Huskies Gearing Up For Super Regional Battle
May 21, 2009
ATLANTA SUPER REGIONALS
Mewborn Field Atlanta, Georgia
GAME SCHEDULE (All Times Eastern)
Saturday, May 23
No. 3/4 Washington (44-11) vs. No. 14/17 Georgia Tech (46-13)
12:00 p.m. ET
Sunday, May 24
No. 3/4 Washington vs. No. 14/17 Georgia Tech
1:00 p.m. ET
If Necessary Game
3:30 p.m. ET
The No. 3 Washington Husky softball team will look for their ninth Women's College World Series berth and their second in the last three seasons when they take on No. 14/17 Georgia Tech at Mewborn Field in Atlanta, Ga., this weekend in the NCAA Super Regionals. The teams will play a best-of-three games series with the first game taking place Saturday at Noon ET and the second game starting Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. Should a third game be necessary, it will take place at 3:30 p.m. ET. All three games can be seen live on ESPN and ESPN360.com.
The Huskies, who are making their 16th consecutive potseason appearance and fourth Super Regional appearance in the last five years, are looking to get back to the Women's College World Series for the first time since 2007. The Yellow Jackets, meanwhile, are making their first-ever Super Regional appearance and will look to earn their first trip to the Women's College World Series.
TOURNAMENT AT A GLANCE
The Huskies are one of 11 seeded teams to escape from their Regional to advance to the Super Regionals. They are also one of six Pac-10 teams to advance to Super Regionals as all six teams that made it into the NCAA Tournament made it past the first round. Two of those Pac-10 teams - Arizona and Stanford - are matched up in the Super Regionals. The biggest upsets took place in the Norman, Okla., region where North Dakota State upset No. 7 Oklahoma in their first-ever trip to the NCAA Division I softball tournament. Jacksonville State also pulled a big upset, winning two games from No. 13 Tennessee on Sunday to advance to their first Super Regional. The Pac10 leads the way with their six teams followed by the SEC with three teams left (Alabama, Georgia, Florida) and the Big 12 with two teams (Baylor, Missouri).
HAVE SEED, WILL TRAVEL
The Huskies were able to escape from a difficult regional in Amherst, Mass., where they had to overcome a tough UMass team on their home filed, which featured three-time All-American pitcher Brandice Balschmiter. The Huskies weren't the only seeded team who faced the tough task of traveling for their Regional but they were one of only three lucky teams to escape. No. 6 Georgia and No. 9 Arizona also had to travel, going to Chapel Hill, N.C., and Louisville, Ky., respectively, both advancing with no problem. No. 12 Northwestern and No. 15 DePaul were not so fortunate, however, as Baylor was able to advance at home in the Waco Regional to eliminate Northwestern, while Missouri also won on their home field in Columbia, Mo., to knock out DePaul.
The Huskies are, however, the only seeded team in Super Regionals that will not host the weekend series. Due to Husky Softball Stadium not having lights and ESPN's request for stadiums with lights, the Yellow Jackets will host the Huskies this weekend.
FOLLOW THE ACTION LIVE
ESPN will air all three games of the Atlanta Super Regional and all three games can also be viewed on ESPN360.com's simulcast. Additionally, all of this weekend's games and the remainder of the 2009 postseason will air live on KKNW 1150 AM with Mike Brown and John Cowley calling the action. Either turn your dial to 1150 AM or find audio at http://www.newschannel1150.com/. Additionally, all games this postseason can be followed via Gametracker on GoHuskies.com
REGIONAL TICKET INFORMATION
Tickets are now on sale for the Atlanta Super Regional in Atlanta, Ga., on the campus of Georgia Tech University.Admission each day is $10 for reserved chair-back seating, $7 for general admission bench seating and $5 for students. Tickets can be purchased in advance online by following the link below:
Tickets purchased in advance can be picked up all week at the Georgia Tech Athletic Association Ticket Office which is located at the corner of Techwood Drive and Bobby Dodd Way or at the Mewborn Field Ticket Booths on the day of game. Fans can also purchase tickets in person at the ticket office or over the phone by calling 1-888-TECH-TIX, but are encouraged to buy them in advance as sell-out crowds are expected. Once all the seats have been sold, standing room only tickets will be made available.
BECOME A HUSKY FAN ON FACEBOOK, TWITTER
Fans can follow the Husky softball team and receive updates throughout the postseason 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.
The Huskies had a tough road to the Super Regionals, having to travel east to play a very talented No. 21 UMass team in Amhert, Mass., and it took a monumental performance by Danielle Lawrie for the Huskies to escape. After having a relatively easy time in their opening game against Sacred Heart, earning a 9-1 five-inning victory, UW had their first showdown with the Minutewomen and their ace, Brandice Balschmiter. UW escaped with a huge victory to advance to the championship round, getting a 12-strikeout performance from Lawrie and a 3-for-4 effort from Ashley Charters to earn a 3-1 win, getting two runs in the bottom of the sixth.
On Sunday, the Minutewomen got to Lawrie for two home runs - the first team all year to hit two long balls in a game off the junior - to force an if-game with a 5-1 win. That 'if game' turned out to be one of the greatest games in recent NCAA postseason history with the teams dueling for five hours and 13 minutes. After UW scored in the first and UMass answered in the fourth to tie the game at 1-1, Balschmiter and Lawrie threw 10 straight scoreless innings. After robbed home runs, plays at the plate and key strikeouts by both All-Americans, the Huskies finally broke through for five runs - all with two outs - in the 15th inning and Lawrie held off the middle of the UMass lineup to give UW a thrilling 5-1 victory in the longest game in both UW and UMass' history.
