TUCSON, Ariz. ?- Senior Jeff Van Houten hit a leadoff home run in the bottom of the 12th inning as the No. 13-ranked Arizona baseball team rallied from a 5-3 ninth-inning deficit to win 6-5 over Washington at Jerry Kindall Field at Frank Sancet Stadium on Friday.
Entering the at bat 0 for 4 on the night, Van Houten hit reliever Matt Hague’s 2-1 fastball offering over the left field wall for the walk-off win. The blast, Van Houten’s fourth of the season and the 25th of his career, was the second game-ending homer for the Wildcats this season and improved Arizona’s record to 18-9 overall and 2-0 in the Pac-10. Washington dropped to 13-10 overall with the loss and to 0-2 in conference play.
Trailing 5-3 in the ninth inning with two outs and the bases loaded, Pac-10 RBI leader Jordan Brown tied the game with a two-run double down the left field line.
Derek Decater started the ninth inning rally with a leadoff single, but was erased on a fielder’s choice grounder off the bat of pinch hitter Bill Rhinehart. Junior Trevor Crowe struck out looking in the next at bat and was ejected from the game after arguing the call with home plate umpire Chuck Lyon.
Junior Brad Boyer followed the Crowe at bat with a double to left center, advancing freshman pinch runner Kenny Williams Jr. to third. Van Houten drew a full-count walk to load the bases from Brown. His game-tying two-run double off of UW starter Kyle Parker came one pitch after the Wildcat junior nearly ended the contest with a grand slam that sailed just foul over the right field fence.
The late inning heroics made a winner out of reliever Mark Melancon. Working a career-high five innings, Melancon improved to 1-2 on the year after giving up one run on two hits with six strikeouts and two walks. Junior starter Kevin Guyette did not factor in the decision, but pitched well giving up four runs on six hits in seven innings. He struck out eight and walked four.
Washington’s Hague (0-2) was charged with loss after giving up Van Houten’s solo shot in the 12th. UW’s Parker appeared to have the complete game victory in hand before surrendering the two runs in the ninth. Parker went nine innings in the no-decision effort, giving up five runs on 11 hits with four Ks and four walks.
Offensively, Arizona finished with 12 hits, including three doubles and a pair of home runs. Boyer led all players at the plate individually, finishing the game 3 for 6 with two runs scored. Brown (2 for 4, R, HR, 2B) hit his eighth home run of the year in the seventh and finished with four RBI on the night.
Kyle Larsen led the Washington offensive effort, going 2 for 4 with his fourth home run of the year, two RBI and three runs scored.
Arizona will attempt to close out its first series sweep since Feb. 11-13 on Saturday at 12 p.m. Freshman David Coulon will take the mound for the Wildcats.
Arizona finished the game with 14 strikeouts. It was the 17th time in 27 games this season UA finished a contest with 10 or more punchouts ... Junior Jordan Brown hit Arizona’s first walk-off home run of the season, a two-run shot in the 14th inning against Arizona State on Feb. 15 ... Junior Chris Frey extended his hitting streak to a team-high 13 straight games with a fourth inning single.