Washington’s Joey Morgan connected for a three-run home run in the seventh inning to lift the host Washington Huskies to a 6-3 win over the Arizona Wildcats on Friday night at Husky Ballpark.
Starting pitcher JC Cloney worked into the seventh, but exited after giving up a one-out single. Austin Schnabel then entered and walked MJ Hubbs to put two on with one out. Left-hander Cameron Ming came on next and struck out cleanup hitter Josh Cushing for the second out. But on the first pitch, Morgan hit a home run to left field that just got over the wall to give the Huskies their three-run lead.
Cloney, who was strong in his first-ever Pac-12 start, was credited with his first loss of the season. The junior left-hander went 6 1/3 innings, allowing seven hits, four runs, three walks and striking out two. Washington starter Noah Bremmer, who went seven innings and gave up three runs, earned the win.
Washington grabbed the lead right away, plating two runs in the first. After Cloney put up zeroes in the second and third to keep it a two-run deficit. But in the fourth, Washington pushed another run across to extend the lead to 3-0.
But the Wildcats responded right away in the top of the fifth with a two-out rally. With two outs and catcher Cesar Salazar on first, shortstop Louis Boyd worked a nine-pitch at-bat, which resulted in a walk. Justin Behnke then walked on four pitches to load the bases with two outs for leadoff hitter Cody Ramer.
Ramer singled to center to score Salazar and Boyd was able to score from second on an error by the third baseman. Trailing 3-2, Ryan Aguilar then roped a single on an 0-2 count to tie the game at three apiece. Zach Gibbons hit a hard grounder that was snagged up the middle by the pitcher to end the rally and the inning.
Cloney came back out for the sixth and registered a 1-2-3 inning to keep the game tied. In the seventh, however, the Huskies were able to get to Cloney and get him out before Morgan’s home run.
Ramer tried to start a rally in the eighth with a lead-off single, but the Cats (12-5, 0-1 Pac-12) weren’t able to generate anything else. After freshman Michael Flynn pitched a scoreless bottom of the inning, Bobby Dalbec started the ninth with a walk, but the game ended on a double play off the bat of Alfonso Rivas.
Ramer and Salazar each 2 for 4 in the loss. Ramer had an RBI and Salazar had a run scored. Moran was 2 for 3 with three RBI and a run scored. Willie MacIver and Chris Baker each had two hits for the Huskies.
Arizona will now turn to senior right-hander Nathan Bannister on Saturday to try to even the series up. Bannister is 3-0 on the season with a 2.10 ERA. First pitch against the Huskies (9-5, 1-0) is set for 2 p.m. A live stream will be available through pac-12.com.
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