Cats take series from Huskies

Powered by a 3 for 4 performance by Jeff Van Houten, the Arizona baseball team won its Pac-10 series two games to one over Washington with a 9-4 win at Frank Sancet Field on Sunday. The victory improved Arizona's record to 26-12 overall and 5-4 in the Pac-10, while Washington fell to 22-12 and 4-5 in conference action with the loss.

Van Houten, the reigning Pac-10 Player of the Week, missed out on hitting for the cycle by just a double for the second consecutive week. The sophomore outfielder tripled in the first, homered in the third and singled in the seventh to narrowly miss out on the cycle for the second straight Sunday. He finished the game with four RBIs and a run scored.

Washington got off to a quick start, scoring all four of its runs off of Arizona starter Joe Little in the top of the first. UW's Brent Lillibridge led off the game with a solo home run to center field to open the frame. Mike Wagner then added another run with a RBI base hit and a two-run single by Nick Batkoski handed UW an early 4-0 lead and chased Little from the game.

The Wildcats cut the lead in half in the bottom of the first on Derek Decater's sac-fly and Van Houten's RBI triple, scoring Brad Boyer and Moises Duran, respectively.

Arizona added another run in the bottom of the second on Boyer's sac-fly and took a 6-4 lead in the third on Van Houten's three-run blast to left field, his ninth home run of the season. The Wildcats added single runs in fifth, seventh and eighth to put away the Huskies in the rubber game of the series.

Wildcats' reliever John Meloan (3-0) struck out a career-high seven Washington batters en route to his third win of the season. The right-hander scattered five hits and did not allow a run in 5 1/3 innings of work. Kevin Guyette worked the final three innings for his second save of the season.

Washington's Trent Baysinger (1-1) was charged with his first loss of the year after giving up five runs on six hits in 4 1/3 innings on the mound.

Offensively, Arizona tallied 10 hits to UW's nine in the game. Junior Brian Anderson went 2 for 3 with three runs scored for Arizona in the win. Lillibridge, who hit his fourth home run of the season, finished 2 for 5 in the loss. Arizona returns to action on Monday with a single game against Sacramento State at Sancet Field at 1 p.m. Washington continues its road trip in Manhattan, Kan., with a pair of non-conference games against Kansas State.

GAME TWO
The Arizona baseball team bounced back from its disappointing 4-3 loss to Washington on Friday with a 13-4 win over the Huskies in the second game of the three-game series at Frank Sancet Field on Saturday. The win improved Arizona's overall record to 25-12 for the season and even in the Pac-10 at 4-4. Washington fell to 22-11 with the loss and into a tie with Arizona in the conference standings at 4-4.

Junior Sean Rierson was impressive on the mound for Arizona, giving up four runs, just three earned, on six hits in eight innings of work. The six-strikeout performance improved the right-hander's record to a team-best 7-1 for the season.

Offensively, Arizona rapped out 14 hits in the game, including eight for extra bases. Trailing 2-0 through 2 2/3 innings, Arizona tied the score in the bottom of the third on a sac fly by Derek Decater and Jeff Petersen wild pitch. The Wildcats took the lead for good with three runs in the bottom of the fourth on a leadoff double by Jeff Van Houten, a RBI triple by Brad Boyer and a two-run homer off the bat of Richard Mercado. Mercado's blast was his third of the season and gave Rierson all the runs he needed on the night.

Seattle-area native Decater led the Wildcat attack with a 3 for 3, two double and three-RBI night at the plate. Boyer, Mercado, Pat Reilly and Trevor Crowe all paired hits in the game, as nine of the 10 Wildcat players to get an at-bat scored at least one run.

Washington and Arizona will play the rubber game of the Pac-10 series on Sunday at 1 p.m. Arizona's Joe Little (4-2, 3.46 ERA) will take the mound against Washington's Trevor Gibson (3-0, 3.58 ERA). The game can be heard live on KNST (790-AM).

GAME ONE
Washington's Justin Drake sped 270 feet to score the game-winning run from first base on an errant pick off attempt in the top of the 11h inning, as Washington rallied from a late two-run deficit to win, 4-3, over Arizona at Frank Sancet Field on Friday.

The loss, Arizona's third in extra innings this season, dropped the Wildcats to 24-12 for the season and 3-4 in the Pac-10. Washington boosted its record to 22-10 and 4-3 in conference play.

Trailing 3-1 in the eighth inning, UW's Chad Boudon hit a two-run homer to center off Arizona starter Richie Gardner to tie the score at three apiece and force the game into extra innings.

Drake, who was hit by a pitch with one out in the 11th, appeared to be picked off by Arizona reliever Brian Pemble, but the ball sailed deep down into foul territory allowing him to circle the bases for the go-ahead run.

Pemble (2-1) was hit for his first loss of the season, while UW closer Will Fenton improved to 2-0 with 3 2/3 innings of one-hit relief.

The Wildcats, who finished with 11 hits in the game, struggled in key situations through out the contest. Arizona stranded 12 runners on base, including seven men in scoring position.

Sophomore Jeff Van Houten supplied much of the offense for the Wildcats, hitting his career-high eighth home run, a two-run shot, in Arizona's three-run third. Freshman Brad Boyer and sophomore Pat Reilly went 2 for 4 and 2 for 3, respectively, for Arizona in the loss.

The Wildcats will look to rebound against the Huskies in the second game of the three-game set on Saturday. Game time is set for 7 p.m.


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