskies up 7-0 before the inning was over.
The Wildcats loaded up the bases and scored a run on a walk from senior Zach Wright in the seventh, but the game was well out of reach.
The Huskies will put their seven-game winning streak on the line as they host Seattle University for a single game on Tuesday at 5 p.m.
Reach reporter Nick Bragg at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @SeattleBragg
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