There was a hint of postseason pressure for Washington in its regular-season finale Sunday. Riding a seasonlong four-game losing skid, the Huskies wanted to win.
And they did.
Starting Friday, the Huskies are convinced the postseason feel will be real.
Junior right-hander Jeff Brigham pitched seven sharp innings and UW ended the regular season with a 6-1 victory over UCLA before a crowd of 1,390 at Husky Ballpark.
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The Huskies were, however, hit with a surprising setback: In the eighth inning, the NCAA announced its 16 sites for regional postseason play — and the Huskies were not selected to host.
“Once again the West Coast gets slighted,” UW coach Lindsay Meggs said.
The Huskies (39-15), ranked No. 8 by Baseball America, finished second in the Pac-12 with a 21-9 record; it’s their best finish in conference play since 1998. Three Pac-12 teams were awarded a regional host last year; this year, only Pac-12 champion Oregon State will host a regional.
Cal Poly, the Big West Conference champion, is the only other West Coast team awarded a regional hosting bid. The Huskies were probably hurt most by their NCAA RPI ranking of 25.
“There’s so many quality programs out here,” Meggs said. “It surprises me, disappoints me, but we’re going to pack our bags, and wherever we go we’re going to be thrilled to be there.”
Washington has never hosted a regional tournament. There’s no doubt the Huskies will be among the 64 teams selected for postseason play when the NCAA announces the field at 9 a.m. Monday on ESPNU.
There’s no doubt, either, that UW’s road toward the College World Series just got tougher.
“This whole year we’ve been the underdog,” UW senior Brian Wolfe said, “so we’re not worried about it.”
Wolfe hit his fifth home run of the season in the fifth inning — and his first since March 29 — to give the Huskies a 6-0 lead and chase UCLA starter Cody Poteet (3-5). Freshman Chris Baker had a key two-run double in the fourth inning to spark the UW offense, which had gone 29 innings without a run during its four-game skid.
Sunday’s win was the first for Meggs over his alma mater and UW’s first against UCLA since 2008, snapping a 19-game losing streak to the Bruins (25-30, 12-18), the defending College World Series champion.
After losing two of three at top-ranked Oregon State a week earlier, Meggs sensed his players were “worn down emotionally” in the two losses to UCLA.
“So I give them credit for bouncing back today against a good pitcher and having a good feeling going in (to the postseason),” Meggs said.
Adam Jude: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @a_jude.