Lawrie Breaks Pac-10 Strikeout Record In 9-0 Drubbing Of ASU
May 15, 2010
TEMPE, Ariz. - The No. 1 Washington softball team capped one of the best regular seasons in school history Saturday, equaling the mark for the best conference record in school history since it switched to a 21-game format in 2000 with a 9-0 five-inning victory over No. 10 Arizona State at Farrington Stadium.
The Huskies (45-6, 17-4) won the series, 2-1, over the Sun Devils giving them a series victory against all seven Pac-10 teams, something they have done just one other time in school history. They equaled the 2000 team that finished as co-champs of the conference with a 17-4 record, but UW finished as outright Pac-10 champs this year for the first time since 1996.
Danielle Lawrie got the job done with her arm and her bat as she has done all season, firing her 20th shutout of the season and striking out seven to become the Pac-10's all-time career strikeout leader. She allowed just two hits and did not walk a batter and also went 3-for-3 with five RBI, giving her a team-best 55 this year.
Lawrie's 20 shutouts lead the nation and are one shy of her own single-season set last year. She improved to 35-2 on the season and now has 407 strikeouts on the year, moving into third on the UW single-season charts in both wins and Ks.
After dropping the first game of the series, UW came back to take the final two and will head into NCAA Regionals with some momentum following their 17th mercy-rule victory this season. UW has won nine of 10 and Lawrie is 11-0 since her last loss on April 17.
The Huskies scored two in the first and two more in the second before exploding for five runs in the fourth to put the game away. Junior Jenn Salling went 2-for-2 with two runs and an RBI, Niki Williams drove in a pair of runs with her 10th home run of the season and Kimi Pohlman went 2-for-2 with a walk and three runs scored. The sophomore Pohlman went 6-for-9 with two walks and five runs scored in the three-game series.
Lawrie had an RBI single in the first and two-run singles in both the second and fourth innings. She put UW up 1-0 in the first by driving in Pohlman, who led off with a single and moved to second on Salling's single. Salling then scored the second run on Morgan Stuart's sacrifice fly to right field.
After Lawrie worked around a one-out double by striking out two in the bottom of the first, the Huskies then took a 4-0 lead on the senior's two-run single in the second. Taylor Smith started things off with a single to left and Amanda Fleischman moved her over with a sacrifice bunt. After Pohlman's infield single and stolen base put runners on second and third, Salling walked to load the bases for Lawrie, who lined a single to left to give herself more than enough cushion.
The Sun Devils would get another hit in the second with one out, but Lawrie then struck out the next batter to equal Alicia Hollowell's Pac-10 career strikeout record. She would go on to retire the last 11 batters in the game.
After both teams went quietly in the third, the Huskies broke things open with a five-run fourth. Back-to-back walks to Fleischman and Pohlman set the table for Salling, who ripped a double down the left field line to score one. Lawrie then brought home both Pohlman and Salling to give her five RBI in the game, one shy of her career high.
UW would not stop there, with Williams launching her 10th home run of the season - twice as many as she had in her freshman year - to straight away centerfield to score pinch runner Maggie Wagner.
Lawrie then struck out the first batter in the bottom of the fourth to give her sole possession of the conference record. She fanned one more in the inning and then two in the fifth to end the game, giving her 1,772 strikeouts in her career, moving into fifth place in NCAA history and just two strikeouts shy of taking over sole possession of fourth. Her two victories over the weekend also give her 131 in her career, passing UCLA's Keira Goerl for second in conference history and moving into eighth in NCAA history.
The Huskies now turn their attention to the NCAA Tournament where they will look to become just the sixth repeat winner in Division I history. UW has never gone into the postseason with as few as six losses in the regular season as they have this year. The 2000 team went into the NCAA Tournament with just seven losses before falling twice in the Women's College World Series.
UW will now find out its NCAA Regional site and opponents on Sunday, May 16 with the NCAA Selection Show, which airs at 7 p.m. PT on ESPNU.