TUCSON, Ariz. ?- The Arizona pitching staff struck out 18 batters and the offense scored 13 runs on 12 hits as the No. 13-ranked Wildcats opened the Pac-10 season with a 13-6 win over Washington at Jerry Kindall Field at Frank Sancet Stadium on Thursday.
The victory snapped a two-game losing streak for the Wildcats and improved them 17-9 for the year and 1-0 in conference play. Washington fell for just the second time in its last 11 games and dropped to 13-9 overall and 0-1 in the Pac-10.
Starting pitcher John Meloan tied his career high with 12 strikeouts to improve to 5-0 on the year. The reigning Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week gave up four runs on six hits over six innings for his 15th straight winning decision.
Freshman reliever Eric Berger struck out six of the 10 batters he faced after taking over in the seventh for an ineffective Sean Jarrett. Berger, who was roughed up for six runs in 1 1/3 innings on Sunday at Cal State Fullerton, held the Huskies scoreless over the final 2 2/3 innings of the game on Thursday.
2004 Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year Tim Lincecum (4-3) was charged with the loss after giving up eight runs, six earned, on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. He finished with seven strikeouts and two walks.
Arizona’s 18 punchouts tied the team season high set against New Mexico in the second game of the year and marked the 16th time in 26 games this season that the Wildcats have finished a contest with double digit Ks.
It looked like it might be a long night for Meloan, as the Huskies opened the game with back-to-back doubles by Tayler Johnson and Brent Lillibridge for a 1-0 lead. Nick Batkoski tacked on another run with a two-out RBI single later in the inning for a two-run UW advantage.
Lincecum handed Arizona its first two runs of the game and tied the game after two innings on a throwing error on a failed pickoff attempt in the first and a first and third balk in the second.
Washington retook the lead in the with a run in the third for a 3-2 advantage and appeared headed for a big inning in the fifth when Meloan gave up another run-scoring double and loaded the bases with just one out. The junior right-hander worked out of the self-imposed jam by striking out Matt Lane and Curt Rundle to end the threat and the inning.
Meloan’s efforts in the top of the inning energized the Arizona offense as it scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth to take the lead on triples by Brad Boyer and Jeff Van Houten and doubles by Trevor Crowe and Nick Hundley.
The Wildcats tacked on six more runs in the bottom of the sixth for an 11-4 lead after a costly error by shortstop Lillibridge on a first and third double steal extended the inning. Crowe and Chris Frey each posted two-run singles in the frame.
As a team, Arizona posted its 18th game this year with double-digit hits. The Wildcats finished with three doubles, two triples and a home run in the contest.
Individually, Frey led all players, going 3 for 4 with two RBI and three runs scored. Boyer (2 for 4, 2 R), Crowe (2 for 4, 3 RBI, R) and Nick Hundley (2 for 4, HR, RBI, 2 R) all paired hits for Arizona.
The two schools will meet up for game two of the three-game series on Friday at 7 p.m. UA’s Kevin Guyette is the scheduled starter for the Wildcats.