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Dawgs Offense Wakes Up, Blitzkrieg Mustangs In Dominant Form

*I just received an inch of snow at my place in the hour...doubtful but nothing official yet - SoS
Game 16: Today, March 13 5:00 PM vs. Portland, Husky Ballpark Gametracker | Video Link

Breakfast Links:

Game 15: Sunday, March 12th Gamecast | Box Score | Current Season Stats

(10-5) Washington - 10 | 12 | 3

(11-5) #26 Cal Poly - 5 | 9 | 0

W - Austin Voth (3-0) 5 IP | 3 R | 2 ER | 1 BB | 4 K | 74 pitches, 48 strikes

L - Kyle Breuggemann (2-1) 2.1 IP | 5 H | 4 ER | 1 BB | 1 HBP

The bats finally decided to join the party Sunday in the form of eight extra-base hits. They lead from the first pitch, acting like an entirely different team. Taking matters into their own hands, they aggressively applied the pressure this time, showing great resolve by bouncing back from a complete game shut-out in such fashion.

The bus ride home was looking like it would be twice as long as the initial trip down, yet now I would venture it was bittersweet. Washington just happened to be on the receiving end of some career-best pitching performances from a team emotionally fired up by their coach. If your UW you take that as a matter of pride.

Time will tell if Cal Poly Skipper Lee can keep his staff on such an emotional upswing. I'm betting we just saw something close to the best the Mustangs can do. They played great in all 3 phases of the game until Sunday, when their pitching broke down.

The Dawgs are now (7-2) in day games, (3-3) in night games, winning with their superior offensive depth, the very thing Cal Poly feared. Camporeale hit his 2nd HR to break the 8-way tie (8 players had one HR previously) and now leads the team, while Jayce Ray bounced back in a huge way with the glove, making an absolutely spectacular diving catch on the warning track in the 7th to help seal the victory. If not for that catch, Cal Poly scores more than the one run earlier in the frame; the Mustangs were held scoreless the rest of the way.

The high notes from Sunday should provide enough momentum to counteract the two losses, but they still they need to shore things up defensively, and minimize the free passes. Perform a little better in those area's, and they probably would have taken the series, winning game one. Shoulda, coulda, woulda; next game is Today, be there, for two NW rivals are visiting this week.

Do you like watching managers get ejected in a glorious meltdown for the team? Then read on...

Collegesplits finally have enough of a sample size to really start churning out the numbers. Here is the Washington team page, and they have seven batters, six pitchers with enough time (8 IP or 30 AB) logged to qualify. As the games go by, more and more of the team will be added to the list. As this is season-to-date stats, it will make an excellent weekly analysis post for the mid-week doldrums.

Washington is now No. 43 in the College Splits Rankings of Power (their terminology, not mine), and either received votes or are on the watch list of every major poll. The *ucks are No. 23 in the power ranks, and placed in the upper teens of all the major polls. Win two over them at Husky Ballpark and the Dawgs break the top 25...I just knocked on every piece of wood in my house. If we don't win Sunday this wouldn't be possible.

Pac-12 News flash: The conference as a whole has been on fire over the OOC schedule, going a combined (116-47) for a .712 win% as of this morning; if you take out Utah and go with the original Pac-10 they are a staggering (112-36) .757!

This is quickly becoming a rebuilding year for the Utes after tempering expectations following the 4-11 start. Who knows though, the conference is going to beat each other to a pulp (nine schools have 10+ wins already) and the Utes could surprise someone.

Game 16 Recap

The action was in the first 6 innings, so I'm going to jump right into the good stuff. In honor of the Dawgs pulling a 180 degree turn in plate discipline, I will go count crazy showing off their hard work.

Starting Lineup:

CF Jayce Ray

LF Joe Meggs

2B Robert Pehl, PR Matt Jackson

C Chase Anselment, B.K. Santy

DH Branden Berry

3B Jacob Lamb

RF Michael Camporeale

1B Trevor Mistui-bishi

SS Erik Forgione

SP Austin Voth, RP Jeff Brigham, RP Nick Palewicz, CR Joshua Fredendall

>1st Inning: 2 R | 3 H | 2 2B | 2 LOB | 1 HBP

Ray grounded out on the very first pitch to the SS, and you knew it was a different team. Joe Meggs followed by taking a full count bruise (HBP). Wait, hold on a minute here, and think back to Saturday's recap. what were the key points at the plate? Falling behind by not swinging at fastball strikes early in the count, and not working 3 ball counts and/or earning walks.

A first pitch fastball jumped on, and a patient AB resulting in a free pass from the first two batters. Awesome, adjustments, good coaching, execution; all come to mind.

