Huskies Host Oklahoma In Super Regional Showdown
May 25, 2010
NCAA SUPER REGIONALS
Husky Softball Stadium - Seattle, Wash.
Live stats for all games available via Gametracker
Tickets: Sold Out (Standing Room Tickets Available All Days - 15 minutes prior to game time)
Thursday, May 27
No. 14 Oklahoma (46-10) at No. 3 Washington (48-6), 7:10 p.m.
Radio: KIXI 880 AM
Friday, May 28
No. 14 Oklahoma at No. 3 Washington, 5:35 p.m.
Radio: KKNW 1150 AM
Friday, May 28 (If Necessary)
No. 14 Oklahoma at No. 3 Washington, 8:05 p.m.
Radio: KKNW 1150 AM
Following a 3-0 run through the NCAA Seattle Regional the No. 3 seed Washington softball team hosts its second-ever NCAA Super Regional and first since 2007 when the Huskies entertain No. 14 seed Oklahoma (46-10) in a best-of-three games series, Thursday, May 27 and Friday, May 28. Thursday's games takes place at 7 p.m. with Friday's first game scheduled for 5:30 p.m. A third game, if necessary, would take place at approximately 8 p.m. or 30 minutes following the first game on Friday. The first team to win twice will advance to the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City, June 3-10, 2010. The first and third games of the series will air on ESPN2 with game two airing on ESPNU. Beth Mowins and USA National Team member Jessica Mendoza will call the action all weekend.
SUPER REGIONAL TICKET INFORMATION
Reserved and general admission seats have already been sold out for this weekend's games. Fans can purchase standing-room only tickets 15 minutes prior to each game for $3.
FOLLOW THE ACTION LIVE
In addition to all the games airing on ESPN, the games can also be heard live on the radio with Thursday's game airing on KIXI 880 AM and Friday's games on KKNW 1150 AM. As always, all games can be followed on Gametracker via the Huskies official website, www.GoHuskies.com.
TOURNAMENT AT A GLANCE
The Huskies earned the No. 3 overall seed for the tournament behind No. 1 Alabama from the SEC and No. 2 Michigan from the Big 10. UW was one of seven Pac-10 teams to make the tournament - equaling the SEC and Big 12 for most in the tournament - but they have the most remaining teams, with six of the seven advancing to the final 16. UW was one of five seeded Pac-10 teams who all advanced, joining No. 5 UCLA, No. 10 Arizona, No. 11 Cal and No. 13 Arizona State while unseeded Oregon upset No. 8 Georgia Tech. The Pac-10 has won 22 of the 27 NCAA Division I softball championships, including the last four straight. The 64-team tournament was made up of 30 teams that earned automatic bids while 34 teams received at-large bids. The Huskies have defeated 17 of the 64 teams (27-5 record) in the tournament including seven of the 15 other seeded teams (12-3 record). One of their wins came against this weekend's opponent, Oklahoma, a 7-4 win in the Kajikawa Classic in February.
The Huskies earned the No. 3 seed for the NCAA Tournament, the same seed they earned for last year's tournament before going on to win the Women's College World Series. UW has been seeded No. 1 overall just once in their history, which came in 2000 but they went on to finish just fifth at the WCWS. The No. 3 seed equals the second-highest ranking for UW in school history, something they have done twice before and has brought them good luck each time. Besides last year's national-champion three-seed, UW was also picked third in 1999, going on to finish as national runner-up.
HOME SWEET HOME
UW hosted a regional last weekend for the first time since 2000 and now will host just its second-ever Super Regional and first since 2007 when they defeated Alabama to advance to the Women's College World Series. Last year, the Huskies spent the entire postseason on the road, going from NCAA Regionals in Amherst, Mass., straight to Atlanta, Ga., for Super Regionals before flying directly to Oklahoma City for the World Series. This year, UW will spend the first two weekends at home before potentially getting on a plane to OKC in June. UW has never lost an NCAA postseason game at home, going an incredible 19-0 in one Super Regional and five Regionals at Husky Softball Stadium.
With their 16-1 record at Husky Softball Stadium during the regular season, the Huskies completed the most successful home season in school history, just edging last year's squad which went 15-1. UW won their first five games in Seattle before falling to UCLA but went on to win their next 11 in front of the home crowd. With three wins in front of the home crowd last weekend, they are up to 19-1 overall with a 13-game home winning streak. The longest home winning streak in school history is a 15-gamer held by the 1996 team, which went 18-2 overall at Husky Softball Stadium en route to its first World Series appearance. UW could equal that record this week should they win two at the NCAA Super Regionals. UW is averaging 1,369 fans per game at Husky Softball Stadium this year including back-to-back season highs their final regular-season weekend of 2,080 and 2,159.
