May 23, 2009

Courtesy of University of Washington Sports Information.

ATLANTA - The No. 3 Washington softball team put itself a win away from a ninth trip to the Women's College World Series Saturday, pounding out 14 hits in a 7-1 rout of No. 14 Georgia Tech at Mewborn Field.

Danielle Lawrie scattered four hits and struck out 10 in improving to 36-7 to tie the UW single-season record for victories and also broke her own single-season record for strikeouts in the game. She was backed up by 14 hits from the Huskies with six different players collecting two hits each. Senior Ashley Charters went 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBI including a leadoff home run in the first inning. Sophomore Morgan Stuart went 2-for-4 with three RBI and Lawrie helped herself out by going 2-for-4 with two RBI.

Seniors Ashlyn Watson and Lauren Greer and freshman Kimi Pohlman also had two hits in the game while Jenn Salling had a double and three runs scored. Niki Williams also contributed at the plate, doubling and scoring a run. The Huskies did not strike out in 30 at bats in the game.

The junior All-American Lawrie allowed just one walk, which came on the first batter of the game when fellow Canadian National Team member Jen Yee walked on five pitches. She also got to Lawrie for a home run to make the score 3-1 in the fifth, but the Huskies came back in the sixth and scored four runs to put the game away.

UW (45-11) hit the ball all over the ballpark against two Yellow Jacket (46-14) pitchers, getting Five extra-base hits, including four double and one home run. Freshman Jessica Coan took the loss, falling to 8-4.

After Lawrie escaped the leadoff walk with two strikeouts in the first, Charters got UW's half of the first inning started off with a bang, blasting a leadoff home run to right-center field for her career-high eighth home run of the season.

Lawrie then struck out the first two batters in the second inning to give her 458 on the year, breaking her own single-season record of 457 set in 2007. She went on to strike out the side in the second and fanned the first batter of the third to give her six strikeouts in a row and nine batters retired in a row.

UW then added another run in the third to make the score 2-0. Salling, the third Canadian Olympic team member playing in the game, was hit by a pitch with two outs and Lawrie then ripped a double down the left field line, scoring Salling all the way from first. Stuart tried to add more with a deep drive to centerfield, but Georgia Tech's Blair Shimandle made a highlight-reel catch against the fence to save extra bases.

As it usually goes, Shimandle came up first in the top of the fourth and promptly broke up the no-hitter with a line shot up the middle. Whitney Haller then ripped a single up the middle to give the Yellow Jackets two on with nobody out. But Lawrie then got GT's cleanup hitter to line into a double play to Salling at short, who caught Haller leaning too far off first base. Lawrie then induced a foul pop out to the catcher to escape the jam.

The Huskies looked like they might break the game open in the fourth, loading the bases with nobody out, but Georgia Tech used some nifty defense to escape. The Yellow Jackets switched pitchers to start the inning and the Huskies greeted her by getting the first three batters on board. Watson and Greer started the inning with back-to-back singles and Alicia Blake then laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt, reaching base when the throw to first was in the dirt.

But Georgia Tech then pulled off an impressive double play to halt the threat. Niki Williams ripped a hard ground ball to Tiffany Johnson at third, who tagged pinch runner Alyson McWherter as she ran by, then flipped to third to force out Greer. Charters then hit a hard ground ball up the middle but new pitcher Kelly Eppinger snagged it and threw to first to end the inning.

The Yellow Jackets got the leadoff batter on again in the fifth on a single, but Lawrie struck out the next two and got a pop out to Salling to end the inning.

UW gave Lawrie some more breathing room in the fifth when Salling ripped a one-out double and Stuart cracked a single off the centerfield fence to get some payback on Shimandle. Watson followed with her second single of the game but the Yellow Jackets escaped without further damage.

Yee got the Ramblin' Wreck on the board when she led off the sixth with her 16th home run of the season to left-center to make it 3-1.

But the Huskies got the run right back and then some, getting four runs on five hits to all but put the game away. Charters and Lawrie had RBI singles in the inning while Stuart ripped a two-run single to break the game open.

The onslaught started when the freshman Williams lined a one-out double to right field and Charters continued to be one of the toughest outs in the country, lining a single to left field to plate Williams after she'd advanced to third on a wild pitch.

After Charters stole second, Pohlman reached on an infield single and Salling walked, before Lawrie knocked a base hit to left field to make the score 5-1. Stuart then laced a single up the middle to plate both Pohlman and Salling to cap the scoring.

UW will now need to win just one game Sunday to advance to their second Women's College World Series in the last three years. The Yellow Jackets would need to win two games Sunday to advance to their first World Series.