Huskies Begin World Series Quest Against Georgia
May 26, 2009
WOMEN'S COLLEGE WORLD SERIES - GAME ONE
Thursday, May 28, 2009 - 10 a.m. PT/Noon CT/1 p.m. ET
No. 3 Washington Huskies (46-11, Overall, 14-7 Pac-10, Ninth Trip to WCWS)
No. 6 Georgia Bulldogs (44-10 Overall, 18-7 SEC, First Trip to WCWS)
Live on ESPN HD
Live on KKNW-1150 AM
Live stats available via Gametracker, www.GoHuskies.com
The No. 3 Washington Husky softball team continues its three-week road trip at the final stop on the journey, the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City, Okla. Just eight teams remain with one goal in mind: a National Championship. The Huskies are making their ninth trip to the Women's College World Series and their second in the last three years after sweeping the Atlanta Super Regional over No. 14 Georgia Tech last weekend. UW will look to bring home the program's first national championship.
The Huskies' first opponent will be No. 6 seed Georgia, whom the Huskies split a two-game battle with early in the season. The game will serve as the World Series opener on Thursday, May 28 at Noon CT in Oklahoma City and will air live on ESPN. Georgia is making its WCWS debut while UW is tied with Michigan for the second-most appearances of the eight competing teams. Arizona leads the way with 21 appearances and eight national titles. Arizona State is the defending champion and made it back to the Series for the fourth season in a row.
TOURNAMENT AT A GLANCE
The Huskies are one of seven seeded teams left and they are the second-highest seed remaining behind No. 1 Florida. No. 4 Alabama and No. 5 Michigan round of the top-eight seeds that advanced. No. 9 Arizona and No. 10 Arizona State also advanced while unseeded Missouri earned its first WCWS berth after stunning No. 2 UCLA on its home field Sunday to complete the tournament field. The eight-team field consists of three Pac-10 teams and three SEC teams along with a Big-12 and Big-10 school in Missouri and Michigan, resepectively. The Pac-10 has won 21 of the 27 college softball national championships and has had at least three teams advance to the World Series in 11 consecutive seasons.
A LONG, STRANGE TRIP
The Huskies are at stage three of their whirlwind around-the-country road trip as they left Seattle on May 13 bound for Amherst, Mass., and have been on the road since. The Huskies will have logged a total of 6,899 miles by the time they return to Seattle, whenever that may be. The journey started with a 2,963-mile trip from Seattle to Massachusetts for the NCAA Regionals, followed by a 1,087-mile trip to Atlanta for the NCAA Super Regionals. They will log 848 miles from Atlanta to Oklahoma City and another 2,001 back to Seattle where Husky softball players will be greeted with finals week.
The Huskies are one of two World Series teams who have not played at least one round of the NCAA Tournament on their home field. Florida, Alabama, Michigan and Arizona State each hosted both Regionals and Super Regionals while Missouri hosted the Regionals before traveling to UCLA for Supers and Georgia traveled to North Carolina for Regionals but hosted the second round. Arizona had to travel to Louisville for their Regional round before making the short trip to California to face Stanford in Palo Alto.
UW was able to escape from a difficult regional in Amherst, Mass., where they had to overcome a tough UMass team on their home filed, which featured three-time All-American pitcher Brandice Balschmiter. UW beat the Minutewomen twice in three games, including a deciding 6-1 win in 15 innings in which Danielle Lawrie struck out 24. The Huskies had an easier time in their Super Regional match-up in Atlanta with Georgia Tech, sweeping the Yellow Jackets in two games by scores of 7-0 and 7-1.
FOLLOW THE ACTION LIVE
ESPN and ESPN2 will air every game of the Women's College World Series live and all games can also be viewed on ESPN360.com's simulcast. Additionally, all of the Husky games will air live on KKNW 1150 AM with Mike Brown and John Cowley calling the action. Either turn your dial to 1150 AM or find audio at http://www.newschannel1150.com/. Live stats can also be found via Gametracker on GoHuskies.com
WORLD SERIES TICKET INFORMATION
Orders for all-session tickets to attend the NCAA Women's College World Series can be ordered online via the NCAA Women's College World Series website (http://www.ncaa.com/sports/w-softbl/). All-Session ticket prices are $85 grandstand seats, $60 lower grandstands and $100 outfield reserved. Single game tickets will go on sale starting Tuesday, May 26 online via a separate website (http://myticketoffice.com/?SPSID=40758&SPID=3597&DB_OEM_ID=8800)
All tickets can also be ordered by calling 405-236-5000.