LET THERE BE LIGHTS!
After spending the final three weeks of the 2009 season on the road during the postseason because Husky Softball Stadium was not equipped with lights, the Huskies were lucky enough to get some generous donations from their supporters to install lights at the field for 2010. The Huskies, who cashed in on making themselves eligible for postseason by earning an NCAA Regional host site, played the first night game in the 15-year history of Husky Softball Stadium on Thursday, March 11 when they hosted Miami of Ohio in the first game of the Husky Softball Classic. The Huskies didn't disappoint their home crowd as reigning National Player of the Year Danielle Lawrie fired a perfect game to lead UW to a 3-0 win. All told, UW has played 12 of its 20 home games this year under the lights.
HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS
The Huskies retained the No. 1 spot in both of the final regular-season NFCA and USA Softball polls. They were the No. 1 team in both polls every week this season, the first time that has ever happened in the USA Softball poll since its inception in 2003. The Huskies were a unanimous choice on eight occasions in the NFCA poll and seven times in the USA Softball poll. No. 2 Michigan, No. 3 Alabama, No. 4 UCLA and No. 6 Arizona all received No. 1 votes during the season but never enough to shake the Huskies
The only poll where UW did not rank No. 1 heading into the postseason was the RPI, which takes strength of schedule into consideration. UW came in at No. 2 in that poll behind Alabama. The Huskies started the season ranked No. 1 for the first time in school history. Seven of the eight Pac-10 teams finished the regular-season ranked, with four of those seven in the top 10 (Washington, Arizona, UCLA, Arizona State).
HUSKY POSTSEASON HISTORY
The Huskies are in the midst of their 17th-straight NCAA Tournament appearance, missing out only during their inaugural season in 1993. Washington has a 75-31 record in postseason (50-12 Regionals/5-4 Super Regionals/20-15 WCWS) and has advanced to the Women's College World Series nine times (1996-2000, `03, `04, `07, `09), finally winning the National Championship last year with a 2-0 sweep over Florida in the best-of-three championship series.
The Huskies had previously advanced to the national championship game in both 1996 and `99. Their 17-straight tournament appearances are tied for the fifth-longest active streak with Oklahoma, while their 75 wins in the tournament are fifth-best in NCAA history. Additionally, UW's nine WCWS appearances are tied for the fifth-most in history with Michigan.
After taking 17 years to win their first title, the Huskies will look to become the first team to win back-to-back titles since Arizona in 2006 and '07 and just the sixth team overall.
2009 IN REVIEW
The Huskies finally captured the program's first national championship in its ninth trip to the Women's College World Series, sweeping then-No. 1 Florida, two-games-to-none, in the best-of-three Championship Series. Led by WCWS Most Outstanding Player Danielle Lawrie, the Huskies blew the Gators away, 8-0, in game one before a dramatic 3-2 series-clinching victory. Lawrie, who was also named the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, went 5-1 with a 1.88 ERA in the World Series and All-American senior Ashley Charters capped her career by hitting .476 in the series.
The Huskies also got clutch performances from underclassmen in the final week, with freshmen Kimi Pohlman and Niki Williams and sophomore Morgan Stuart being named All-College World Series while sophomore transfer Jenn Salling started showing signs of her All-American form as the season progressed. UW's 51 wins were the fourth-most in school history and the championship was UW's first in its 17-year history. The Huskies also finished the Pac-10 season with a 14-7 record, finishing second to UCLA, their most conference wins and highest finish since 2000.
With a three-game sweep of Stanford in the second-to-last Pac-10 weekend, and with UCLA and Arizona each losing the same week, the Huskies clinched their third Pac-10 title in school history and first since 2000. UW then made sure it wouldn't have to share the crown when they won two-of-three from Arizona State over the final weekend, clinching its first outright title since 1996, the year the Huskies won their first conference championship and went on to finish as the NCAA runner-up.
The Huskies finished with a record of 17-4 in Pac-10, winning all seven series they played, three via sweep. Their 17 wins equals the most by a Husky team since the conference shifted to a 21-game format in 2000. That year, the team also went 17-4 and shared the Pac-10 title with Arizona. The 1996 team won the crown with a 23-4 record. After taking two-of-three at Arizona State, UW joined the 2000 team as the only ones in school history to win every conference season series.
