Softball Hosts Final Three Games With Title Hopes Alive
May 6, 2009
All Times Pacific All Games at Husky Softball Stadium
Games available via Gametracker, www.GoHuskies.com
Thursday, May 7
No. 4/5 Washington (39-9, 12-6) vs. No. 2/4 Stanford (44-6, 13-5), 1 p.m.
Live Audio - KKNW 1150 AM
FSN - TV
(Tape-delayed broadcast - Fri., May 8, 1 p.m. & Sat., May 9, 10 a.m.)
Friday, May 8
No. 4/5 Washington vs. No. 12/13 California (34-16, 9-8), 3 p.m.
Live Audio - KKNW 1150 AM
Dawg Pack Friday - Free Food for UW Students
Free Buff Giveaway
Saturday, May 8
No. 4/5 Washington vs. No. 12/13 California, Noon
Senior Day - Free Trading Cards of Husky Seniors
Sunday, May 9
NCAA Selection Show
7 p.m. - ESPNU
The No. 4/5 Washington softball team plays its final three games of the regular season at home this week, starting Thursday with a crucial battle against No. 2/4 Stanford at 1 p.m. The Huskies come into the weekend just a game behind the first-place Cardinal and UCLA, needing all three wins this weekend and a little help to claim its third Pac-10 title. UW will also play No. 12/13 California on Friday at 3 p.m. and Saturday at Noon before finding out their postseason fate on Sunday during the NCAA Selection Show on ESPNU at 7 p.m.
UW needs to win all three games then hope that UCLA and Stanford split Saturday and Sunday, and the Bruins fall Thursday to Cal to win the conference outright. Should UW beat Stanford and the Cardinal sweep UCLA, the Huskies and Cardinal would tie but the Cardinal own the tiebreaker over UW, having won the first two games of the series. The Huskies could also tie UCLA should the Bruins beat Cal and split with the Cardinal, but UCLA also won the first two games of the series in Los Angeles. The Huskies previously won the Pac-10 title in 1996 and shared the title in 2000 with Arizona.
HUSKIES MAKE 2009 TV DEBUT
UW's first TV game of the season takes place this Thursday against Stanford but the game will air tape-delayed on Friday and Saturday in the Northwest. Fox Sports Net will air the game with commentary from Barry Tompkins and Olympic Gold Medalist and former Stanford All-American Jessica Mendoza. Air dates are tentatively scheduled for Friday at 1 p.m. and Saturday at 10 a.m.
FOLLOW THE ACTION LIVE
Two of this week's games will air live on KKNW 1150 AM with Mike Brown and John Cowley calling the action. Thursday's game against Stanford will air live on the radio as will Friday's game versus California. Either turn your dial to 1150 AM or find audio at http://www.newschannel1150.com/.
Saturday's game can be seen via live webcast with audio on the Huskies' official website, www.GoHuskies.com. Additionally, all three games can be followed via Gametracker on GoHuskies.com
BECOME A HUSKY FAN ON FACEBOOK, TWITTER
Fans can follow the Husky softball team and receive updates throughout the season on the UW Softball Twitter page by logging on to www.twitter.com/UWSoftball. The Huskies can also be found on Facebook via the Washington Softball fan page. Search for 'Washington Husky Softball' on Facebook to find the official fan page.
WHAT'S GOING ON
There's more reason to come to Husky Softball Stadium this week than just the exciting action on the field. Friday is Dawg Pack Friday at the stadium, with free food available for all UW students. Additionally, fans will receive a free buff - a type of bandanna - upon entry to the game. Saturday is Senior Day with seven UW players being honored in their final regular season game at Husky Softball Stadium. Free trading cards of the seven seniors will also be given away to those attending the game. Prior to Saturday's game, an auction will be held from 11 a.m.-Noon where fans can purchase the Pink Jerseys worn by Husky softball players last weekend.
The Huskies earned a crucial four-game sweep of their games last week at Husky Softball Stadium to keep their Pac-10 title hopes alive. The week started on Wednesday in a must-win game where UW defeated No. 2 UCLA to earn revenge over the Bruins after they swept the two games between the teams in Los Angeles. The win was even sweeter as Danielle Lawrie no-hit the Bruins in the 3-0 win, becoming the first pitcher to no-hit UCLA since 1998. She struck out eight and was backed by freshman Kimi Pohlman, who laced a three-run double in the fifth inning to break the Huskies' 20-inning scoreless drought against UCLA ace Megan Langenfeld, who suffered her first loss of the season.
