Big Ten Sweep Eliminates Husky Softball From Postseason

May 18, 2002

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Top-seeded Washington dropped a pair of one-run games Saturday to Big Ten schools, eliminating the Huskies from the 2002 NCAA tournament.

Eleventh-ranked Michigan (49-9) handed No. 6 Washington (46-18) a 6-5 defeat in the day's first contest, dropping the Huskies into a loser-out matchup with 20th-ranked Ohio State. The Buckeyes (55-13) scored just twice in the nightcap, but held Washington to just one run, and advance to face the host Wolverines in the championship game Sunday.

Junior Jaime Clark homered twice in the opener, her 18th and 19th blasts of the season. The first, which nearly struck the scoreboard an estimated 250 feet from home plate, put Washington up 1-0 in the first on Michigan's 27-game winner, Marissa Young.

Young and Huskies' starter Tia Bollinger matched each other pitch-for-pitch through the next two innings, with neither allowing a run. Michigan finally went on the board in the fourth when Stephanie Volpe scored on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by shortstop Jessica Merchant.

Washington freshman Kathy Fiske doubled to start off the bottom of the fourth, but Young extinguished the Huskies' threat by inducing outs from each of the next three batters.

Consecutive singles by Michigan's first three hitters in the fifth loaded the bases, then Bollinger walked Volpe to force in a run and put the Wolverines ahead, 2-1. Freshman Leslie Scott was brought in to replace Bollinger, and earned two quick outs before working first baseman Melinda Moulden into a 1-2 hole. The Michigan slugger turned on Scott's next pitch, however, drilling it into the bullpen in left field for a grand slam and staking Michigan to a 6-1 lead.

An RBI double by Fiske brought home sophomore Amanda Oleson in the sixth, and Clark added her second home run of the game with two on and one out in the seventh, driving Young's first offering over the bleachers in right-center field to cut the Wolverines' lead to one, 6-5. Young settled down, however, retiring catcher Kristen Rivera on a fly ball to left and striking out Oleson to end the game.

The loss put Washington in a loser-out game with Ohio State, which started ominously when Buckeyes' rightfielder Wendy Allen tripled off Huskies' freshman Ashley Boek, who was nearly flawless in a 4-1 victory over Central Michigan on Friday. On the play, Clark threw the ball past the bag at third, allowing Allen to score and put Ohio State up, 1-0.

The Buckeyes added another run in the third when centerfielder Anna Smith tripled home pinch-runner Meghan Rowlands. Oleson's third homer of the season, a solo shot in the fourth, brought the Huskies within one, but Ohio State junior Katie Chain kept Washington off the board otherwise, holding UW to just 1-for-6 hitting with runners in scoring position.

The games were the last for senior Becky Simpson, who went 2-for-4 against Ohio State in her final game as a Husky.

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