The Huskies waited a long time to host an NCAA Regional - 10 years to be exact - and they didn't disappoint the home crowd, winning three close games to advance to the NCAA Super Regionals. UW opened up with a 3-0 win over 2009 Super Regional participant North Dakota State, with Danielle Lawrie firing a four-hit shutout with 13 strikeouts while also providing the offense with a two-run home run. On Saturday, the Huskies used an unearned run to eek out a 1-0 win over North Carolina, with Lawrie breaking her own school record with her 22nd shutout, allowing just two hits and striking out 11. Then on Sunday, with UNC needing to win three games in one day - including two over UW - the Huskies were able to escape the winner-take-all game when they won a 2-1 thriller in eight innings on freshman Shawna Wright's walk-off double down the left field line. Lawrie out-dueled Tar Heel ace Danielle Spaulding - who fired two no-hitters over the weekend - for the second time, allowing just one run on three hits and striking out 15, giving her 39 Ks and just one walk in 22 innings over the weekend.
NEARING THE 50-WIN MARK
The Huskies recently won their 40th game of the season to reach the milestone for the 14th time in the 18-year history of the program and now at 48-6 they are closing in on the eighth 50-win season in school history. UW is just one shy of its best-ever 53-game mark, just behind the 2000 team which started 49-5 and did not lose theirsixth game until the 58th contest of the season, going on to win a school-record 62 games (62-9) before finishing fifth in the College World Series. Last year's Husky team was 43-11 through 54 games before finishing 51-12 and winning its first National Championship.
THEY SAY DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS...
Perhaps overshadowed by Danielle Lawrie and a powerful offense, the Husky defense may be the most underrated reason why UW has been ranked No. 1 in the nation all season. The Huskies lead the Pac-10 and rank seventh in the nation with a .976 fielding percentage, making just 34 errors in 54 games. They had gone a season-high nine games without an error recently before the streak was broken against Stanford. With at least two games remaining, UW is on pace to smash the school record for fewest errors in a season, set by the 2000 team which made 48 and also owns the highest fielding percentage in school history (.977). The Huskies have given up just six unearned runs in 54 games this season after giving up 31 in 63 games last year.
AS STEADY AS THEY GET
As a team, UW has been as consistent as they come this year, losing just six games all year and never dropping two games in succession. In fact, only once has UW lost games on consecutive weekends, which happened recently when the Huskies dropped a game at Oregon, then lost one to Cal on the road. UW lost its first game on Feb. 19 then won 18 straight before falling to DePaul. UW would win their next five before being up-ended by UCLA but they bounced back to win the next six conference games. They only slipped a bit on the road in conference play, dropping two in a four-game span, but they rebounded to win seven straight to clinch the Pac-10 title.
The Huskies defeated Arizona State, 9-0, on the final regular-season weekend for their 16th mercy-rule victory this year. They had 14 last year, including four in Pac-10 play. This year, UW had five mercy rule wins in five innings in conference play, breaking last year's mark for the most in school history. Three of those wins came against ranked teams as they took down Cal, Stanford and Arizona State all in five. UW also won five games via the run-rule in 2005, but two of those lasted six innings.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
NO. 14 OKLAHOMA SOONERS
2010 Overall: 46-10 (#11 NFCA; #8 USA Softball)
2010 Big 12: 13-3 (Second Regular-Season; Big-12 Tournament Champs)
2009: 41-16, 14-4 (NCAA Regionals)
Series vs. UW: Washington leads, 7-6
About Oklahoma: The Sooners are looking for a little redemption after a disappointing end to their 2009 season when they bowed out in the NCAA Regionals as the No. 7 seed on their home field against North Dakota State. The Sooners returned a pair of powerful hitters to their lineup in All-Americans Amber Flores and Haley Nix and also added a pair of impact freshmen in catcher Jessica Shults and pitcher Keilani Ricketts. Shults leads the squad with a .370 average, 14 home runs and 61 RBI while Ricketts is an impressive 31-8 with a 1.19 ERA, striking out 324 batters in 240.2 innings pitched. Flores and Nix have been steady as expected, with Flores belting 12 home runs and driving home 31 runs while Nix has added 11 long balls and 35 RBI. Senior Lindsey Vandever has also had a big year, belting 12 home runs and driving in 46. The Sooners finished second to Texas in the Big-12 regular season standings, but they won the Conference Tournament and head into Super Regionals riding a 14-game winning streak.