BECOME A HUSKY FAN ON FACEBOOK, TWITTER
Fans can follow the Husky softball team and receive updates throughout the postseason on the UW Softball Twitter page by logging on to www.twitter.com/UWSoftball. The Huskies can also be found on Facebook via the Washington Softball fan page. Search for 'Washington Husky Softball' on Facebook to find the official fan page.
After a grueling opening Regional round, the Huskies made quick work of No. 14 Georgia Tech on their home field, sweeping the best-of-three series with wins of 7-1 and 7-0. Danielle Lawrie won both games in the circle, allowing just seven hits and one run in the two games combined while striking out 18. She was also the leader at the plate for the Huskies, batting .571 (4x7) with six RBI and two home runs, both of which came in Sunday's deciding game. Lawrie hit two towering two-run shots for her first career multi-home run game and Ashlyn Watson and Alicic Blake also went deep as UW tied a single-game postseason school record with their four long balls. Ashley Charters also blasted a home run in UW's 7-1 win on Saturday while Morgan Stuart drove in three runs as the Huskies 23 racked up hits in the two games in Atlanta.
NCAA REGIONAL RECAP
The Huskies had a tough road to the Super Regionals, having to travel east to play a very talented No. 21 UMass team in Amhert, Mass., and it took a monumental performance by Danielle Lawrie for the Huskies to escape. After cruising in the opening game against Sacred Heart with a 9-1 five-inning victory, UW had their first showdown with the Minutewomen and their ace, Brandice Balschmiter. UW escaped with a huge victory to advance to the championship round, getting a 12-strikeout performance from Lawrie and a 3-for-4 effort from Ashley Charters to earn a 3-1 win, getting two runs in the bottom of the sixth to decide the game.
On Sunday, the Minutewomen got to Lawrie for two home runs - the only team all year to hit two long balls in a game off the junior - to force an if-game with a 5-1 win. That 'if game' turned out to be one of the greatest games in recent NCAA postseason history with the teams dueling for five hours and 13 minutes. After UW scored in the first and UMass answered in the fourth to tie the game at 1-1, Balschmiter and Lawrie threw 10 straight scoreless innings each. After robbed home runs, plays at the plate and key strikeouts by both All-Americans, the Huskies finally broke through for five runs - all with two outs - in the 15th inning and Lawrie held off the middle of the UMass lineup to give UW a thrilling 5-1 victory in the longest game in both UW and UMass' history.
Lawrie struck out a school-record 24 in the game while Balschmiter sat down 14 Husky hitters. The 38 combined strkeouts marked the fifth-most in NCAA history. Lawrie became just the third Pac-10 pitcher and 15th in NCAA history with at least 24 Ks in a game. She struck out UMass' leadoff hitter and Atlantic-10 Player of the Year Carly Normandin six times in the game.
HUSKY POSTSEASON HISTORY
The Huskies are making their 16th-straight NCAA Tournament appearance, missing out only during their inaugural season in 1993. UW has also advanced to the Super Regionals in four of the last five years since the field expanded in 2005 to include a second round.
Washington has a 67-30 record in postseason (47-12 Regionals/5-4 Super Regionals/15-14 WCWS) and has advanced to the Women's College World Series nine times (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2009). The Huskies advanced to the national championship game in both 1996 and 1999. Their 16-straight tournament appearances is tied for the fifth-longest active streak with Oklahoma, while their 67 wins in the tournament are fifth-best in NCAA history. Their nine WCWS appearances are tied for the fifth-most in history with Michigan, and they also are tied with Oklahoma for the fifth-best all-time streak of consecutive WCWS appearances (1996-2000).
