Softball Blanks Iowa, 11-0, To Advance To Regional Final

May 17, 2003

LINCOLN, Neb. - The No. 1-seed Washington softball team (45-14-1) overwhelmed No. 3 seed Iowa (43-14) with 11 hits for 11 runs to invoke the mercy rule for the second consecutive game. The 11-0 win, Washington's ninth mercy ruling of the season, propels the Huskies into the NCAA Region No. 5 Championship game on Sunday versus the winner of tonight's Nebraska/Iowa elimination game. Game time is slated for 11 a.m. (PT).

The Huskies and Hawkeyes each threatened in the first inning with two hits apiece but were unable to score a run.

Washington broke open the game in the third, falling just short of yesterday's eight-run inning against Mississippi State with seven runs. Jaime Clark got the rally started with a RBI single to centerfield that scored Rita Roach who had reached base on a fielder's choice. Kristen Rivera followed with a home run over the right field fence to score two more.

Iowa made a pitching change, replacing starter Ali Arnold with Lisa Birocci but the Huskies proceeded to load the bases with three straight walks. Iowa yanked Birocci and put Arnold back in the circle and Aimee Minor welcomed her with a two-run single. Minor advanced to third on the play when the left fielder overthrew the catcher and scored on an error by the first baseman to put UW on top, 7-0.

Washington added two more runs in the fourth inning with Kathy Fiske's 11th home run of the season. The blast scored Rivera who had drawn a leadoff walk.

Tia Bollinger kept the Hawkeyes off balance in the second, third and fourth innings, sitting Iowa down in order.

The Huskies pushed their lead to 11 in the fifth frame as Rivera hit her second opposite field home run of the day. The hit scored Clark who had reached on a fielder's choice and brought Rivera's season total to 24 home runs, which ties the all-time Washington single-season record.

Ashley Boek closed out the game for Washington in the fifth, forcing a pop-up and ground out, while striking out one.

Bollinger (26-9) earned the win as she held Iowa to two hits and struck out four. Arnold (14-6) took the loss as she gave up 11 hits and seven earned runs, while striking out just one.

Washington will make its eighth appearance in a NCAA Tournament Regional Final on Sunday, most recently in 2001. The winner of the regional tournament will be the No. 5 seed at the CWS.

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