Series History: The Huskies took back the series lead from the Sooners back in February when they won a 7-4 decision in the prestigious Cathedral City Classic. While the Sooners scored a season-high tying four runs off Danielle Lawrie, the UW offense also got to the freshman Ricketts for six runs, two coming off the bat of Lawrie, who blasted a two-run home run off her counterpart. She also struck out nine and got some help from Niki Williams, who launched a three-run shot, and Taylor Smith, who added a solo home run in the slugfest. The teams have played each other four times in the NCAA postseason, twice in the Women's College World Series and twice in Regionals. After the Sooners beat the Huskies twice in the 2001 NCAA Regionals to deny them a spot in the WCWS, the Huskies would get their revenge in 2003 when they defeated the Sooners, 3-1, in the World Series. OU did beat UW, 6-2, in the 2004 World Series the only other time they played each other in postseason.
Common Opponents: California (W, 12-1); San Diego State (W, 4-0); Oregon State (W, 6-1); Nevada (W, 8-7); Oklahoma State (L, 1-0; L, 3-2; W, 11-1); Cal State Northridge (W, 4-1; L, 1-0); Arizona State (W, 5-4); Arizona (L, 4-3);
With five home runs over a recent weekend against Oregon State - including a season-high four in one game - UW surpassed their home run total from all of last year when they hit 51 in 63 games. The Huskies now have 61 in 54 games after hitting 40 home runs through 54 games last season. The Huskies also have 16 multi-home run games, two more than they had all of last year. In fact, the Huskies have hit three or more home runs in a game nine times this year, something they did just twice all last year. The 61 home runs are already the fourth-most in school history, trailing teams from 2003 (75), 2005 (80) and 2000 (84).
Danielle Lawrie leads the squad with 15 home runs, which would have more than led the team lead last year, and freshman Shawna Wright is right on her heels with 11, going yard a team-best four times in conference play. Niki Williams has also posted a career-best 11 long balls - more than twice as many as her freshman year last season - while sophomore Taylor Smith, despite starting just 19 of 54 games, is fourth on the team with eight home runs. Exactly half of her 16 hits this year are for home runs.
UNDERCLASSMEN PULLING THEIR WEIGHT
In last year's Women's College World Series, UW's offense was carried mostly by underclassmen and through most of conference play, the freshmen and sophomores were once again clutch down the stretch. Sophomores Kimi Pohlman and Niki Williams and freshmen Shawna Wright and Hooch Fagaly led the way for the Dawgs, with Pohlman leading the team in average (.418), hits (28), runs (20) and stolen bases (9) and Wright leading the team in doubles (7), home runs (4), RBI (24) and slugging percentage (.629). Williams ranked second on the team with 16 RBI while Fagaly drew a team-high 17 walks and led the team in on base percentage (.484).
SECOND TO NONE
With 12 strikeouts in the final regular-season weekend, Danielle Lawrie broke the Pac-10's career strikeout record, moving past Arizona great Alicia Hollowell in the final game of the weekend. Last weekend, Lawrie became just the fourth pitcher in NCAA history to go over the 1,800-K mark (she's at 1,811) and she will end the season No. 4 on the all-time charts. The No. 3 spot all-time is held by Virginia Tech's Angela Tincher, who finished with 2,149, out of reach for the Husky senior.
Lawrie is also moving up the charts in several other categories in the Pac-10 record books. She took over the career lead in appearances and is also No. 2 now in wins (134), strikeouts per seven innings (10.95), innings (1,204.1) and starts (163) while also ranking third in complete games (145) and seventh in shutouts (63). She is also in the NCAA all-time top 10 in all of the above categories except shutouts, where she ranks No. 20.
LAWRIE NAMED PLAYER OF THE YEAR FINALIST
The top 10 finalists for the 2010 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award were named last week and UW's Danielle Lawrie was among the finalists. Lawrie is the reigning USA Softball Player of the Year and will look to become only the second two-time winner, joining Texas' Cat Osterman, who won three times. Lawrie has been a force at the plate and in the circle, leading the nation in shutouts (22) and ranking in the top-10 in wins (38), strikeouts (446), ERA (0.94), walks per seven innings (0.88) and strikeouts per seven innings (11.60). She is also leading the Huskies in home runs (15) and RBI (57). She was one of four Pac-10 players named to the list, joining Cal's Valerie Arioto, Arizona's Kenzie Fowler and UCLA's Megan Langenfeld.