THEY'VE SEEN IT ALL... ALMOST
The Huskies played perhaps the most difficult schedule in the nation this season, playing 32 of their 57 games against ranked teams, meaning 56% of their games were against top-25 teams in the country. They own a 23-10 record against ranked teams this season. UW has played six of the other seven teams in the World Series and defeated all of them, going 8-4 against the World Series field. The only team they have not played among the eight is Missouri.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION:
No. 6 Georgia Bulldogs
44-10 Overall, 18-7 SEC
2008 - 46-24, 14-14 (NCAA Super Regionals)
Series vs. UW: Washington leads, 5-2
About Georgia: The Bulldogs advance to their first-ever Women's College World Series by sweeping their best-of-three Super Regional with Ohio State by scores of 7-6 and 6-4, both of which were come-from-behind wins.
Georgia finally got over the hump in their third Super Regional after falling just shy last year against UCLA. The Bulldogs boast one of the top power hitters in the nation in sophomore Alisa Goler who has 23 jacks and 79 RBI on the season to go along with a .464 average. They are also led by their scrappy duo of Taylor Schlopy and Kristin Schnake, who are batting .431 and .333, respectively, with Schlopy blasting 13 home runs of her own. The two have combined for 36 stolen bases and have set the table all year for Goler at the top of the order. In the circle, the Bulldogs get solid pitching from a pair of arms in Chirstie Hamilton (24-8, 1.65, 149 Ks) and Sarah McCloud (17-2, 2.62, 58 Ks). Georgia's defense is also a strength as they lead the nation with .980 fielding percentage.
Series History: UW leads the series 5-2 after the teams split a pair of games early in the season in the Easton SEC/Pac-10/Big 12 Challenge in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The Huskies and Danielle Lawrie shutout the Bulldogs, 2-0, in the first game with Ashlyn Watson blasting a pair of solo home runs and Lawrie allowing just two hits and striking out 10. The Bulldogs came back the next day, however, and handed Lawrie her first loss of the season and broke her string of 90.0 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run when they scored two runs on six hits off the Husky ace to earn a 2-0 win.
The Huskies and Georgia have recent postseason history as UW knocked the Bulldogs out of the 2007 playoffs in the NCAA Regionals en route to their last World Series appearance. The teams went to three games, with the Huskies advancing with a 1-0 victory on Alicia Blake's walk-off single. Danielle Lawrie held the Bulldogs to just four hits in the contest. The Huskies won the first two meetings between the teams in 2001 (7-4) and 2004 (3-1), the latter of which also came in the NCAA Regionals to send UW to the Women's College World Series.
No. 1 Florida Gators
60-3 Overall, 26-1 SEC
2008 - 70-5 (Women's College World Series - T3rd)
Series vs. UW: Washington leads, 6-3
Top Hitters: Kristina Hilberth, Sr., C (.389, 34 R, 20 RBI); Kelsey Bruder, So., UT (.385, 53 R, 70 H, 15 HR, 66 RBI); Aja Paculba, So., 2B (.384, 67 R, 73 H, 9 HR, 34 RBI); Francesca Enea, Jr., LF (.342, 35 R, 55 H, 17 HR, 69 RBI).
Top Pitcher: Stacey Nelson, Sr. - National Player of the Year Finalist (39-3, 0.41 ERA, 321 K, 255.1 IP).
Quick Notes: The Huskies defeated Florida, 1-0, in nine innings earlier this season... Stacey Nelson is one of three finalists for National Player of the Year along with Danielle Lawrie... The Gators were the No. 1 seed going into last year's World Series as well... The Gators swept Cal in the Super Regionals to advance.
No. 4 Alabama Crimson Tide
52-9 Overall, 21-6 SEC
2008 - 58-8 (Women's College World Series)
Series vs. UW: Washington leads, 4-1
Top Hitters: Charlotte Morgan, Jr, P/UT (.414, 28 R, 63 H, 10 HR, 56 RBI); Brittany Rogers, Sr., OF (.383, 46 R, 64 H, 47 SB); Whitney Larsen, So, UT (.289, 10 HR, 38 RBI).
Top Pitcher: Kelsi Dunne, So., (27-3, 1.37 ERA, 240 K, 194.2 IP).
