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Washington comes up short in extra innings defeat

Washington comes up short in extra innings defeat

Will Simpson prepares to swing during Washington's game versus Arizona at Husky Ballpark on April 3, 2022. Simpson fouled out in the Sunday's eighth inning

Looking for a heroic comeback win over nationally ranked Arizona on Sunday, the Washington baseball team was less than a basepath away. 

With runners on first and second base and the game tied at six, the Huskies — who had not held a lead all game — had a chance to walk it off in the ninth inning. As freshman Colby Wallace knocked a single into right field, redshirt sophomore Michael Snyder was sent to round third base with the victory in sight. 

But Snyder, realizing the throw would beat him to the plate, slipped while retreating to third base and was thrown out diving back to the bag. The Huskies came up empty in the inning, and the game was extended into extras. 

After blanks in the tenth inning, Arizona reclaimed the lead with an RBI-single, and this time Washington could not come back. 

Sunday’s 7-6 defeat closed out a series sweep by Arizona. 

Following the loss, head coach Lindsay Meggs expressed pride for the effort, but acknowledged the lost opportunity for a standout win. 

“I was thrilled with the way we fought back,” Meggs said. “Really had a chance to win and probably should have won, so that’s a tough one.” 

The Huskies (14-13, 5-7 Pac-12) were tasked with playing catch-up from the early innings, as sophomore starting pitcher Case Matter walked four Wildcats batters to prime a run and loaded bases for the deadly Arizona lineup in the top of the second. 

A two-out double cleared the bases, and put the Huskies in an early 4-0 hole. Matter left the game after just 2 ⅓ innings, allowing only two hits, but giving up five walks leading to the four runs. 

Redshirt freshman reliever Josh Emanuels entered the game, and Arizona was held scoreless in the following four innings, allowing UW to chip away at the lead. 

The comeback attempt began for Washington in the bottom of the second inning, as redshirt senior Josh Urps produced an RBI groundout. It continued in the third, with an RBI single from Snyder to cut it to 4-2. 

A sac-fly from redshirt sophomore Will Simpson put the Huskies within one run in the fifth inning, but with a chance to take the lead, two runners were left on base and the lead persisted for the Wildcats (21-7, 8-3 Pac-12). 

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Unfortunately for the Huskies, the missed chances made up a pattern, as they were bogged down by 13 runners left on base despite outhitting the Wildcats for the second consecutive game, 13-9. 

In the seventh inning, the Arizona engine finally reignited with a 2-RBI triple, distancing the Wildcats with a 6-3 lead and appearing to erase UW’s comeback efforts. 

But the eighth inning that followed saw the Huskies finally tie the game, after RBIs from Wallace, junior McKay Barney, and freshman Coby Morales evening the score at six. 

With runners on the corners, Simpson had a chance to give UW its coveted first lead of the game, but expressed his frustration after harmlessly fouling out, slamming his bat to the turf. 

It added two more to the left on base tally for the Huskies, preceding the brutal bottom of the ninth which saw Washington’s best opportunity to seize the win in the tie game. 

Freshman AJ Guerrero began the frame with a single, followed by a Snyder fielder’s choice and base hit by freshman Cam Clayton, setting up the fateful out as Snyder tried returning to third base on the base hit by Wallace. 

“We tried to hold him late,” Meggs said. “Because it was slick he tried to stop….when he tried to get back up he slipped.” 

It proved to be the dagger for the Huskies in a game full of missed opportunities, as UW came up empty in the ninth, setting up the Arizona win in the 11th. 

Despite climbing back against the Pac-12’s leading team, the Huskies are left with the sour taste of a home sweep, and will go back to the drawing board as they continue the conference slate. 

Washington will travel to Berkeley to face Cal in a three-game set, beginning Friday, April 8 at 7 p.m. 

Reach reporter Ethan Kilbreath at Twitter: @EthanArles

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