April 18, 2010

Courtesy of Northwestern

EUGENE, Ore. - Danielle Lawrie bounced back from her second loss of the season to fire a two-hit shutout with 12 strikeouts, giving the No. 1 Washington softball team its 800th win in program history, not to mention sole possession of first place in the Pac-10 with a 1-0 win over No. 17 Oregon Sunday at Howe Field.

The Huskies (35-4, 7-2) won the series, 2-1, over the Ducks, who came into the weekend in a first-place tie with the Huskies. After UW took the first game, 9-2, on Friday, Oregon (30-8, 6-3) moved back into a tie for first with a 4-0 win Saturday. But Lawrie's stellar pitching and an unearned run in the sixth were enough to give UW the top spot in the standings after three weeks of conference play.

Lawrie allowed a hit and a walk in the first then settled down to retire 16 consecutive batters before another harmless single in the sixth. She then retired the side in the seventh, including her 12th strikeout of the game, to improve to 25-2.

The senior struck out the side in the second and fanned two each in first, fourth, fifth and sixth innings. She is now just 10 strikeouts shy of moving into sixth in NCAA history and second in Pac-10 history for career Ks after moving into seventh and third, respectively, on Saturday.

UW out-hit the Ducks, 6-2, with sophomore Kimi Pohlman collecting two of UW's six hits, going 2-for-4.

The Huskies had a chance to score early in the game when Pohlman led off with a single and stole second before moving to third on a dropped third strike after Jenn Salling went down swinging. But Oregon starter Jessica Moore struck out the next two batters to escape without allowing a run.

Lawrie also escaped a jam in the first with some help from her freshman catcher Shawna Wright. After Allie Burger led off with a single, Wright promptly threw her out attempting to steal, Wright's Pac-10-leading eighth runner caught stealing this year. Lawrie would walk the next batter before retiring the Ducks with back-to-back strikeouts.

Pitching continued to dominate the day as both Moore and Lawrie struck out the side in the second, with the Huskies getting their second hit, a one-out single by Hooch Fagaly before Moore struck out the final two of the inning.

Both teams also went quietly in the third, fourth and fifth innings before the Huskies finally broke through in the top of the sixth to break a string of 12 consecutive scoreless innings. Salling reached on an error to start the inning and Lawrie followed with a double to move the junior to third. One out later, the duo moved up a base each on a passed ball, allowing Salling to score and give UW the 1-0 lead.

Lawrie then shut the door on the Ducks in the sixth, allowing a two-out single - the Ducks first base runner since the first - but she struck out two in the inning to keep the Huskies on top. Lawrie then retired the side in the seventh, recording her 12th strikeout of the game, followed by a ground out and a pop out, to give UW the series win.

The Huskies stay on the road next week when they travel to Berkeley to take on No. 19/16 California in a three-game series. The series kicks off Friday at 3 p.m. followed by matinees on Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at Noon.