UW then took care of business against Oregon State and Oregon, completing sweeps of both schools for the first time since the Pac-10 went to three-game series in 2000. UW held off a pesky Beaver team, 5-2, on Friday and run-ruled Oregon 11-0 on Saturday before completing the weekend sweep with a 8-2 win over the Ducks Sunday. Lawrie won all four games during the week, striking out 46 batters in 26 innings and allowing just two earned runs and 10 total hits. She one-hit Oregon on Sunday and struck out a season-high tying 18 batters, her most in a seven-inning game this season. The effort earned Lawrie her record-breaking sixth Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honor this season. Ashlyn Watson had home runs on both Saturday and Sunday and Ashley Charters stayed hot with six hits in 12 at-bats (.500).
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION:
No. 2/4 Stanford (44-6, 13-5 2009; 49-15, 11-10 2008)
Series vs. UW: Washington leads 34-21
About Stanford: The Cardinal come into the weekend needing two wins to clinch at least a tie for their second Pac-10 title after earning co-champs honors in 2005. Three wins against No. 4/5 Washington and No. 2/4 UCLA would give the Cardinal their first-ever outright Pac-10 title. Senior pitcher Missy Penna won two games last week - a one-hitter against Arizona and a two-hitter against Arizona State - to help Stanford keep its title hopes alive and earned National Player of the Week honors of the process. The Cardinal also got a solid outing from Ashley Chinn on Saturday to earn the three-game sweep over the Arizona schools, their first in school history. Penna went over the 1,200 mark in career Ks over the weekend and improved to 31-4 and lowered her ERA to 1.35. Her 310 strikeouts this season trail only UW's Danielle Lawrie in the conference. Alissa Haber - this week's Pac-10 Player of the Week - and freshman Ashley Hansen continue to lead the Cardinal at the plate, both hitting over .400 with Haber hitting at a .450 clip and Hansen hitting . 406. Catcher Rosey Neill leads Stanford with nine home runs.
Series History: UW and Stanford had two epic duals in Palo Alto to open Pac-10 play back in late March, with Cardinal ace Missy Penna out-dueling Danielle Lawrie both times. The first game was an 11-inning thriller, with Stanford pushing across a run in the bottom of the 11th to win 1-0 despite 16 strikeouts from Lawrie, who also didn't allow a hit until the ninth inning. Penna was equally as tough, however, allowing just six hits and striking out 13. In the second game, Lawrie allowed just two hits in the game but one was a two-run blast by Shannon Koplitz and Penna allowed two hits in her second consecutive shutout over the Huskies. The two wins gave the Cardinal the series win over UW for the second consecutive season
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION:
No. 12/13 California (34-16, 9-8 2009; 43-17, 7-14 2008)
Series vs. UW: California leads 32-28
About California: The Bears are a team not to be overlooked as they have come up with some big wins in Pac-10 play, including taking two-of-three from both conference leaders UCLA and Stanford. The speedy Bears lead the conference with 137 stolen bases, lead by Pac-10 leader Jamia Reid who has swiped 41 bases. Reid's twin Elia has 26 steals of her own while Shannon Thomas has 30. Valerie Arioto has been a force at the plate and in the circle, leading the team with a .352 average and 10 home runs while going 14-6 with a 2.18 ERA. Marissa Drewery has also pitched well for Cal, going 20-10 with a 2.32 ERA and a team-leading 211 strikeouts.
Series History: UW won the first meeting between the two teams in late March in Berkeley, a 9-1 five-inning victory. The Huskies will look to win the season series for the second straight season after winning two-of-three from the Golden Bears last year. UW has won five of the last seven meetings between the teams since a three-game losing streak in 2006. The recent run has closed the gap in the all-time series as UW is just four wins shy of pulling even with Cal.
With a 39-9 mark heading into the weekend, the Huskies have their sights set on just the second 40-win season in the last five seasons, the last coming in 2007 when they won 42 games en route to the Women's College World Series. UW should manage to top that number this season as Heather Tarr looks to reach a career-best number of wins in her five-year tenure at UW.
While nothing is ever guaranteed, the Huskies are well on their way to earning their 16th consecutive NCAA postseason appearance.
HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS
UW remained No. 4 in the NFCA poll this week and No. 5 in the ESPN.com rankings after winning four games last week. The Huskies have been in the nation's top-5 for 11 consecutive weeks since being ranked No. 7 in the NFCA poll on Feb. 17. UW was No. 4 in the all-important RPI rankings last week, which take strength of schedule into account. The Huskies only trail No.1 Florida, No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 UCLA, each of whom they've defeated this season.
The Huskies spent two weeks at the top spot in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 earlier this season after going 5-0 in the Cathedral City Classic, including a 1-0 win over current No.1 Florida. That performance gave the Huskies their first No. 1 ranking since the 2000 season. It was also the first time the Huskies have ever been ranked No. 1 in the ESPN.com poll, which has been in existence since 2003.
BEATING THE BEST
As the 2009 season heads into the postseason next week, UW can feel pretty good about their chances as they've defeated nearly every team in the nation's top-13. The Huskies have played 10 of the ESPN.com Top-13 (excluding themselves, of course) and beaten all but one of those, needing a win over just Stanford to complete the sweep. Danielle Lawrie has all 12 of UW's wins over Top-13 teams, seven of them via shutout.
Of UW's nine losses this season, eight have come against top-10 teams and all but one have come at the opposing team's home field. They lost twice at No. 2 UCLA and No. 4 Stanford and one each at No. 6 Arizona and No. 9 Arizona State. UW also fell to No. 5 Alabama and No. 7 Georgia in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
HOME SWEET HOME
With their 13-0 record at Husky Softball Stadium this season, the Huskies are close to pulling off the first undefeated home season in school history. The 2005 team had the previous best start at home, going 8-0 before the 2009 team has surpassed that mark. The 13-game home winning streak is two shy of the longest home winning streak in school history, a 15-gamer held by the 1996 team. That team went 18-2 overall at home en route to its first World Series appearance.
With 12 wins in conference play this season, UW has equaled the 2007 team with the third-most Pac-10 wins for the Huskies since the conference shifted to a 21-game schedule in 2000. That year, the Huskies won 17 games to tie for the Pac-10 title while the 2002 team won 13 games.
The winner of the ultra-competitive Pac-10 could potentially finish with as few as 15 wins this season, which would be tie for the second-fewest since the Pac-10 went to a 21-game schedule in 2000.
With their 11-0, five-inning win over Oregon last week, UW has now registered three five-inning mercy-rule victories in Pac-10 games this season, two of which have come against top-15 teams in Arizona State and California. It marks the second time UW has won three games in conference play in five innings since the 2000 schedule change and its most overall mercy-rule wins in conference since 2005, when UW won five via the run-rule, three of which also came in five innings.
LAWRIE MAKES HISTORY
With her no-hitter of UCLA last weekend, Danielle Lawrie added to her lengthy resume as she became the first pitcher in NCAA history to no-hit both UCLA and Arizona in the same season. In fact, no pitcher has ever no-hit the two national powers in a career. Lawrie's no-hitter over the Bruins marks just the second time UCLA has ever been held hitless in a Pac-10 game in their illustrious history. The only other time was on May 9, 1998 by Arizona's Nancy Evans. The Wildcats, meanwhile, have been no-hit just four times now in Pac-10 play, including Lawrie's gem earlier this season. They had last been no-hit by any team in the 2000 Women's College World Series by Southern Mississippi's Courtney Blades. Prior to that, Washington's Eve Gaw and Heather Meyer combined to hold the Wildcats hitless in 1996. and they were also held hitless in 1992 and 1988.
Lawrie, who has four no-nos in her career now, is also the first pitcher to throw two no-hitters in Pac-10 play since UCLA's Keira Goerl in 2003 when she held Cal and Stanford hitless. While the feat has happened nine times in Pac-10 history, only Lawrie and Goerl have done it since 1996. Between 1988 and 1995, six different pitchers threw at least two no-hitters in Pac-10 play with Michelle Granger doing it in two different seasons, including 1993 when she threw three in conference games. Dee Dee Weiman also threw three in 1994.
SHUT 'EM DOWN
Danielle Lawrie's no-hitter of UCLA Wednesday was her 17th shutout of the season which broke UW's single-season record. The shutout also gave her 37 for her career, which is just three shy of tying Jennifer Spediacci's all-time record at UW. Lawrie's 17 shutouts ranks second nationally. Lawrie also picked up four wins over the week to give her 30 on the season, which ranks fifth on the single-season charts at UW and fourth nationally. She also ranks fourth in the country in ERA (0.76).
