UW 8, Arizona 7

SEATTLE - Austin Rei drove in four runs, including the tying and go ahead runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, as the Huskies made their debut in their new permanent home at Husky Ballpark a memorable one, beating the Arizona Wildcats 8-7 in the opener of a three game Pac-12 series on a clear but cold Friday evening.

With their fourth straight win before 1,302 fans, the Huskies improved to 3-1 in the Pac-12 and 14-5-1 overall while the Wildcats dropped to 1-3,11-13.

Trailing 7-6 entering the bottom of the sixth inning, Branden Berry led off with a line double into the left field corner and advanced to third on an errant pickoff attempt by Wildcat starter James Farris.

Cody Moffett (0-1) entered the game in relief and walked Alex Schmidt. Schmidt moved to second on a fielder's choice groundout by Trevor Mitsui, bringing up Rei to face third Wildcat pitcher Tyler Parmenter. Rei grounded a 3-2 pitch from Parmenter inside the third base bag and down the third base line to score Berry and Schmit and give the Huskies an 8-7 lead.

After Husky starter Jared Fisher gave up all seven Arizona runs on 11 hits and one walk in only three and two thirds innings, four Husky relievers - Brandon Choate (1-0), Trevor Dunlap, Will Ballowe and Troy Rallings - combined to shut out the Wildcats the rest of the game, allowing only two hits between them while striking out six and walking none.

Choate got the well deserved win, keeping the Huskies in the game by retiring all seven batters he faced in two and a thirds innings. He struck out three. Rallings pitched a scoreless ninth to notch his second save of the season.

In the top of the first, Arizona roughed up Fisher for four runs, all earned, on six hits. Scott Kingery began the game with a line double off the bullpen screen in left field and Cody Ramer got a gift single on a pop up that either shortstop Erik Forgione or second baseman Andrew Ely should have caught, but the ball bounced harmlessly on the infield dirt, putting Wildcats on at fist and second. Kevin Newman lined a sharp single to left to plate Kingery with the first run of the game. Trent Gilbert lined a double to right to score Ramer and make it 2-0. Zach Gibbons reached on an infield single to first, beating Fisher to first base, with Newman scoring for 3-0. Gilbert moved to third on the play and scored on a sacrifice fly to center.

Washington sent nine batters to the plate in the bottom of the second and scored five runs against Farris to go up 5-4. With one out, Berry and Schmidt reached on consecutive singles. Mitsui walked to load the bases, bringing up Rei. Rei fell behind in the count 0-2 before taking two balls. After fouling a pitch back to screen he flared the next pitch down the right field line that dropped for a single, scoring Berry and Schmidt to cut Arizona's lead to 4-2. Forgione singled to re-load the bases, and Braden Bishop followed with a sacrifice fly to right to plate Mitsui and make it 4-3.

Andrew Ely, the most recent Pac-12 player of the week, then lined a two run triple off the NCAA Regionals plaque in right center field to score Rei and Forgione for a 5-4 Washington lead.

Arizona rallied to score three runs in the top of the fourth, ending Fisher's night. With one out, three straight hits by Bobby Dalbec, Kenny Meimerstorf and Joseph Maggi loaded the bases. Kingery walked to force in Dalbec for a 5-5 tie. Then Ramer lined a double into the gap in right center field to score Meimerstorf and Maggi and make it 7-5 Wildcats. Kingery attempted to score on the play for 8-5 but got thrown out on a perfect relay from Ely to Rei.

In the bottom of the fifth Washington manufactured a run for 7-6 thanks mostly to Braden Bishop. He led off with an infield chop single, took second on a hit and run groundout by Ely, stole third and scored on a wild pitch by Farris.

Washington and Arizona return to Husky Ballpark for the middle game of the series on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m.
NOTE: The Huskies began the new ballpark era with the following firsts:

Strikeout: Fisher (vs. Meimerstorf, looking, top of the first)
Win: Choate
Save: Rallings

Hit: Branden Berry, single (bottom of the second)
Run: Berry (Bot 2)
Run batted in: Rei (Bot 2)
Double: Berry (Bot 6)
Triple: Ely (Bot 5)
Stolen base: Bishop (third base, bot 5)
Below are links to Thursday's media day stories from Husky Ballpark, including a photo gallery and video of the new facility, as well as Washington Head Coach Lindsay Meggs and starting pitcher Jared Fisher talking about the facility and what it means for the Washington Baseball program moving forward.

Photo Gallery - Husky Ballpark
DawgmanTV: Husky Ballpark
DawgmanTV: Meggs and Fisher

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