Alabama Hands Huskies First Loss
March 6, 2009
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The No. 1/3 Washington Husky softball split a pair of games in the Easton SEC/Pac-10/Big 12 Challenge Friday, squeaking by No. 24 Baylor, 1-0, in eight innings before dropping their first game of the season, 6-0, to No. 3/1 Alabama at the Alabama Softball Complex.
The Huskies extended their best-ever start to 18-0 with an exciting win over the Bears in the first game, scoring the winning run on a bases-loaded passed ball in the bottom of the eighth for their third 1-0 extra-inning win this season. Danielle Lawrie got the victory for the Huskies, improving to 13-0 with her eighth shutout of the season.
Lawrie rested in the second game and freshman Felecia Harris got the start against the Tide, who are ranked No. 1 in the NFCA/USA Today Top 25. The Huskies are the top team in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll.
In the first game, the Huskies overcame a 15-strikeout performance by Baylor freshman phenom Whitney Canion, finally breaking through in the first extra inning.
Lawrie didn't have her normal overpowering stuff, allowing a season-high five hits and striking out just seven, but after working in and out of trouble through the first five innings, she settled down to retire the final 11 batters of the game.
The Huskies rallied in the eighth when Harris led off with a single. Junior Bailey Stenson then reached on a fielder's choice and stole second to give UW just its second runner in scoring position of the afternoon. Marnie Koziol and Kimi Pohlman followed with back-to-back infield singles to load the bases.
With two outs and Alicia Blake at the plate - the Huskies hottest hitter - Canion threw a pitch on the inside corner which bounced off the Bears' catchers' shin guard and got far enough away to allow Stenson to slide in with the winning.
With the win, Lawrie improved to 13-0 and extended her streak of consecutive innings without allowing an earned run to 74.1.
Freshman Kimi Pohlman and senior Ashlyn Watson combined to collect five of UW's seven hits in the game, with Pohlman going 3-for-4 for her first career three-hit game. Watson went 2-for-4 with a double to increase her team-leading average to .457.
The Bears had at least one runner in scoring position in each of the first five innings, including having two runners on base with less than two outs three times. Lawrie escaped a two-on, one out jam in the second and a second-and-third with one out jam in the fourth. The Bears then loaded the bases with one out in the fifth on a hit, a walk and a hit batter, but Lawrie retired the next two batters on a strikeout and a fielder's choice to escape. She did not a low a base runner over the final three innings.
In the night cap, the Crimson Tide jumped out for six runs in the first four innings and cruised in front of a record crowd of 2,661 fans. Alabama got on the board in the first inning on an RBI single by Amanda Locke then broke the game open with a four-spot in the third inning, two of which were unearned. The big blast came on a two-run home run by clean up hitter Whitney Larsen.
Alabama tacked on another run in the fourth before Harris settled down to retire seven of the final eight batters she faced.
Alabama's All-American Kelsi Dunne shut the Huskies down on two hits, with Watson and Alicia Blake collecting UW's only hits.
The Huskies and Crimson Tide will face off again Saturday at 11:30 a.m. PT. UW will first meet No. 11/12 Georgia at 9 a.m. PT.