No. 3 Huskies Win 1-0 Thriller Over No. 2 Florida
Feb. 20, 2009
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - In a potential Women's College World Series preview featuring arguably the two greatest pitchers in college softball, the No. 3 Washington Husky softball team edged No. 2 Florida, 1-0, in a nine-inning thriller Friday in the Cathedral City Classic.
The win gave UW an 11-0 record, the best start in program history. Florida, which won an NCAA-record 70 games last season before falling in the College World Series semifinals, fell to 11-2.
The Huskies' Danielle Lawrie and Florida's Stacey Nelson, both First Team All-Americans, lived up to their hype as each was in command for the entire game until the Huskies finally broke through in the ninth inning.
The teams went to the international tiebreaker rule starting with the eighth inning, in which a runner is placed on second base to start the inning. After both teams failed to score in the eighth inning, Amanda Fleischman went to second to start the ninth and freshman Kimi Pohlman stepped up to face Nelson, who had allowed just three hits and struck out nine through eight innings.
But the pressure didn't get to Pohlman, who swung at the first pitch she saw and drove a line-drive single to left-centerfield, sending Fleischman home to put UW up 1-0.
Lawrie, having allowed just one hit through eight innings, went back to the circle to face the Gators' 2-3-4 hitters with their speedy leadoff hitter Kristine Priebe on second. Florida's first batter of the inning reached on a bunt single, putting runners at the corners with no outs. But Lawrie struck out All-American Ali Gardiner and Fleischman followed with a big play at third, snagging a hard shot down the line and throwing out Priebe at home.
With runners on second and third and two outs, Lawrie fittingly struck out Corrie Brooks to end the game, putting the finishing touches on the two-hit shutout. She struck out 12 batters, an impressive performance against a team which came into the weekend batting .367.
Nelson was equally impressive, allowing a single to senior Alicia Blake in the first inning then retiring 16 consecutive batters before Bailey Stenson led off the seventh inning with a single. Stenson laid down a perfect bunt in front of home plate and beat the throw, which went over the head of Florida's first baseman and Stenson tried to advance to second, but Florida's right fielder made a perfect throw to gun down the junior.
Lawrie, meanwhile, worked out of trouble in the first inning. She walked two batters but the Huskies got a break when Florida tried a double steal with runners on first and third and the Huskies caught the runner at third in a rundown and tagged her out to escape the jam.
Lawrie then allowed just one hit and one walk over the next five innings. She finished with 12 strikeouts in a game for the fourth time this season.
'The biggest thing that stands out is that we've been waiting all year to play a really competitive game like this and it was nice to see our team come through under pressure,' Husky head coach Heather Tarr said. 'The team played great behind Danielle. She kept us in the game long enough to beat a good team in Florida. It was nice to have the bottom of the order come up big in the ninth inning. Good things are going to happen when your freshman can contribute.
'Good pitching will be good hitting, you saw it with Nelson shutting us down pretty well,' Tarr continued. 'Danielle and Alicia had a good game plan and they made the adjustments they needed to make along the way and found a way to execute against a great hitting team.'
The Huskies return to action Saturday to face Mississippi at 6 p.m. PT.
Legendary Husky football coach Don James, who lives near Palm Springs, was in attendance to support the Huskies at both games, including UW's 1-0 victory which gave the Huskies 11-0. James' 1991 Husky team went 12-0 in capturing the programs only National Championship.