May 26, 2006
SEATTLE, Wash. - On a night when Jay Miller broke the Cougar all-time hits record, Jim Murphy's eighth inning home run proved to be the difference as Washington State University defeated the University of Washington, 3-2, in a Pacific-10 Conference game Friday night at Husky Ballpark.
With the win the Cougars improve to 36-21on the season, 10-12 in conference play and take the first of the three-game series. Washington falls to 34-25 following the loss, 9-13 in Pac-10 play.
The Cougars held a narrow, 2-1, lead entering the eighth against Husky ace Tim Lincecum, arguably the top pitcher in the nation this season. On a 0-1 pitch, Murphy drilled his eighth home run of the season over the left field fence, giving the Cougars a 3-1 lead and providing an insurance run for the WSU pitching staff.
That extra run was needed as Washington catcher Matt Lane lined a one-out home run to center in the eighth, cutting the lead to 3-2. In the ninth the Huskies had their first two batters reach base, but they drew no closer. Reliever Travis Webb retired the next three batters, the final hitter on a foul out to first, preserving the victory and giving Webb his eighth save of the season.
Miller, meanwhile, made history in the sixth inning. After a 0-for-2 start to his night, the senior lined a sharp single to left, giving him hit number 305 for his Cougar career and moving him ahead of Mike Kinkade for the top spot on the all-time hits list. In the seventh Miller added an RBI double, the 74th of his career, one shy of another Kinkade school record.
It was a pitcher's duel through the first five innings as both teams managed just three hits each, all singles. The Cougars loaded the bases in the first and had two runners in scoring position in the second, but both times Lincecum worked out of trouble.
In the bottom of the sixth the Huskies loaded the bases with one out when Matt Stevens grounded into a fielder's choice. On the play Zach Clem came home from third with the first run of the game as Washington took a 1-0 lead after six innings.
In the seventh the Cougars finally broke through against Lincecum. With one out, pinch hitter Scott Suttmeier reached first when he struck out but advanced on a throwing error by catcher Matt Lane. Suttmeier then stole second and tied the game at 1-1 when Ryan Krauser doubled down the right field line. One out later, Miller doubled to right, scoring Krauser and putting the Cougars ahead 2-1.
With the lead it was left to the Cougar bullpen. Starter Jared Prince had his best outing in over a month as he went five and 1/3 innings, allowing one run on four hits. Steve Kost came on to face one batter in the sixth before giving way to freshman Jeremy Johnson. Johnson picked up his first win of the season as he allowed one run, Lane's homer, on two hits over two and 1/3 innings.
Webb came on with one on and two outs in the eighth as he struck out pinch hitter Ryan Anderson to get out of the inning. In all four Cougar pitchers allowed eight hits and just two runs while striking out six.
Offensively, Miller and Krauser each had two hits to lead an eight-hit WSU attack. Miller's two hits also pushed him into ninth place on the Pac-10 all-time list, ahead of former Stanford Cardinal A.J. Hinch.
Lincecum suffered his fourth loss of the season as he fell to 12-4 despite striking out 15 batters. Bradley Boyer and Cory Rickard each had two hits to lead the Huskies.
The Cougars continue their series at Washington Saturday with a 2 p.m. first pitch at Husky Ballpark.