Softball Clinches World Series Berth

May 18, 2003

LINCOLN, Neb. - The Washington softball team (46-14-1) posted its third-straight mercy-rule victory with a 11-0 decision in six innings over Iowa in the Region No. 5 championship game. With the win, the Huskies earn their sixth College World Series berth and will be the No. 5 seed at the tournament in Oklahoma City, Okla., on May 22.

The Huskies found their bats in the top of the third inning, scoring three runs on three hits. Amanda Oleson led off with a walk and was sacrificed to second by Rita Roach. After a UW strikeout, the Hawkeyes intentionally walked Kristen Rivera, who notched two home runs against Iowa yesterday, to face Kathy Fiske. Fiske laced the first pitch into left field, which scored Oleson. Dena Tyson then blasted a hit off the base of the centerfield wall to score Rivera from second. After a walk to Sarah Hyatt, Aimee Minor smacked a single to center that scored Fiske and gave the Huskies the 3-0 lead.

Washington added two more runs in the fourth inning when Jaime Clark belted a two-run home run, which cleared the secondary stadium fence and landed in the parking lot. The hit scored Roach, who had reached base on a walk, and marked Clark's 16th dinger of the season.

Iowa threatened in the bottom half of the frame, loading the bases on an error, a walk and a hit batsman. Washington hurler Tia Bollinger worked her way out of the inning with her fifth strikeout of the day.

The Huskies manufactured another run in the fifth inning with one hit. Tyson led off the frame with a walk and was sacrificed to second by Hyatt. Minor and Amy Hanson loaded the bases with an infield single and a walk. Oleson then grounded out to second base, which scored Tyson and pushed Washington's lead to 6-0.

UW sealed the deal with a five-run sixth inning on four hits and four walks. Hawkeye hurler Lisa Birocci walked Clark and Rivera to open the frame, resulting in a pitching change. Reliever Ali Arnold walked pinch hitter Courtney Jeffries in four pitches to load the bases. After a Husky pop-up, Hyatt drew a walk to score Clark. Rivera then scored on a wild pitch and a single into right field by Hanson scored two more. Clark capped of the scoring frenzy with a single down the left line, which scored Hanson and gave Washington the 11-0 advantage.

Sophomore Ashley Boek pitched an inning of relief for the Huskies, sitting the Hawkeyes down in order and striking out two en route to the regional championship.

Bollinger (27-9) picked up her third win of the tournament as she held Iowa to one hit, while striking out six. Birocci (29-9) took the loss as she gave up six hits and eight runs over five innings, while striking out five.

Bollinger and Rivera were named Co-Most Valuable Players of the tournament and Clark and Minor were named to the All-Tournament team. Bollinger went 3-0 with three shutouts. She allowed eight hits in 17 innings and fanned 15 batters. Rivera hit .500 (5-for-10) with six runs batted in and six runs scored. She belted three home runs for a 1.400 slugging percentage.

Also named to the All-Tournament team were Kristen Johnson, Lindsey Bashor, Amanda Henges and Birocci of Iowa, Lisa Wangler and Kim Ogee of Nebraska, Andrienne Clark of Hofstra, Jenny Hunt of Creighton and Estee Okumura of Pacific.

The Huskies will travel to Oklahoma City on Tuesday and will face No. 4 seed Oklahoma in the first round on May 22 at 1 p.m. (CT). Oklahoma defeated Oregon State, 7-2, in the Region No. 4 Championship earlier today.

Washington is 12-8 all-time at the College World Series and has been National Runners-up twice (1996, 1999). Seniors Clark and Traci Tawney were members of the last UW team that played in the CWS in 2000.

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