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Joe DeMers, plenty of late-inning offense help Huskies turn back UConn 7-1

UPDATED: Fri., June 1, 2018

CONWAY, South Carolina – Joe DeMers pitched eight strong innings and Washington scored five runs in the eighth to break open a close game as the West Coast Huskies beat the Connecticut Huskies 7-1 in the first game of the NCAA Conway Regional on Friday at Brooks Springs Field.

The No. 3-seeded Huskies (31-23) will play No. 1 regional seed Coastal Carolina at 2 p.m. PDT on Saturday. Coastal Carolina routed LIU Brooklyn 16-1. The winner of the UW-Coastal Carolina game will advance to the championship round of the regional on Sunday. The loser will play later Saturday against the winner of a game between Connecticut and LIU.

“I thought we played a pretty good game,” UW coach Lindsay Meggs said after he improved to 4-4 in three postseason appearances with the Huskies. “We didn’t make an error, we reached double-digits in hits, and I’m really pleased with the way Joe pitched.”

UConn (35-21-1) opened the scoring in the first inning, stringing together a pair of hits and a walk off DeMers to grab the early advantage. But the first-inning run turned out to be the only one the All-Pac-12 junior would allow.

After the first inning, DeMers (7-3) retired 12 of the next 13 batters he faced and didn’t allow another hit until a leadoff single in the sixth inning. He ended up allowing six hits, issued a walk and hit a batter, while striking out six in his 107-pitch outing.

“He’s just such a flat-liner,” Meggs said of DeMers. “He never gets too high; he never gets too low. He has a plan and he likes his stuff. He thinks his stuff is better than they are, so he’s going to stick to the plan, and that’s what he did.”

Washington tied the game in the second and took the lead for good in the sixth.

In the Huskies’ second, All-Pac-12 shortstop Levi Jordan doubled with one out and second baseman AJ Graffanino followed with an RBI single up the middle.

Graffanino and Jordan had three hits apiece.

The score remained tied until Joe Wainhouse’s sixth-inning solo home run, a ball hit out of the ballpark and into the parking lot beyond the right-field fence. It was Wainhouse’s team-leading 15th homer and moved him into the top 10 on the UW single-season list.

The Huskies sent 10 batters to the plate and scored five runs to put the game away in eighth. Jordan had an RBI single to give UW a 3-1 lead and Graffanino picked up another RBI with a hit that ricocheted off pitcher Jacob Wallace. Willie MacIver followed with a safety squeeze that Jordan scored when he used his foot to dislodge the ball from catcher Zac Susi’s glove.

Late-game replacement Kaiser Weiss followed with an RBI single. The final run scored when Mason Cerrillo grounded into a fielder’s choice.

The win improved Washington to 23-20 in postseason play.

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