Diamond Dawgs rough up Arizona

Jay Garthwaite and Michael Done homered to back the pitching of Shawn Kohn as the Huskies defeated Arizona 7-3 in the opener of a huge Pac-10 series at Husky Ballpark on a sunny Friday evening.

With the win, the Huskies improved to 29-24-1 overall and 14-8 in the Pac-10 and remained tied with eighth ranked Stanford for second place in the Pac-10, while Arizona dropped to 8-14 and 30-23 overall. The Huskies also remain in contention for their first Pac-10 championship since the league scrapped divisions following the 1998 season.

Kohn fired his eighth complete game of the season to improve to 11-4, allowing seven hits and one walk while striking out four. Already the all-time Husky single season leader in innings pitched with 113.2 going into the game, he also tied the Husky record for wins in a single season, matching the 11 set by Jake Kringen in 1997.

Kohn came out throwing strikes, fanning the first two Wildcat batters in the first, Brian Hassey and Moises Duran, swinging. In fact, he threw four and a third perfect innings at Arizona before designated hitter Richard Mercado singled to left in the fifth.

One inning later, Arizona broke up a scoreless tie on a leadoff single by Chris Marini, a sacrifice by Clayton Bried and a single to left by Brian Anderson.

Meanwhile, despite having their opportunities, the Huskies could not get to Arizona starter Sean Rierson for six innings. In the first, Tila Reynolds and Kyle Larsen singled with one out, but then Tyler Davidson grounded into a fielder's choice and Aaron Hathaway struck out swinging.

Then in the fourth, after Larsen and Davidson led off with singles, Hathaway attempted to sacrifice the runners, but catcher Chris Cunningham made a sprawling catch out in front of the plate to snare Hathaway's bunt just off the turf and threw to Hassey to double up Larsen, who had already ran to third.

The Huskies threatened again in the sixth as Tila Reynolds lined a double off the center field wall over a leaping Brian Anderson and moved to third on a groundout by Kyle Larsen. Unfortunately for the Huskies Davidson flied out to Anderson to end the inning.

The Huskies just needed a clutch hit since they had no problem putting runners on base earlier in the game. They finally got it, thanks to Garthwaite, in the seventh. Hathaway chopped a ball to shortstop and beat Hassey's throw leading off the inning for an infield single. Then Garthwaite launched his 15th home run of the season, a towering shot over the 385 marker in center field between the screen and light post, to give the Huskies a 2-1 lead.

The Huskies tacked on five runs in the bottom of the eighth. Taylor Johnson looked at eight pitches from Rierson before finally drawing a leadoff walk. After Reynolds sacrificed Johnson to second, Rierson intentionally walked Larsen to put the double play back in order, but Davidson ruined that strategy, doubling to right center field to score Johnson and put the Huskies on top 3-1.

Arizona coach Andy Lopez decided to go to his bullpen, and brought in right hander Chris Goodman to relieve Rierson. After Hathaway fouled out to first baseman Pat Reilly, the Wildcats walked Garthwaite intentionally to load the bases and take their chances with Done.

That decision backfired in a big way as Done roped the second pitch from Goodman over the 365 marker in right field for a grand slam, his 11th homer of the season, and a 7-1 Husky lead.

The slam by Done proved to be the difference in the game, as Arizona reached Kohn for two runs in the top of the ninth. Duran doubled and one out later scored on a double by Cunningham. Then with two outs, Reilly singled to plate Cunningham to make it 7-3. Rierson suffered the loss for Arizona to drop to 7-5, actually pitching well despite yielding five runs on nine hits in seven and a thirds innings.

Washington entertains Arizona in the middle game of the series at 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, with junior right hander Sean White (5-2,4.87) scheduled to take the mound for the Huskies against sophomore left hander Joe Little (6-5, 5.12).

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