Pehl grounded out to 2B advancing Meggs, quickly putting the Dawgs is scoring position. Question was could they capitalize with 2 outs after failing miserably the nights before. Anselment took a ball, working the count into his favor and jumped all over the next offering, doubling to right center to score Meggs. 1-0 Dawgs, their first run since the top of 7th Friday; lead since the bottom of the 3rd the same day, 14 innings prior.

The Dawgs were not done, with Berry hitting a RBI single to right to keep the streak alive, stringing hits together. Amazing how well that works for scoring runs. 2-0 Dawgs, and they never looked back.

Joe Meggs said they tried to take some pressure off SP A. Voth with the bats, and if that is what it takes to get him to pitch like this, than they better not stop. Voth came out on fire, only throwing 1 ball on his way to a 1-2-3 inning without a ball leaving the infield. He retired the first 7 batters faced in succession.

>>2nd Inning: 1 R | 1 3B | 1 BB | 1 LOB

Washington continued the smart play at the plate, with Mitsui first-pitch swining into a line drive right at the 2B, and Forgione earning a 3-1 walk. I think Ray was going to swing at every first pitch he saw Sunday, for he gave it his best effort, blasting a RBI triple before you could type his name over the left fielders head. With the speed or Forgione he scored easily from first, 3-0 Dawgs.

Again nothing leaves the infield, three 2-2 counts and a K for another three up, three down by Voth.

>>>3rd Inning: 4 R | 5 H | 2 2B | 1 HR | 1 LOB

The 3rd & 4th innings were the pike that tamed the Mustangs, with a LHP the victim no less. It appeared Cal Poly was finally going to prevent a run until Campo set the mark for the next 4 batters, signaling a charge of our own. Consider yourselves flanked for a change, you wind-lubbers...

Anselment worked another full count, eventually lifting one to CF. If you work the count, your AB is always worth something positive. Berry was looking dead red for the first pitch fastball, doubling to CF and sending Mustang SP Brueggemann to a quick shower after only 2.1 IP. He was never able to settle into a rhythm with the Dawgs jumping on him like they were starved (I would be, too). His replacement, LHP Imhof didn't fare much better.

Lamb struck out swinging after working 2 balls in at least, allowing Camporeale to watch the new pitcher. Campo patiently worked it to a hitter-friendly 2-0 count, received his well earned fastball and promptly pulled it over the LF wall for a 2 run blast. 5-0 Washington after 8 outs.

1994 Mitsuibishi 3000GT

Mitsuibishi (that nickname was too easy) watched a ball then singled to center for his only hit on the day. He has the potential, just haven't seen Trevor break out yet. Forgione, batting from the right side with a neutral 1-1 count poked one down the LF line, combined with Mitsuibishi to become a Mitsuibishi 3000GT and scared Imhof into throwing a pitch away; runners on 2B & 3B, 2 outs, flip the scorecard.

Ray had one heck of a game. He pulled a 2 RBI double down the LF line to help resuscitate our b/AVG w/RISP, let alone with 2 outs. The Dawgs left 4 runners on base after 3 innings, scoring 7 of 11. No, I don't mean those 7-11 runners...

>>>> 4th Inning: 1 BB | 1 LOB

Pehl walked. Three fly balls, grab your glove. The first uninspired performance from the offense, and the Skipper was having none of it, pulling "The Piniella Steamer: Skipper Lou's Guide to Umpire Coaching, Pillow Tossing & Cleat-Hat Coordination" out of his back pocket in the bottom of the frame.

Lou can kick dirt with the best of 'em, and when it's all said and done he will be enshrined in the No Feelings Hall of Fame, with the title "Grand Master, Purveyor of Shoe Polish Massacre's".

I can finally start using my notes after listening on my phone via the car speakers until now. Do you remember what life was like before smart phones?

The Mustang offense finally started to key onto what Voth was doing the second time around. Well, a little bit. Difference this game was the defense...err, forget that. The first of three Washington error's on the day combined with Torres the Terror of Cal Poly for a 2 run HR, just a little to the right of CF on an assumed 1-0 fastball.

Enter error No. 2. On a 1-0 count Cal Poly 3B J. Allen reaches on another one by Lamb, his second of the inning. Even though he had a good day at the dish, this is something to watch. It was said specifically by the broadcaster that Coach Meggs told him (paraphrasing to my best memory) that Lamb is the starting 3B, it is his natural position, his position. How far we go this year will have a lot to do with Jacob.

That last line I do not remember exactly, but it was something said along the lines of him being important to the Dawgs success this year. Big vote of confidence for the Senior; hopefully he can just relax and let the game come to him. He has played well before, implying this is all in his head.

