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Bats rebound as UW storms back to level series against WSU

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Bats rebound as UW storms back to level series against WSU

Dalton Chandler celebrates as he comes off the field after scoring Washington's first run of the game against USC on March 21, 2021 at Husky Ballpark. The UW tied up its series with WSU and looks to cap off a disappointing season with a series win Saturday.

Tyson Guerrero hasn’t received much run support. 

In what may be his only season wearing purple and gold, Guerrero has received an average of 3.6 runs per start. However, in his past five starts, including four losses to New Mexico, California, No. 10 Oregon, and No. 6 Arizona, the junior has only received an average of 1.6 runs per start.

So perhaps it’s fitting that in his final start of the season — against cross-state rivals Washington State, Guerrero’s former team — the Washington baseball team finally gave its starter the run support he’d been missing.

A day after managing just four hits and a run in the series opener, Washington’s bats exploded in Game 2, beating Washington State, 14-7. The Huskies combined for 14 runs on 15 hits, with every member of the starting lineup save one reaching base. It’s the second most runs Washington has scored in a game this season, and the most the team has racked up in a win. 

Washington struck first, pushing a run across in the top of the first against WSU starter Zane Mills (5-5). However, Guerrero was the one who found himself in the first true jam of the game. 

Making what may be his final start in a Washington uniform, the junior gave up three consecutive singles to start the bottom of the third. Guerrero got a double play to seemingly limit the damage, but a base hit back up the middle from junior Jacob McKeon plated another, putting the Huskies down 2-1.

It didn’t take long for the UW to pick its pitcher up though. Washington loaded the bases against Mills in the top of the fourth as a hit batsman, a double from senior Ramon Bramasco, and a five-pitch walk brought junior Braiden Ward to the plate. The speedster singled to center, moving everyone up a base and tying the game 2-2.

But Washington’s hit parade wasn’t finished. Mills surrendered an 0-2 single to junior Michael Petrie to plate two more runs for the Huskies (20-29, 6-10 Pac-12) before Ward stole third — his conference-leading 34th of the year. Two more singles from redshirt freshmen Preston Viltz and Will Simpson added two more runs for the UW before Mills was finally removed from the game.

His replacement, junior Dakota Hawkins, didn’t fare much better. The WSU righty immediately surrendered a single to junior Christian Jones, scoring Viltz. The inning almost continued too, as Bramasco, making his second at-bat of the inning with two outs and Jones on second, lined a single up the middle, but Jones was thrown out at home to end the frame. 

Washington scored six runs in the fourth inning off seven hits and a walk. It’s the most runs the UW has managed in a single frame since it plated six in the top of the sixth against UCLA in Washington’s 7-6 upset win on April 2.

More importantly, the bats’ outburst proved more than enough for Guerrero (3-3). The junior gave up a run in the bottom of the fourth before pitching a clean fifth and leaving the game in the sixth., Guerrero went 5 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out two to get his third win of the season.

The Huskies weren’t done with the Cougars (25-23, 12-17 Pac-12) yet though. Washington tacked on two more in the top of the fifth, and Ward’s RBI-double in the sixth. Four runs in the top of the seventh, headlined by a dropped fly ball with the bases loaded, ended the scoring for the UW.

As a team, Washington hit .349 on Friday night. The team also took advantage of their scoring opportunities, going 12-for-26 with runners on base, and 9-for-18 with men in scoring position. The Huskies also went a perfect 5-for-5 with a runner on third and less than two outs.

Senior Ramon Bramasco led the way, going 3-for-5 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored. Simpson led the team with three RBIs and a multi-hit game, while Ward and Petrie — hitting in the eight and ninth spots in the batting order respectively — both went 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Junior Noah Hsue, who entered Friday’s contest with a four-game hitting streak, didn’t get a hit but did draw a walk and scored once to stretch his on-base streak to five.

While Guerrero didn’t need the extra runs, Washington’s bullpen certainly didn’t mind. Junior Dylan Lamb gave up two runs, one earned in 1 1/3 innings pitched while junior Stefan Raeth surrendered another run in the bottom of the eighth to bring the final score to 14-7, but hurled a clean ninth to end the game.

Washington will return to the diamond for the series decider and its final game of the season on Saturday, May 29. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Reach senior staff reporter Andy Yamashita at Twitter: @ANYamashita

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