Game One Goes To The Dawgs
June 1, 2009
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - The No. 3 Washington Husky softball team is one win away from its first-ever national championship after defeating No. 1 Florida, 8-0, in a surprising blowout in game one of the best-of-three Championship Series in the Women's College World Series.
USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Danielle Lawrie fired her second two-hit shutout over the Gators this season and the Huskies posted the most runs off Florida in more than two years to put themselves one step away from the national championship. The victory for UW (50-12) snapped the Gators 29-game winning streak and drops them to 63-4.
For the second time this year, Lawrie (41-8) out-dueled Florida ace Stacey Nelson (41-4), who was touched up for six runs, four of which were earned for a season high. The Gators have lost just four times all season, but two of those have come at the hands of Lawrie. She held the Gators to two infield singles in UW's 1-0 win in nine innings in the Cathedral City Classic back in February, striking out 12 in that game. She was just as dominating the second time around, striking out a dozen again and allowing singles in the third and sixth innings against a Florida lineup that has scored all their runs via the home run in the Women's College World Series.
The offense, meanwhile, continued to set all kinds of records. Senior Ashley Charters led the way, going 3-for-3 with two runs and two RBI, including a two-run home run in the sixth inning which put the game away. Her three hits give her 95 on the season to break Angie Marzetta's longstanding single-season record established in 1993, the first year of the program.
Morgan Stuart went 1-for-3 with a two-run double, giving her a World Series-record four two-baggers this week. She also has 10 hits in the series, which leads all players. Charters is right behind with nine hits while Kimi Pohlman has eight as the Huskies - a team that struggled with consistency on offense all season - lead the World Series in average.
UW set the tone from the first inning even though they were unable to push across a run. Charters led off the game by slapping a high chopper to Nelson and beating the throw for the first hit of the championship series. Pohlman then reached on a two-base error which sent Charters to third, putting two runners in scoring position with no outs. But Nelson was able to work her way out of the jam, getting a ground ball to the second baseman, who threw Charters out at home, followed by a strikeout and a ground out.
Lawrie made a statement from the get-go herself, showing no signs of fatigue after throwing 15 innings and nearly 300 pitches in two games on Sunday. She stuck out the first three Gators of the game, showing her full array of pitches. Lawrie got leadoff hitter Aja Paculba swinging on a rise ball, Tiffany DeFelice looking on a curve and Francesca Enea looking on a wicked change-up.
After the Huskies went down in order in the second, UW flashed some leather in Florida's half of the inning to keep the game scoreless. The Gators got their first base runner aboard on a one-out walk, but Lawrie got Sunday night's hero Ali Gardiner - who hit a walk-off grand slam to defeat Alabama - to ground into a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play. It was the third double play of the series for UW, which turned a Pac-10-low eight in the regular season.
UW used that momentum to break through for four runs in the third, all of which came on one bizarre play. The Huskies loaded the bases with nobody out when Niki Williams drew a leadoff walk, Charters singled and Pohlman reached on a fielder's choice. Jenn Salling then lined a single up the middle, which plated Williams and Charters, who snuck in with a slide just around the catcher. Florida's catcher then tried to get Pohlman at second, who had taken a big turn, but her throw went over both the second baseman and the centerfielder backing up the play, sending both Pohlman and Salling home.
The Huskies extended the lead to 6-0 in the fifth on a two-out, two-run double by Stuart, who continued to be the hottest hitter in the Women's College World Series. Charters' drew UW's second leadoff walk of the game but after back-to-back fielder's choice put outs it looked like the Gators might escape. Instead, Lawrie extended the inning with a line single up the middle to put two on with two outs. Stuart then launched a deep drive to center that bounced off the wall, scoring both Salling and Lawrie easily.
Florida changed pitchers in the sixth but UW greeted new pitcher Stephanie Brombacher - who is 42-0 in her career - with another two runs as Charters ripped her ninth home run of the season and UW's sixth of the College World Series, scoring Lauren Greer, who walked with one out.
Lawrie took care of the rest, cruising in the circle while the Huskies were piling up runs. She retired nine out of 10 after the single in the third before the Gators put two runners on in the sixth on a walk and a single. But Lawrie induced a pop-up to short and struck out her 11th of the game to end the threat.
The junior then made quick work of the Gators in the seventh, ending the game with her 12th strikeout to give her 513 on the season, just nine shy of the Pac-10 record.
The Huskies will have two chances to win the National Championship, starting Tuesday at 7 p.m. CT at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. If a third game is necessary, it will take place Wednesday at 7 p.m. CT. Tuesday's game will air live on ESPN2.
● The double gave Stuart not only a Women's College World Series record four this week but also gave her 17 total bases, the second most in a series all-time, just two shy of the record. She is 10-for-18 with five RBI this week. She has a team-high 16 doubles this season, which ranks tied for seventh on the UW single-season charts.
● The loss was Florida's worst since March 3, 2007 when they fell to UCLA, 10-2.