Northwestern Nips No. 4 Softball, 6-5

March 7, 2003

PLANT CITY, Fla. - The No. 4-ranked Washington softball team (19-1-1) suffered its first loss of the season Friday with a 6-5 stumble to Northwestern at the Speedline Invitational. The loss snaps a 20-game unbeaten streak, as Washington becomes the last of the nation's top 25 to be defeated in 2003.

The Huskies got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning with two hits and an error. Junior Amanda Oleson (Agoura Hills, Calif.) led off the game with a double into left field and scored on an error by the first baseman.

The Wildcats pulled even in the top of the second inning and took a one-run lead in the third. NU mustered two hits over the two frames and took advantage of four Husky errors for the 3-1 edge.

Washington battled back in the bottom of the third inning with three runs on three hits and a Northwestern error. Kristen Rivera (Perris, Calif.) kicked off the rally, reaching base on an error by the short stop. Kathy Fiske (Temecula, Calif.) then laced a double into right field to put runners on second and third and freshman Dena Tyson (Corona, Calif.) crushed a three-run home run over the center field fence to give the Huskies the 4-3 lead.

Northwestern refused to roll over, however, regaining the lead in the top of the fourth with a pair of runs. Robyn Pettinger led off the inning with a single to right center and J.C. Kira drew a walk to put runners on first and second. Brett Nakabayshi then hit a line drive into the right centerfield gap, scoring two runs to get NU back on top, 5-3.

UW scored one run in the fifth inning to tie the score at five. Freshman Sarah Hyatt (Sedro-Woolley, Wash.) sent a screaming ground ball down the left field line to start the Washington rally. Megan Owen (Spokane, Wash.) followed with a triple to centerfield, which scored Hyatt.

The Wildcats scored the game-winner in the top of the seventh inning on two hits and Washington's fifth error of the game. NU put the go-ahead run on third base with a one out triple by Carri Leto. UW hurler Ashley Boek (Redding, Calif.) got the second out with a pop-up to the mound and worked Jamie Dotson to a 2-2 count. Dotson then hit the ball down the left field line to score Leto and give Northwestern the 6-5 victory.

Hyatt reached base in the bottom of the seventh with a one-out single down the left field line and was replaced by pinch runner Traci Tawney (Fall City, Wash.). Aimee Minor (San Jacinto, Calif.) sacrificed Tawney to second base but the Huskies were unable to score as a pop-up ended the game. Washington stranded a total of 10 base runners in the game.

Boek (9-1) took the tough loss, scattering five hits and two runs over four innings, while striking out four.

Washington looks to redeem itself tonight with a 6 p.m. (EST) game versus Ball State.

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