Watson and Macon Lead Huskies Past No. 1 Alabama
March 1, 2008
SEATTLE - Ashlyn Watson hit a grand slam and Aleah Macon struck out 11 to lead No. 25 Washington past No. 1 Alabama at the Husky Softball Classic on Saturday afternoon. Washington improves to 8-5-1 on the season, while handing the Crimson Tide (17-1) their first loss of the season.
Watson cleared the bases in the first inning with a shot over the left centerfield fence, her second of the season, to give the Huskies an early 4-0 lead.
'I was just protecting the plate, anything close I was swinging,' said the junior about hitting the two-ball, two-strike pitch.
The Huskies tacked on two more runs in the second on a single by Jace Williams and an Alabama error. With Bailey Stenson on second and Marnie Koziol on first, Williams lined a shot to centerfield that scored Stenson. Alabama centerfielder Brittany Rogers threw the ball to the infield but no one caught it and the ball rolled in the Husky dugout on the third base side, allowing Koziol to score.
Macon came on in relief in the second inning for starter Caitlin Noble, and limited the Crimson Tide to just four hits over six innings.
The Crimson Tide had cut the lead to 6-1 in the top of the second inning when Macon issued a bases-loaded walk to Katie Johnson.
Alabama threatened in the top of the seventh, loading the bases with no outs and scoring two runs before Macon got Kellie Eubanks to strikeout to end the game.
With one out, Dani Woods hit a ball down the right field line that scored Rogers, who had reached base on an error to lead things off. Jordan Praytor, who had singled following Rogers and eventually ended up at third base later in the inning, scored the Crimson Tide's other run on a wild pitch. But with two outs and runners on second and third, Macon got Eubanks out on called check-swing strikeout and the Huskies escaped with the win.
'I wasn't nervous,' said Macon about coming on in relief against the nation's top-ranked team. 'I just knew that I had my team behind me and they were cheering for me so it makes me have my A game.
'I think my team did a great job of getting runs on the board. Just our intensity, we really brought it to them. Our dugout cheered the entire time and that makes a big difference.'
Macon, a freshman, finished with 11 strikeouts and five walks, and gave up two unearned runs to even her record at 2-2.
Washington managed just five hits off of Alabama pitcher Kelsi Dunne (6-1), but they put pressure on Dunne and the Crimson Tide throughout the game.
Watson led the Huskies at the plate, going 1-for-3 with four RBI, while Stenson, Koziol, Williams and Amanda Fleischman all had base hits. Stenson and Koziol both scored a pair of runs.
'It was an indicator of what our team has the capability to do this year,' said UW head coach Heather Tarr. 'It was nice to see Ashlyn come through in the clutch and Aleah to come on in relief and shut down a big-time team. It's a good point for us to build on from here on out.
'Alabama is a great team. It's nice to be able to get ahead early on a team like that.'
The Huskies have now won three in a row over Alabama after sweeping a pair of games from the Crimson Tide at last years NCAA Super Regional here in Seattle. Those wins propelled the Huskies to their eighth Women's College World Series appearance in school history.
Washington continues play at the Husky Softball Classic tomorrow with an 11 a.m. game against Nevada. Following that game, Washington and Portland State will continue play from their game that was halted yesterday in the second inning due to rain. If time allows, the Huskies and PSU will play another game at approximately 3:00 p.m.