OXFORD, Miss. — Washington’s season was pushed to the brink on Sunday at the Oxford NCAA baseball regional.
After being sent to the loser’s bracket with a 2-1 loss to host Mississippi (43-18) earlier in the day, No. 14 Washington staved off elimination with a 4-2 victory over Georgia Tech Sunday night at Oxford-University Stadium.
With the win, Washington (41-16-1) advanced to the regional championship round for a rematch with the 12th-ranked Rebels today at noon Pacific. The Huskies need to win to force a winner-take-all game at 5 p.m.
“We’re right there, and if we can play defense like we have all year, pitch like we have all year and get that one knock that we didn’t get earlier today, I think we can beat these guys,” second baseman Andrew Ely said.
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Washington used timely hitting and a group effort from its pitching staff to eliminate the 25th-ranked Yellow Jackets (37-27). The Huskies finished with eight hits — two of them coming with runners in scoring position — while Jared Fisher, Brandon Choate and Trevor Dunlap combined to limit Tech to one earned run on five hits.
Choate (4-1) relieved Fisher with one out in the fifth and threw two-thirds of an inning to get the win. Tech starter Matthew Grimes (5-3) was pegged with the loss after surrendering four runs on six hits in six innings while striking out five.
Washington’s offense continued to scuffle early as Tech led 2-0 through the first two innings, but Ely drew the Huskies even with one swing in the third, belting a two-run homer to right. It was Washington’s first home run of the tournament.
“I got a 3-2 right-down-the-middle pitch that I was able to hit well,” Ely said. “I think that let our guys settle in a little bit, too, because we were pressing the first couple of innings.”
The Huskies took the lead for good in the sixth on Robert Pehl’s RBI single. Chris Baker plated Branden Berry with a ground out later in the inning to give the Huskies an insurance run.
Washington used five pitchers Sunday, leaving coach Lindsay Meggs unsure of who will get the ball against Ole Miss.
“We’re tired and we’re a little disappointed that we weren’t able to win the first game, but we do get to play tomorrow,” Meggs said. “I think a little bit of sleep, a little bit of rest and a little bit of energy when we wake up in the morning, and we’re ready to get back here and find a way to put some runs on the board early and try to put some pressure on them.”
The Huskies cut into the Rebels’ two-run lead with an RBI single from Pehl in the seventh and got runners to second and third later in the inning. But Aaron Greenwood came on in relief of starter Christian Trent with one out and fanned pinch-hitter Ryan Wiggins before getting Erik Forgione to line out to strand the runners.