Georgia Overcomes UW, Williams To Force Deciding Game
May 31, 2009
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - Despite two home runs and a Women's College World Series record seven RBI from freshman Niki Williams, the Washington Huskies fell to Georgia, 9-8, in a wild World Series game Sunday at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
The win by Georgia, which was facing elimination, forces a deciding game tonight at approximately 8 p.m. CT with the winner advancing to the Women's College World Series championship series which starts Monday.
Williams belted a three-run home run in the second inning to give UW a 3-0 lead and also hit a grand slam to tie the game at 8-8 in the fifth inning after Georgia came back to score two in the second, two in the third and four in the fourth to overcome a 4-0 deficit. Morgan Stuart also went 5-for-5 to tie a Women's College World Series and school postseason record for hits in game, but UW made a season-high four errors as the Bulldogs plated two unearned runs.
Georgia used a combination of four pitchers and made five pitching changes in a game that lasted four hours and 15 minutes. It was ultimately Erin Arevalo who shut the Huskies down, allowing no runs in four innings to earn the victory to improve to 2-0. Danielle Lawrie was touched up for a career-high nine runs - seven earned - on nine hits while striking out nine to fall to 39-8.
UW meanwhile, out-hit the Bulldogs, 13-9, but they weren't able to make the most of their opportunities. They lost for the first time in 40 games this season when they scored the first run of the game.
The Huskies jumped out to a 4-0 lead after a three-run home run by Williams in the second that chased started Sarah McCloud. Stuart led off the inning with a single to right field and after Alicia Blake moved her to second with a perfect sac bunt, Williams came up and blasted her fourth home run of the season over the season that cleared the centerfield bleachers.
The Bulldogs came right back in the bottom of the inning, however, to score a couple runs on three hits. After Megan Wiggins was hit by a pitch to start the inning, Georgia got back-to-back singles and a sacrifice fly to make it 3-2. After another single put runners on the corners with two outs, Lawrie got a pop out for the second out and then Alyson McWherter made a fabulous running catch in right-center at the fence to end the inning.
UW got one of the runs back in the top of the third, getting a lucky break with two outs. After Lawrie reached on a two-out walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch, Stuart lift a pop-up into shallow left which dropped between the leftfielder, centerfielder and shortstop, allowing Lawrie to score UW's fourth run. The Huskies looked like they might add another two runs when Blake sent a ball well over the right field foul poul, but the ball was called foul despite landing on the extended foul line beyond the fence. Blake came back and bounced a single up the middle, but reliever Taylor Schlopy retired the next batter to end the rally.
Georgia tied the game up in the bottom of the inning when Kristin Schnake reached on an error and Alisa Goler launched a home run to leftfield to make it 4-4.
The Huskies had an opportunity to take the lead back in the top of the fourth when they loaded the bases on three walks, but Georgia brought ace Christie Hamilton into the game, who got Lawrie to fly out to left to end the inning.
The Bulldogs then jumped on Lawrie for four runs in the fourth inning, the big blow coming on a two-run home run by Schnake, which made the score 8-4.
But UW wouldn't quit, getting all four runs back in the very next inning, all coming on a grand slam by Williams, who broke World Series records for RBI in a game (7) and a series (9) with her second home run of the game. Stuart led off the inning with her third single of the game and Ashlyn Watson also singled with one out before Lauren Greer drew a walk to load the bases. Williams then stepped up a launched a ball over the left field wall this time to give her a career-high seven RBI in the game, tying the UW postseason record.
Lawrie then came out for the fifth with her eye black and her game face on and it work as she got her first 1-2-3 inning since the first inning to keep Georgia off the board for the first time in four innings. She also went on to retire 14 in a row - including six by strikeout - until the Bulldogs get a single to lead off the ninth.
The Huskies had a chance to break through in the eighth when Stuart ripped a double to right-center for her fifth hit of the game, tying a Women's College World Series record. Blake then lined a single up the middle and pinch-runner Amanda Fleischman came steaming around the bases, but Schlopy made a perfect throw home from centerfield to gun her down and keep the game tied.
But the Bulldogs never stopped pushing Lawrie, getting a leadoff single in the ninth before another run reached on an error with one out. After Lawrie allowed her first intentional walk of the season to Goler to load the bases, she got a foul pop-up to Williams at first to put UW on the verge of escaping. Instead, Brianna Hesson worked the count full before drawing a walk to end the game.
● After going 81 at-bats between her second and third home runs this season, Williams went just four at-bats between her third and fourth. She had not hit a home run since Feb. 27 prior to the College World Series. She had two home runs in her first 110 at-bats this season then hit three home runs in eight at-bats.
● Williams grand slam was just the third in Women's College World Series history.
● The Bulldogs made five pitching changes in the game, using four different pitchers, which ties the Women's College World Series record.
● Today's game will re-air on ESPNU at Monday morning at 3 a.m. PT.
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