SEATTLE, Wash. – Austin Rei drove in four runs and the Washington baseball team overcame an early four-run deficit to defeat visiting Arizona, 8-7, in the grand opening of the renovated Husky Ballpark Friday evening.
Arizona (11-13, 1-3 Pac-12) struck for four runs in the top of the first inning, but the Huskies answered an inning later with a five-run second inning. Still the Wildcats regained a two-run lead with three runs in the fifth, but Washington’s bullpen was stout and the Huskies rallied with the game’s final three runs.
Trailing7-6 in the bottom of the fifth, Branden Berry hit a leadoff double against Arizona starter James Farris. Berry advanced to third on Farris’ failed pickoff attempt, before reliever Cody Moffett entered to face Alex Schmidt. Moffett walked Schmidt, and Tyler Parmenter entered with runners at the corners.
Parmenter was able to get a soft groundout that held Berry at third, but Schmidt moved to second. Rei followed with his second hit of a day – a double down the third base line that drove in the tying and eventual game-winning runs.
Arizona never seriously threatened the rest of the way as the Huskies bullpen combined for 5.1 shutout innings. Brandon Choate (W, 1-0), who struck out three in 2.1 innings in place of starter Jared Fisher, earned the victory. Troy Rallings recorded his second save with a scoreless ninth inning.
Scott Kingery led off the game with a double to spark five consecutive hits to put the Wildcats ahead 4-0 in the first. Kevin Newman delivered a run-scoring single, Trent Gilbert had an RBI double, Zach Gibbons drove in a run with an infield single and Riley Moore plated the fourth with a sacrifice fly.
Washington (14-5-1, 3-1 Pac-12) responded with five runs on five hits against Farris in the second. Berry ignited the rally with a one-out single, before Schmidt singled and Trevor Mistui drew a walk to load the bases. Rei’s first hit of the night drove in a pair of runs, and Braden Bishop’s sacrifice fly later scored Mitsui.
But the damage was not done.
With two on and two outs, Andrew Ely tripled to right-center to push the Huskies ahead for the first time.
The Wildcats would regain a lead in the fourth. Bobby Dalbec, Kenny Meimerstorf and Joseph Maggi each hit one-out singles to load the bases for Kingery, who drew a walk to force home the tying run. Cody Ramer followed with a two-run double to right-center, but Kingery was thrown out at the plate keeping a third run off the board.
Fischer lasted just 3.2 innings and was charged with seven earned runs on 11 hits. He struck out two while walking one in a no-decision.
Washington chipped away at the two-run deficit in the fifth. Bishop, who was 2-for-3, led off with an infield single, advanced to second on a groundout and then stole third base. He scored Farris’ wild pitch to bring the Huskies within a run to set the stage for the decisive sixth an inning later.
Farris worked five-plus innings and gave up seven runs on seven hits. He struck out six and walked one in the no decision.
Moffett (L, 1-1) suffered the loss for walking Schmidt, the game-winning run, in the sixth inning.
Parmenter went on to pitch 3.0 innings with just two hits allowed. He struck out two.
Trevor Dunlap tossed 1.1 scoreless innings and Will Ballowe faced one batter and recorded a double play to end the eighth inning as the bridge to Rallings in the ninth.
The two teams continue the three-game series Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. (PDT).