Lawrie struck out a school-record 24 in the game while Balschmiter sat down 14 Husky hitters. The 38 combined strkeouts marked the fifth-most in NCAA history. Lawrie became just the third Pac-10 pitcher and 15th in NCAA history with at least 24 Ks in a game. She struck out UMass' leadoff hitter and Atlantic-10 Player of the Year Carly Normandin six times in the game.
HUSKY POSTSEASON HISTORY
The Huskies are making their 16th-straight NCAA Tournament appearance, missing out only during their inaugural season in 1993. UW has also advanced to the Super Regionals in four of the last five years since the field expanded in 2005 to include a second round.
Washington has a 65-30 record in postseason (47-12 Regionals/3-4 Super Regionals/15-14 WCWS) and has advanced to the Women's College World Series eight times (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2007). The Huskies advanced to the national championship game in both 1996 and 1999. Their 16-straight tournament appearances is tied for the fifth-longest active streak with Oklahoma, while their 65 wins in the tournament are fifth-best in NCAA history. Their eight WCWS appearances are tied for the fifth-most in history with Michigan, and they also are tied with Oklahoma for the fifth-best all-time streak of consecutive WCWS appearances (1996-2000).
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION:
No. 14/17 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
46-13 Overall, 17-3 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)
2008 - 32-31, 9-11 (NCAA Regionals)
Series vs. UW: Washington leads, 1-0
About Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets are making their first appearance in the Super Regionals after winning the Atlanta Regional last week, defeating Boston, 5-1, and Auburn, 4-1, before defeating Boston again in the Regional Championship game, 7-2. The Yellow Jackets won the ACC Tournament with a 3-1 win over Florida State to capture their third conference crown. Sophomore pitcher Kristen Adkins was named the MVP of the tournament.
Georgia Tech is led by senior first baseman Whitney Haller and junior second baseman Jen Yee, who were both named First Team All-ACC and All Southeast Region. Haller is hitting .383 with 12 home runs and a team-high 55 RBI while Yee, a Canadian National Team member with Huskies Danielle Lawrie and Jenn Salling, leads the squad with a .421 average and team-best 15 home runs. Second Team All-ACC pitcher/third baseman Tiffany Johnson owns a 14-3 record and 1.92 ERA along with a .295 average and 11 home runs while Adkins leads the staff with a 24-7 record and .148 ERA. Kelse Weseman was named ACC Freshman of Year after batting .406.
Common Opponents: Florida (L, 11-1); Loyola Marymount (W, 5-0); Oregon (L, 3-0); Oregon State (W, 6-0); Florida State (W, 8-3; W, 3-0; L, 5-4; W, 3-0); Georgia (L, 7-5); Alabama (L, 8-0; L, 10-0).
Series History: The Huskies and Yellow Jackets have faced each other just one other time and it came in the NCAA Postseason. UW defeated Georgia Tech, 2-0, in the 2004 Regionals in Athens, Ga.
HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS
UW moved up to No. 3 in the NFCA poll and No. 4 in the ESPN.com rankings prior to the NCAA Postseason which is the final poll released before the conclusion of the Women's College World Series. The Huskies have been in the nation's top-5 for 12 consecutive weeks now since being ranked No. 7 in the NFCA poll on Feb. 17. UW was No. 3 in the final RPI ranking, which took strength of schedule into account, thus leading to their No. 3 overall seed in the tournament.
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
With the 2009 season down to just 16 teams, UW can feel pretty good about their chances as they've played 11 of the 15 other teams remaining and defeated all of them. UW has defeated eight of the nine teams in the nation's Top-10 excluding themselves, including handing No. 1 Florida one of their three losses. Below is a look at UW's wins over current Super Regional teams. Danielle Lawrie has won all 14 of those games, nine of them via shutout.
LAWRIE NAMED PLAYER OF THE YEAR FINALIST
Washington junior pitcher Danielle Lawrie was named one of three players this week as finalists for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award, the most prestigious honor in Division I softball. Lawrie, who joins Florida's Stacey Nelson and Arizona State's Kaitlin Cochran, boasts a 35-7 record, a 0.86 ERA and 454 strikeouts facing some of the toughest teams in the nation all season long. The only non-senior of the three finalists, she has 18 shutouts and two no-hitters this season.
Both Lawrie and Ashley Charters were on the initial 50-player watch list and were also both on the list of 25 players recently released. Two weeks ago, the list was narrowed down to 10 players, each from a different school. The winner will be announced prior to the start of the Women's College World Series.
Danielle Lawrie put together one of the most courageous pitching performances in NCAA history last week, willing her team to win in a 15-inning, winner-take-all Regional final game. After throwing 144 pitches in a losing effort to UMass in Sunday's first game - in which she struck out eight batters - Lawrie came right back and threw 251 pitches and established a new career high with 24 strikeouts to lead UW to an incredible 6-1 win in 15 innings.
All told, Lawrie threw 395 pitches over seven hours and 49 minutes in the two games Sunday. She struck out 32 UMass batters in the two games and allowed just 14 hits in 22 innings. She is one of 15 players in NCAA history with at least 24 Ks in game and one of just three Pac-10 pitchers. Just one other pitcher has ever struck out as many as 24 in a postseason game.
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