Jenn Salling was named to the list of 25 finalists, getting added to the list after not being among the top 50 players named prior to the season. She was a top-10 finalist as a freshman in 2007. Kimi Pohlman, meanwhile, was named to the initial watch list of 50 players.
AWARDS PILING UP FOR LAWRIE
At this rate, Danielle Lawrie is going to have to buy a house just for all the hardware she's earning this year. After going 3-0 against Stanford late in Pac-10 play, allowing one run and six hits in 20 innings with 34 strikeouts and a no-hitter while also going 4-for-9 with four RBI and a walk-off home run, the senior was named the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week along with both the NFCA National Player of the Week and the USA Softball National Player of the Week. The conference honor was her record-breaking seventh of the season, breaking her own mark set last year, and was the 17th of her career, extending another record. She won the award again in the final week of the season to give her eight on the year, including six of the last seven weeks, and 18 in her career. She ended the Pac-10 season with a 17-2 record and 1.01 ERA with 212 strikeouts against some of the best teams in the country. In fact, her 212 conference Ks were exactly twice as many as the second-most by a pitcher in conference play, with Arizona's Kenzie Fowler fanning 106. She parlayed those numbers into being named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year for the second straight year.
Lawrie also made national history with her USA Softball Player of the Week honor, becoming the first player to ever win the award three times in a single season. Last year's USA Softball Player of the Year won the award following the opening week of the season - when she also won the NFCA POW as well - and earned her second honor after going 3-0 against then-No. 2 Arizona.
While she has no one else to chase in the Husky record books, Danielle Lawrie is doing a pretty good job of chasing down her own records, most of which she set last year. With 446 strikeouts on the season, Lawrie is third on the UW single-season charts and now owns the top four spots all time, setting the record with 521 last year, as well as ranking second with 457 in 2007 and fourth with 387 in 2006. Jennifer Spediacci is the only other Husky in the top five, striking out 316 in 2000. With two more shutouts last weekend to give her 22, Lawrie broke her own single-season mark of 21 set last year. She also won three games to give her 38 on the season, second on the single-season charts, behind her record 42 last year.
Danielle Lawrie made as much noise in the preseason with her bat as she did with her arm, but once conference play started, the senior went into a bit of a funk. She went just 2-for-16 over the first two weekends with one RBI and was in the midst of a 2-for-17 funk with no RBI over her last six games going into UW's home weekend against Stanford. Lawrie then broke out by going 4-for-9 with four RBI against the Cardinal, including a two-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh inning of the second game to give UW a 2-1 win. She then went 5-for-11 with eight RBI in UW's final regular-season series against ASU, hitting a home run in each of the first two games while going 3-for-3 with five RBI in the finale. She hit another two-run shot last weekend in 3-0 win over North Dakota State to open NCAA Tournament play and since her 2-for-17 funk, Lawrie is batting .345 (10-for-29) with four home runs and 14 RBI in the last nine games. Her walk-off home run broke a 21-game and 62 at-bat homerless drought.
What has made Danielle Lawrie perhaps even better in 2010 than she was in her record-setting 2009 season is the lack of walks the pitcher has allowed this season. Lawrie has given up just 34 walks in 269.1 innings and 43 appearances this season, a 0.88 walks-per-seven innings ratio which ranks fifth in the nation. By comparison, Lawrie had 56 walks through 43 appearances last year and finished the season with 76. She had already reached 34 walks by April 4 and went into conference play with 28. This season she had just seven walks heading into Pac-10 play before conference batters had a little better eye against her. Still, Lawrie has had 22 appearances without a walk this year after just 16 all last year in 52 appearances.
DON'T MAKE HER MAD
After giving up a season-high tying four runs in her third loss of the season against Oregon on April 17, Lawrie has been unbeatable, going 14-0 with a 0.57 ERA (seven earned runs in 85 innings) and 163 strikeouts in 94 innings. She allowed just two earned runs over her next 63 innings after the Oregon outing and since ASU scored four off her on the final week of the regular season, she's allowed just one earned run in her last 27 innings.
Lawrie threw 25-consecutive scoreless after the loss to Oregon before Oregon State scored a run in the first inning of their first game three weeks ago. She then threw another 26-consecutive scoreless innings before Stanford All-American and USA National Team player Ashley Hansen went yard against her three weekends ago. The longest scoreless streak of Lawrie's career came early last season when she went 64.1 consecutive innings without allowing a single run and also went 90.0 straight without allowing an earned run.