In an instant classic with massive emotional swings both ways, Washington knocked off Cal State Fullerton 6-5 in 10 innings to win the Fullerton Super Regional.
UW (35-24, 20-10 Pac-12) clinched a trip to the College World Series for the first time in program history.
With the win, the Huskies eliminated CSUF (35-26, 18-6 Big West). The Titans were bidding for consecutive trips to Omaha and their 19th CWS appearance in their storied history.
The Huskies will open the 8-team College World Series next weekend against Mississippi State. The Bulldogs also won a wild extra-inning game on Sunday night, knocking off Vanderbilt 10-6 in 11 innings after blowing a 3-run lead in the 9th.
Huskies-Bulldogs should be next Saturday (6/16) at either 2 or 7 p.m. local time in Omaha — noon or 5 p.m. Pacific — on ESPN.
Joe DeMers went 8 2⁄3 mostly sparkling innings, allowing four runs on five hits. Until the 9th inning, CSUF had just a double and a walk against the Husky ace. He walked one and hit a batter, striking out three.
Alex Hardy (5-2) got the win in relief for the Huskies, going 1 1⁄3 innings and giving up one run on one hit.
Starter Tanner Bibee struggled for the Titans. He went 4+ IP, allowing 2 runs on 6 hits. He walked none and struck out three.
Closer Brett Conine (4-2) took the loss for Fullerton, going 3 1⁄3 innings and giving up 6 hits, 3 runs (2 earned), 0 walks, and striking out 6.
Nick Kahle and Willie MacIver each hit solo homers in the win, their 6th and 3rd of the season, respectively. Levi Jordan added an RBI single in the 6th for an insurance run, while Christian Jones went 2 for 2 before being lifted for a defensive replacement in right field.
DeMers was untouchable through 6 innings, retiring the first 18 batters he saw on just 51 pitches. CSUF leadoff man Hank LoForte got the first (and only) hit off DeMers by ripping a 2-0 pitch into the right field corner. DeMers would retire the next three hitters, but LoForte moved to third on a groundout and scored on a sac fly to left by Ruben Cardenas.
The Titans mounted a big threat in the 9th. DeMers plunked pinch-hitter Jordan Hernandez to lead off. After LoPorte popped out, Berryhill singled to put the tying run on base. DeMers got another out to put the Titans one out from elimination.
Three straight 2-out singles were DeMers’ undoing. The second one that tied the game was particularly painful. Jake Pavletich hits a low liner back to DeMers, who got a glove on it and knocked it down. But instead of falling at his feet, it rolled slowly toward shortstop, leaving the UW infield with no play. Berryhill came in and scored the tying run from third. Chris Prescott then gave the Titans the lead with a single over the head of UW 1B Jonathan Schiffer. Hardy came in and put out the fire, but Fullerton still took a 4-3 lead to B9.
Washington tied it up with a 1-out rally in the bottom of the 9th. Kaiser Weiss hit a double into the right field corner, then Jonathan Schiffer drove a single through the left side, scoring Weiss easily from second base to tie it up.
LoForte looked to become a hero for the Titans, hitting a 2-out solo homer in the top of the 10th off of Hardy, just his 2nd long ball of the year. Once again, that put the Titans 3 outs away from Omaha.
The Titans defense undid them in the bottom of the 10th. After a leadoff single by Joe Wainhouse, Jack Johnson came in to pinch-run at first base. Jordan put down a sacrifice bunt that Conine threw away down the right field line, leading to runners at the corners. AJ Graffanino hit a grounder to shortstop that was already going to tie the game, but the Titans’ attempt to get Jordan at second was dropped, although it was ruled an infield single, as Johnson scored to tie the game at 5.
MacIver hit a grounder to shortstop that Valenzuela couldn’t handle at short, allowing the Huskies to load the bases with nobody out, needing just one run to finish the win. When Kaiser Weiss hit a deep fly ball to Chris Prescott in left, Jordan tagged up and ran home without a play for the winning run.