Huskies Cap Regular Season With 11-3 Win
May 9, 2009
SEATTLE - The No. 4/5 Washington softball team clinched second-place in the Pac-10 standings and sent their seniors out in style Saturday, run-ruling the No. 12/13 Cal Bears, 11-3, at Husky Softball Stadium in the final game of the regular season.
The Huskies close out the regular season with a 41-10 record - their most wins in the regular season since winning 42 in 2003. They also finished the conference season with a record of 14-7, good for second place behind UCLA, their highest finish since winning the conference in 2000.
UW also completed the most successful home season in school history at 15-1. They bounced back after getting shutout by Cal yesterday to score 11 runs on 11 hits on Saturday. While Friday's lost ended their hopes of a conference co-championship, UCLA defeated Stanford today to give UW runner-up in the Pac-10, a conference which currently has six teams ranked in the Top-15 nationally.
Washington jumped out early and often, scoring six runs in the first, two in the second and three in the third for their fourth mercy-rule victory in conference play. On Senior Day, UW's veterans led the way as seniors accounted for seven of the team's 11 hits. Ashlyn Watson, Lauren Greer and Marnie Koziol each had two hits with Watson going 2-for-2 with two runs and an RBI along with her team-leading 10th home run of the season. Koziol and Greer both went 2-for-2 with a run and an RBI each while fellow senior Alicia Blake went 1-for-3 with an RBI double. Ashley Charters walked, scored a run and stole a base while Dani Stuart and Jessica Ventoza also got into the game in their final regular-season appearance at Husky Softball Stadium.
Lost in the offensive explosion was Danielle Lawrie striking out 10 and allowing just two hits to improve to 32-6 on the season. She moved into third on the UW single-season charts in wins, just four shy of the record.
UW sent 11 batters to the plate in the first inning, scoring six runs on four hits with their seniors playing a big part. Charters led off with a walk and stole second then moved to third on an illegal pitch before scoring on Salling's ground ball to second base. Salling was also safe on the play when the second baseman bobbled the ball just enough to allow the sophomore to beat the throw.
The flood gates then opened with six of the next seven batters reaching base. Lawrie ripped a single to left to move Salling to third and Morgan Stuart followed with an RBI single. After Watson walked, Blake blasted an RBI double into the right-center gap and Greer followed with a sacrifice fly to deep left field to plate Watson. Koziol then capped the scoring with an RBI single to plate Blake.
The Huskies then broke out the long balls in the second inning, getting back-to-back home runs from Stuart and Watson to make the score 8-0. The home run by Stuart was her fifth of the season and second in three days, while Watson's home run, which went to the exact spot in left-center as Stuart's, was her team-leading 10th of the year.
Washington struck again in the third inning to extend the lead to 11-0, adding three more runs on three hits and a Cal error. Greer and Koziol started the inning with back-to-back singles and two batters later, Kimi Pohlman hit a ground ball to second base and the Cal fielder chose to throw home, but her throw got past the catcher, allowing but Greer and Koziol to come home safely. Salling then ripped a double off the centerfield wall to score Pohlman to score.
Lawrie, meanwhile, cruised through the Cal lineup the first time around, retiring the first eight batters of the game and nine of the first 10, striking out seven in the first three innings. But the Bears broke through for three runs in the fourth inning as the first two batters of the inning walked and after one out, Elia Reid blasted a three-run home run to left-center. Lawrie settled down and retired the next four batters - two on strikeouts - until Jamie Reid recorded a two-out single in the fifth, but Lawrie struck out Carrie Arth looking to end the game.
The Huskies will now wait to find out where they go for their 16th consecutive NCAA appearance on Sunday when the NCAA Selection Show airs on ESPNU at 7 p.m. PT.