Lawrie Homers Late, Huskies Hold Off Sun Devils, 5-4

May 14, 2010

TEMPE, Ariz. - Danielle Lawrie hit a seventh-inning home run that turned out to be the game-winner, then held off No. 10 Arizona State in the bottom of the inning, leading the No. 1 Washington softball team to a 5-4 win over the Sun Devils Friday at Farrington Stadium.

Lawrie, who improved to 34-2 on the year, hit her third home run in four games after going 21 games without a long ball. The Huskies were leading 4-3 in the top of the seventh when the senior launched a drive over the right-centerfield wall to make it 5-3, her 14th of the year.

The Sun Devils would then cut the lead to one in the bottom of the seventh when Katie Crabb hit a home run of her own, but after a walk put the tying run on base, Lawrie induced a pop out then struck out the next batter while Shawna Wright threw out pinch-runner Lacy Goodman for the game-ending, strike-`em-out, throw-`em-out double play.

With the win, the Huskies improved to 44-6 overall and 16-4 in conference play, one shy of their most wins in conference play since it shifted to three-game series in 2000. The win also guaranteed that the Huskies would not have to share the conference title with anyone this season as they did that year.

Sophomore Taylor Smith also added a home run in the game, her second in as many days and her eighth of the season in just 48 at-bats. She is fourth on the team in home runs and fifth with 22 RBI despite starting just 15 games.

The freshman Wright added a two-run single and senior Amanda Fleischman went 2-for-3 for the second straight day.

Lawrie wasn't at her best but did enough to hold off a tough ASU squad which always hits the National Player of the Year well. She struck out eight to move just three shy of tying the Pac-10's all-time career strikeout record. While she allowed a career-high 14 hits, topping the 11 UCLA collected off her back in 2006, she was able to work her way out of jams all night, with the Sun Devils putting runners on base in all but one inning.

ASU took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first on an RBI double by Kaylyn Castillo but the Huskies would come back to score four unanswered runs to take the lead.

Lawrie first had to work out of a mess in the second, allowing a leadoff double and a one-out infield single. But she induced a foul pop-out to Wright and recorded her first strikeout of the game to escape.

The Huskies then took the lead in the top of the third on Wright's two-run single. Fleischman led off with a single and Kimi Pohlman followed with an infield hit. Two outs later with the duo on second and third, Wright sent a single through the right side to plate both and give her an even 50 RBI on the season.

After Lawrie breezed through the bottom of the inning with her only one-two-three frame in the game, the Huskies added two more on Smith's two-run shot. Morgan Stuart started things off with a walk and would come around to score when Smith sent one deep into the desert sky to make it 4-1.

The Sun Devils tried to mount a two-out rally in the bottom of the fourth, recording back-to-back singles before Lawrie used her third strikeout of the game to escape. ASU did the same in the fifth, notching a pair of one-out singles, but this time, Lawrie struck out the final two batters of the inning to keep UW on top.

ASU would finally break through in the sixth, however, scoring twice on a solo home run and an RBI single. But Lawrie avoided further damage, getting out of a bases loaded, one-out jam by getting a ground ball to Stuart at third, who threw home to get the second out. Lawrie then struck out the final batter of the inning for the fifth-straight frame.

The Langley, B.C., native would then add some insurance of her own in the top of the seventh, leading off the inning with her second homer in as many days to provide what would turn out to be the difference.

Seven of Lawrie's eight strikeouts in the game came with runners on base, with six ending innings. She left 11 ASU runners stranded on the bases. The senior now needs just four more strikeouts to move into fifth in NCAA history and 10 more to move into fourth. She has now won 10-consecutive starts since her last loss on April 17.

The Huskies and Sun Devils wrap up their series on Saturday at Noon where UW will look to win its seventh series in seven tries in conference play. UW will then find out their NCAA Regional fate on Sunday, May 16 with the NCAA Selection Show, which airs at 7 p.m. PT on ESPNU.

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