On the other hand, Meggs is either acknowledging a problem or answering a question, from where I will leave you to speculate. I would find it odd if the broadcaster were to have asked the Skipper that (unless they talked to someone who watches the team very closely), leading me to assume it was something being said or talked about in quiet, dark corners.

Either way, Coach says 3B is Lamb's, and it should belong to the Senior leader; plenty of time to fill his shoes after he graduates a proud Dawg. Don't discount some potential time as the DH if his glove struggles continue.. I don't see it happening anytime soon, though it's not anywhere near that drastic. Would be a last possible result to help get things back on track.

Mustangs LF Armendariz hit a line drive single to LF, right at Meggs on a hit-and-run to put runners on the corners. Here comes the show. On a 2-1 change-up Armendariz heads to second. Normally, with the score where it is you let the runner steal and hope you can pick the runner on 3B. If you can't, concede the base and walk the batter to load the bases for a force anywhere. The percentages say you have much better odds to get out of the inning with the double play possible.

Amazing thing to remember throughout the next sequence: the runner on third never attempts to run home...?

Santy guns it down to 2B, with what should be an easy putout; maybe they were willing to concede the run and clear the bases. I shall refer to the Holy Grail on this, in legal defense of our Great Leader. Ah, there's my old Tacoma Barristers hat:

2011-'12 NCAA Baseball Rule 8, Section 5. A runner is out when: a. In running to any base, while trying to avoid being tagged out, the runner runs more than three feet left or right from a direct line between the base and the runner's location at the time a play is being made.

Time to do about 1 second of math and science....seriously, it will be fast (if your still reading this you obviously have time to waste). How long is your arm? Is it three feet or so? OK, now imagine you're (or stand up and do it) standing over second base; catch a perfect throw and swipe your arm to make a tag. Three foot radius? I would say that's about right unless your 5' tall. See, math over, wasn't so bad.

The base runner dove so far to the right of the bag, the initial tag missed him completely. I say initial because a second tag was attempted, only to miss the leaping tree frog once again. The runner was able to then dive back to 2B safely....I refer to formerly stated rule. Instead of bubble boy (1:59), he was the most interesting frog in the world (0:48).

That is pretty straightforward, save for the judgment of where the three foot bubble is, and I think it's safe to say by Head Coach Lyndsay Meggs response it wasn't even a close call. Line crossed, enough is enough. A mere fifteen seconds (a sprint by "The Piniella Steamer" standards) later and the Skipper takes a page out of the 'ol book, ejecting himself out of the park. Did it work, or did Meggs just bet the farm too early?

Austin doesn't fold after his Coach rallied the troops, and comes right back at the Mustangs to strike the next two batters out looking on 3-2 and 2-2 counts. Huge stop is an understatement. Consider fire under arses lit. Best part about it? The first batter thought he had ball four, so much in fact that he tossed his bat to the side and started down the first base line before the Ump even made his call. Strike three was so shocking to said batter, he still took 2 steps before realizing it wasn't the same series anymore. I can guarantee a complaint will be filed from Washington regarding the blatant calls.

>>>>> 5th Inning: 1 BB

Camporeale walked. New pitcher for Cal Poly Reilly (6'4" 210lbs. 10 k, 1bb coming in), Forgione hits into a fielders choice only to be caught attempting to steal 2B. Erik "3000GT fast" Forgione? Mustangs catcher Hoo is a Johnny Bench Award Watch List for good reason, he played an excellent game behind the dish and has an arm on par with Santy's. They had a fabulous duel, looking at each other after each runner thrown out, back and forth like a prize fight starting in game one; was a great side story to watch all series long.

Busby lead off with a triple for Cal Poly that rolled to the base of the wall, scoring a few minutes later on a Miller-Time (this guy is a gamer, gets nick'd) ground ball over the 2B bag that Forgione almost airmailed again. Good thing the Mitsuibishi 3000GT was warmed up still, for Mitsui (6'5" tall) went up and snagged it. He has the potential to be a pretty good corner infielder at this time.

>>>>>>6th Inning: 3 R | 2 H | 1 2B | 1 BB | 1 HBP | 0 LOB

I enjoy write-ups where I can keep posting runs scored each inning, makes for a much more enjoyable read.

Ray worked a 3-1 count into a walk to his detriment. He was within reach of the cycle already, with the dreaded triple already checked off the list along with the double. His odds went from .05% to .0005%. Any game Ray hits a triple and/or home run in watch out, he has the tools to hit a cycle rather easily in college ball.