Danielle Lawrie reached another milestone on Sunday during her 18-K performance as she went over the 1,200 mark in career strikeouts, becoming just the 25th pitcher in NCAA to eclipse the mark. She and Stanford's Missy Penna are the only two active pitchers with at least 1,200 career Ks. Lawrie's 1,215 strikeouts ranks sixth in Pac-10 history and 20th in NCAA history, just three strikeouts ahead of Penna on each list.
Lawrie's 18 strikeouts on Sunday also gives her 371 for the season to move just 16 shy of her own No. 2 mark on the UW charts that she set her freshman year. She holds the record with 457 in 2007.
Usually, players see their batting averages slip come conference play but Ashley Charters has been nearly impossible to slow down since Pac-10 play started. The senior is hitting an even .500 in conference play (31x62), hitting safely in 14 of 18 games with 12 of those being multi-hit games. In fact, three of the four games Charters did not get a hit in were against UCLA as Megan Langenfeld held Charters hitless in eight at-bats. Minus those three games, Charters is hitting .574 (31x54) against the other six Pac-10 teams. She hit .524 (11x21) against the Arizona schools and an incredible .667 (14x21) against the Oregon schools. She also hit .500 (6x12) in the first three games against the Bay Area schools and will look to add to that total this weekend.
With a .462 overall average, Charters is threatening to break UW's long-standing single-season average record of .472, set by Angie Marzetta in 1993. She leads the Pac-10 in overall average and ranks seventh nationally while also leading the Pac-10 in conference-only average. The two-time All-American had a career-high 16-game hitting streak earlier this season, which included a stretch of nine consecutive multi-hit games.
MOVING ON UP
With six hits over the weekend, Ashley Charters moved into a tie for second all-time in UW history with 292 hits, moving even with Jaime Clark. Charters needs 27 more to tie the all-time record established by Sara Pickering. Charters also inched closer to the all-time runs record with five over the weekend, giving her 201 compared to all-time leader Clark, who crossed home plate 223 times in her career.
Charters also swiped three bases last week to give her 31 on the season which moves her into the No. 10 spot on the UW single-season list where she appears three times. Her high was 36 in 2007. Her career mark of 127 puts her sixth in Pac-10 history.
MORE ON LAWRIE
It's easy to lose track of how many accomplishments Lawrie has this season. To sum up, she has two no-hitters, four one-hitters and 10 two-hitters... She has 17 shutouts, 11 of which have come against teams ranked at the time... Among the team's she has shutout: No. 1 Florida, No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 Alabama, No. 6 Michigan, No. 7 Georgia, No. 8 Arizona and No. 10 Ohio State... Of those shutouts, four have also been extra-inning wins over ranked teams at the time (Florida, Ohio State, Baylor, Fresno State)... Lawrie has won a Pac-10-record six Pitcher of the Week awards... She's been named the NFCA and USA Today National Player of the Week... She's broken the UW career strikeout mark this season..,. She's gone over the 1,000 and 1,200 career marks this season... She had a 64.1 scoreless innings streak and streak of 90.0 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run... She has 20 double-digit K performances including two 18-K games, one in seven innings (vs. Oregon) and one in 11 innings (vs. Fresno State).
WATSON HEATING UP AGAIN
After going homerless in the first 16 games of conference play, Ashlyn Watson seems to be heating up again just at the right time. Watson belted two home runs last weekend and a third caromed off the top of the wall on Friday to give her nine home runs, 31 RBI and eight doubles this season, all of which are career-highs. While she hadn't hit a home run in 21 games, Watson never lost her consistency at the plate as she's third on the team with a .371 average and has hit safely in 34 of 46 games, including 12 of 18 Pac-10 games.
Watson's two home runs last weekend give her 22 for her career which moves her into UW's all-time top 10. She also hit her fifth sacrifice fly of the season which ties for fifth on UW's single-season charts, two shy of the all-time record, and the mark also ties for the conference lead and ranks tied for second nationally.
It's been a breakout season for Watson - a career .219 hitter before this season - who is making the most of her first healthy season. She has risen to the occasion against some of the toughest pitching in the country, batting .438 (7x16) in the Cathedral City Classic, including a 2-for-4 effort against All-American Stacey Nelson of Florida. In the Easton SEC/Pac-10/Big 12 Challenge against three ranked teams, Watson hit safely in every game, batting .533 (8x15) with two doubles, two home runs and two RBI along with three multi-hit games. Both of her home runs came in UW's 2-0 win over No. 7/8 Georgia.
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