Junior third baseman Michael Weber drew a bases loaded walk off UW reliever Brian Pearl to score sophomore Jay Ponciano in the bottom of the tenth inning and delivered a thrilling Pac 10 victory for the Cougs over the Huskies Friday night.
In front of what this blogger can only assume was a raucous Wazzu crowd, Cougar ace Matt Way started on fire and carried a no hitter two outs into the sixth inning before giving up a single to Washington DH Doug Cherry (insert inappropriate joke here). Way continued to cruise and took a 2-0 lead into the top of the eighth before things began to unravel.
The Huskies chased Way with three consecutive hits capped off by a pinch-hit two-run double by freshman Andy Bethel. Jeremy Johnson came into relieve Way and did not fare much better, hitting a batter before giving up a two-run triple to Husky senior Jake Rife.
Trailing 4-2 heading into the bottom of the eighth the Cougs were able to rally. Jay Ponciano tied the game with an RBI single and Garry (Don't call me Kuykendall)Kuykendall scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch by the aforementioned Brian Pearl.
Jeremy Johnson struggled with his control in the ninth, walking two Huskies before giving up the tying run on an Andy Bethel single. Johnson fared much better in the tenth, sitting UW down in order and striking out Husky star Kyle Conley to retire the side.
Brian Pearl had control problems of his own in the tenth. He walked WSU freshman Derek Jones after giving up a lead off single to Jay Ponciano. With two outs, he hit Jared Prince with a 3-2 pitch to set up the "Walk-off walk" by Michael Weber.
This was an exciting one to watch on the gametracker. If you haven't tried it out yet, it's worth a shot. It has little animations for each play, making you feel like slightly less of dork for watching a gametracker of a college baseball game. Okay, back to baseball.
What a HUGE win for the Cougs. They can finish no lower than second in the Pac 10. As Donnie Marbut said today in his interview with Ian Furness, no 2nd place Pac 10 team has ever been left out of the postseason. Dreams of a share of the conference title seem to be fading fast, as ASU leads UCLA 2-0 in the bottom of the eighth.
Husky Killer of the Game: Studly senior starting pitcher Matt Way. Showed once again why he is one of the top pitchers in the nation, fanning 13 Husky batters and giving up just four hits in 7 1/3 innings.
The Cougs continue their series tommorrow afternoon at 2pm. If you are in Pullman, I fully expect you to be there.