It was mentioned at this time, not earlier, that the flags were still with no wind. The way he spoke of it was akin to a penguin asking where the snow was. The broadcaster must have been lamenting all the fly outs for the Mustangs that had died on the warning track so far.

Meggs with another sac-bunt for the team (he does the little things for the team so often his stats are hurting from it) only to tap it right back to the pitcher who spun quickly and got Ray at 2B Meggs on 1B, Pehl singled on a 1-1 count to LF, Meggs to 3B; Anselment worked a full count into a sac-fly to LF scoring Ray. Pehl stayed at 1B, in what turned out to be a very smart decision. The throw was cut off and he would have had no chance.

Instead Berry earns a HBP off the hip to help Reilly on his way off the bump, replaced by RP Grim. After going down 0-2 Lamb stroked a 2 RBI double to right center that he thought was a triple. Not this time, 10-3 Dawgs.

Voth was done after only 78 pitches, further cementing my belief the starting pitchers are being held back. Almost every start is 5-6 IP and/or 80+ pitches, whichever comes first. Limiting innings and mileage on the arms and letting them stretch out a little before conference ball is a wise move to some, others believe you want your pitchers at full strength by now. Either way, I find it hard to believe we don't have anyone with the endurance to go 7+.

J. Brigham came in to make his debut appearance for '12, and he did OK allowing 1 run on 1 hit. Jeff did get two ground ball outs, one a double play ball to end the inning.

>>>>>>>7th Inning: We're winning.

Palewicz came in to pitch the 7th, appearing to get stronger every time he gets he call. I think he wasn't fully healed from the injury at the start of the season, and his velocity is still nowhere near what he is said to have on paper. His command seems to be better, and I'm not seeing throw across his body as much as before.

A ground out, bloop single and insert all aforementioned information about Jayce Ray making a fully-stretched out catch, laying out at full speed on the warning track to get even the home crown cheering. Still video clip hunting...

A single off the end of the bat brings Torres the Terror of Cal Poly (he tore us up, gonna be another great one for that program) up to the plate. Error No. 3, you're up. I really hate talking about errors, and this one was so boneheaded it was the perfect icing on the cake.

With runners on 1B & 2B Palewicz went curveball 0-1, fastball 0-2 to set Torres up perfectly for an infield ground ball, which he promptly hits down the the 3B line. Lamb digs it, throws and hits Alex Cooper square in the chest. Who's Alex Cooper, and what's he doing at 1B? Turns out he's the Mustangs 1B coach and was filling in for Mitsui while he taking pictures of the clouds and pretty designs in the dirt he was making with his cleats between pitches. Nobody knows where he went, or why "Trev" went MIA, and we may never know.

What we do know is that Mitsui has narcolepsy and first base coaches make great backstops. The ball bounced back to Mitsui at first effectively snaring the runners in place, allowing only one run to score... OK maybe not narcolepsy, for this only leads to one conclusion: Mitsui took control of Alex Cooper and used him as a shield. Why? I'll be sure to ask him next time.

>>>>>>>> 8th Inning: 1 2B | 1 HBP | 2 LOB

Ray lead off the inning earning free pass, Meggs was jealous again and hit into another fielders choice to switch places with Ray, just like the 6th. I might have to make a post about the twins and triplets the Dawgs have had like this, would be some fun research.

Pehl jumped all over the first pitch he saw for the 5th Washington double on the afternoon, just past the diving Torres to the right center wall. Karma Mustangs, Karma. Meggs goes to third on the play, and Jackson comes in off the bench to run for Pehl. Jackson only kicked some dirt while Anselment took a looping curveball 0-1 then grounded to 1B. The ball bounced off the first baseman's glove right to the second baseman, who tossed out Anselment at first via the pitcher. This entire time Meggs just watched from third. Would have been close, but would have also liked to see him cause a little commotion. Berry screamed a line drive to 2B and that was the end of it.

Defense subs in to seal the deal, Jackson in at 2B, Santy in to catch. 0-1 can of corn to Jackson, 1-1 pop fly to RF and a 2-2 ground out to SS. Palewicz is on cruising control.

>>>>>>>>> 9th Inning: We won.

Lamb, Campo and Mitsui up, 2 ground balls and a fly ball and its up to Fredendall to get 'em on the bus home.

Joshua Fredendall came into the series 4th in the land in saves. He didn't get a chance to earn one, so his consolation prize was a tune-up to close the door. 2-2 ground ball to 2B, 1-0 fly ball to left and 1-2 swinging strikeout to end it. This was a much needed road victory over a tough, ranked opponent.

Go Dawgs!

-Current word count: 4,033. New personal best.