UW 5, UCLA 2

SEATTLE - Jorden Merry and Nick Haughian combined on a four hitter as the Huskies beat the UCLA Bruins 5-2 in the opener of a three game Pac-10 series at Husky Ballpark on a clear Friday night.

With the win the Huskies evened their Pac-10 record at 5-5 and improved to 25-14 overall while the Bruins dropped to 4-6 and 20-17.

Merry started and went the first eight innings to improve to a perfect 6-0, allowing only two runs on four hits and three walks, while striking out nine. The nine strikeouts tied a career high set against Utah Valley State on March 22.

Haughian, the Huskies' top starter who came into the game leading the Pac-10 with 73 strikeouts, emphatically slammed the door on the Bruins for his first save since 2006, striking out the side in the ninth. For UCLA, Tim Murphy started and suffered the tough luck loss to drop to 3-5. He gave up three runs on five hits and three walks. He struck out seven.

The Bruins got on the board right away with a run in the top of the first. Alden Carrithers lined a double into left center, moved to third on a sacrifice, and scored on a wild pitch by Merry.

The Huskies went ahead 2-1 in the bottom of the second with two outs. Sean Meehan walked and Troy Scott drove a 2-2 pitch into the trees beyond the right field wall for his fifth home run of the season.

The Bruins tied the game at 2 in the top of the third. Carrithers drew a leadoff walk, moved to third on a double by Jermaine Curtis, and scored on a groundout by Brandon Crawford.

The Huskies made it 3-2 in the bottom of the third when Kyle Conley hit his 10th home run of the season, a lazy fly ball that just kept carrying until it landed beyond the right field wall.

In the bottom of the eighth, the Huskies got two big insurance runs. Conley and Aaron Russell walked. Both moved up a base on a balk by reliever Brendan Lafferty, and Conley scored on a wild pitch. Jake Rife came into pinch hit for Meehan and lined a 3-2 pitch from third Bruin pitcher J.D. Haver into right field to score Russell.

The Bruins and Huskies both flashed the leather defensively. In the bottom of the second, Gabe Cohen made a terrific catch against the right field fence on a foul ball by Doug Cherry. Then in the bottom of the third, second baseman Carrithers made a great diving catch on a soft line drive by Ty Rasmussen that looked like it would get into center field for a base hit.

Washington's gem came courtesy of catcher Joey Dunn's arm. In the top of the sixth the Bruins had runners at first and second with no one out and Brady Dolan at the plate when Dunn took a one strike pitch from Merry and fired a perfect throw to shortstop Cherry to pick Casey Haerther off second. What could have been a big inning for the Bruins then ended quickly as Merry proceeded to strike out both Dolan and Cohen swinging.

The teams return to Husky Ballpark for the middle game of the series at 2 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. Cam Nobles will take the mound for the Huskies against Charles Brewer.

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