UW Caps Perfect Week With 8-2 Win
May 3, 2009
SEATTLE - Danielle Lawrie capped a stellar week for the No. 4 Washington softball team Sunday, striking out a seven-inning, season-high 18 batters to lead the Huskies to their fourth straight win, 8-2, over Oregon at Husky Softball Stadium.
The junior All-American went 4-0 during the week, allowing just two earned runs in 26.0 innings pitched. The week started with her no-hitting the No. 2 UCLA Bruins - a game that had crucial Pac-10 championship implications - and ended with her tying a season-high with 18 Ks against the Ducks. She struck out 46 batters over the week and walked just six, improving to 30-5 on the season and lowering her ERA to 0.76
Lawrie also went over the 1,200 mark in career strikeouts in the game, becoming just the 25th pitcher in NCAA history to accomplish the feat.
More importantly, the Huskies (39-9, 12-6) stayed one game behind conference leaders UCLA and Stanford heading into the final three games. Stanford defeated Arizona on Sunday to give UW a slight edge over the Wildcats. The Huskies and Stanford will face off on Thursday at Husky Softball Stadium, where UW is 13-0 this season.
Ashley Charters was again the leader of the Husky offense, going 2-for-4 with a run to move into a tie for second on UW's all-time hits list with Jaime Clark. Alicia Blake also had two hits for the Huskies, going 2-for-2, while Ashlyn Watson, Morgan Stuart and Niki Williams each drove in a run. Watson blasted her ninth home run of the season in the game and her second in as many days.
UW took advantage of three Oregon errors in the game, scoring three unearned runs. The Ducks dropped to 15-32 overall and 2-16 in conference.
Lawrie set the tone for the game in the first inning, striking out four batters in the frame. Oregon's leadoff hitter swung and missed at a ball that got past Blake, allowing the batter to reach first. But Lawrie fanned the next three batters to end the inning.
The Langley, British Columbia, native would go on to strike out at least two batters in every inning, fanning the side in the first, third and fifth innings.
Offensively, the Huskies jumped on Oregon for three runs in the first inning for the second straight day. Charters led off with a single and Kimi Pohlman was hit by a pitch to start the inning. The pair then pulled a double steal and the catcher's throw went into left fielder and under the fielder's glove, allowing both Charters and Pohlman to score. Ashlyn Watson then followed with a no-doubter over the left field wall to give UW the 3-0 lead.
The Ducks were able to put two runs on the board in the second inning, one of which was unearned. After Lawrie struck out her fifth batter in a row, she momentarily lost her command, walking two straight batters. After her sixth strikeout of the game, Courtney Kivett singled to left to score one run and the throw back into the infield bounced into the dugout, allowing the second runner to score as well.
UW came right back and broke the game open in the third, however, scoring four runs - all of which came on one wild play.
The Huskies got the first three runners on base in the inning, with Jenn Salling leading off with a walk, Lawrie singling up the middle and Watson walking to load the bases for Morgan Stuart. With three pinch runners on base in Marnie Koziol, Dani Stuart and Alyson McWherter, Stuart hit a ground ball deep in the hole to the shortstop who couldn't handle the tough hop and the ball went into the outfield, allowing Koziol to score. The left fielder then came up with the ball and threw home to get Dani Stuart but the throw was not in time. With Washington runners still circling the bases, Oregon's catcher tried to get McWherter at third, but her throw went down the left field line all the way to the wall, allowing both McWherter and Morgan Stuart to come around to score.
UW tacked on another run in the fifth inning when Amanda Fleischman reached with two outs on a dropped third strike. Niki Williams then followed with a double to the right-center gap to make the score 8-2.
The Huskies will finish out the regular season with three games at Husky Softball Stadium next week when they will attempt to complete their first undefeated season at home in school history. They will also keep their hopes alive for a third Pac-10 title should they knock off Stanford on Thursday at 1 p.m. That game will be televised tape-delayed on FSN, tentatively scheduled to air Friday at 1 p.m. and again on Saturday at 10 a.m.
UW will then close out the weekend with two games against California, on Friday at 3 p.m. and Saturday at Noon. The Huskies will find out their postseason fate on Sunday when the NCAA Selection Show airs on ESPNU at 7 p.m. PT.
The only scenario in which UW can win the Pac-10 outright is if they win all three remaining games, UCLA and Stanford split their two games Friday and Saturday and the Bruins fall Thursday to Cal.
UW would tie the Bruins should UCLA split with Stanford and beat Cal, but the Bruins own the tiebreaker over the Huskies, having won two-of-three from UW. The same scenario exists should Stanford sweep UCLA as the Cardinal won two-of-three from UW as well.
Lawrie struck out 18 in an 11-inning game earlier this season against Fresno State. Her previous seven-inning high this season was 15 against Nebraska. She has twice struck out 20 in a game, once in a seven-inning game in 2007 against South Florida and also in 2007 in a nine-inning game against LSU.