Quick Notes: The Huskies and Tide split a pair of games in the Easton SEC/Pac-10/Big 12 Challenge in Tuscaloosa, Ala., early this season, both by scores of 6-0... Dunne threw back-to-back no-hitters in the Super Regionals last week, the first pitcher in NCAA history to do so.
No. 5 Michigan Wolverines
46-10 Overall, 17-3 Big 10
2008 - 52-8 (NCAA Super Regionals)
Series vs. UW: Washington leads, 8-7
Top Hitters: Amanda Chidester, Fr., UT (.352, 35 R, 62 H, 7 HR, 37 RBI); Angela Findlay, Jr., OF (.350, 34 R, 55 H, 4 HR, 29 RBI); Maggie Viefhaus, Jr., 3B (.327, 10 HR, 38 RBI); Dorian Shaw, So., 1B/C (14 HR, 32 RBI).
Top Pitchers: Nikki Nemitz, Jr. (27-5, 0.89 ERA, 295 K, 203.2 IP); Jordan Taylor, So. (19-5, 1.38 ERA, 275 K, 182.0 IP).
Quick Notes: UM is making its first trip to the World Series since winning their lone national title in 2005... Dorian Shaw hit a record three home runs in a Super Regional game last weekend... The Wolvernies boast one of the best 1-2 punches in the circle in Nemitz and Taylor.
No. 9 Arizona Wildcats
46-15 Overall, 13-7 Pac-10
2008 - 41-19 (Women's College World Series)
Series vs. UW: Arizona leads, 56-19
Top Hitters: Brittany Lastrapes, So, OF (.483, 79 R, 102 H, 17 HR, 64 RBI); Stacie Chambers, Jr., C (.370, 55 R, 67 H, 31 HR, 96 RBI); Jenae Leles, Sr., 3B (.337, 67 R, 63 H, 23 HR, 64 RBI); Sam Banister, Sr., IF (.313, 45 R, 57 H, 16 HR, 57 RBI).
Top Pitcher: Sarah Akamine, Jr. (22-7, 2.41 ERA, 125 K, 177.1 IP)
Quick Notes: The Wildcats established a new NCAA record for home runs this season with 134... Stacie Chambers leads the nation in HR and RBI... Brittany Lastrapes leads the Pac-10 and is eighth in the country in average... The WIldcats are making their 21st World Series appearance; they are second in NCAA history with eight national titles.
No. 10 Arizona State Sun Devils
46-17 Overall, 10-11 Pac-10
2008 - 66-5 (National Champions)
Series vs. UW: Washington leads, 45-17
Top Hitters: Kaitlin Cochran, Sr, OF (.422, 67 R, 62 H, 20 HR, 59 RBI, 17 SB); Jessica Mapes, Sr., OF (.400, 50 R, 74 H); Katelyn Boyd, Fr., IF (.325, 10 HR, 59 RBI).
Top Pitcher: Hillary Bach, Fr. (30-9, 2.86, 155 K, 244.2 IP)
Quick Notes: The Sun Devils are the defending national champions, capturing their first title last season... Kaitlin Cochran is one of three finalists for National Player of the Year, joining UW's Danielle Lawrie... She was named the Pac-10 Player of the Year this season... Freshman Hillary Bach has emerged as the team's ace.
50-10 Overall, 12-6 Big 12
2008 - 47-17 (NCAA Super Regionals)
Series vs. UW: Washington leads, 5-1
Top Hitters: Shana White, So., OF (.413, 30 SB); Rhea Taylor, So., OF (.407, 53 R, 70 H, 4 HR, 16 RBI, 36 SB); Lindsey Ubrun, Sr., IF (.370, 40 R, 57 H, 16 HR, 56 RBI).
Top Pitchers: Chelsea Thomas, Fr. (16-5, 1.23 ERA, 113 K, 142.2 IP); Stacy Delaney, Sr. (16-3, 1.38 ERA, 129 K)
Quick Notes: The Tigers are the only unseeded team in the Women's College World Series... They eliminated the No. 2 seed UCLA Bruins, winning game three of the series with a 9-1 five-inning win on Gina Schneider's walk off home run... The Tigers knocked off Oklahoma for their second Big 12 championship... Their 48 wins are a school record.
To view complete postseason notes, click here.