On Survival Saturday, the No. 3 Washington Huskies lived to fight another day.
Gabbie Plain fanned 10 batters in 6.2 innings of work and the Huskies outlasted the No. 7 Minnesota Gophers, winning 5-3.
The Huskies now move on to face Oklahoma State in Game 9 of the Women’s College World Series, which will be played 45 minutes after Florida vs. Alabama concludes Saturday night.
Here’s how the Huskies won it.
- Morganne Flores cranked the first pitch she saw over the centerfield fence for a solo home run in the first inning, giving the Huskies an early edge. It was the 23rd dinger of the year for Flores, a mark that is tied for fourth best in the nation.
- Flores’ homer prompted a special handshake from teammates Rachel Ogasawara.
- Sami Reynolds reached base on a fielding error later in the inning, got pushed to second on a walk, got to third on a fielder’s choice and then scored on a wild pitch. Smart base-running paid off here for the Huskies.
- Plain was wheeling and dealing early. She needed just nine pitchers to send down the Gophers’ first three batters, with a groundout and a pair of strikeouts. The second inning was a 1-2-3 affair too, as she used 13 pitches to tally a pair of strikeouts and a line-out to third base.
BY THE NUMBERS: These are the three best pitchers in college softball
- But Plain’s no-hit and shutout bid ended in the third inning when Minnesota’s Carlie Brandt notched a double and then scored, but Plain notched two more strikeouts anyways, preventing the Gophers’ from mounting a serious rally.
- Washington’s lead got a bit more comfortable in the fourth inning when Sis Bates hit a blooper into shallow left centerfield. That single scored Madison Husky.
- The Huskies looked to have another run cross the plate in the fourth inning, but the Gophers were able to get a force-out at home plate.
- And then… well. Nothing happened. For a while. Weather forced this game to be delayed for more than two hours.
There are worse places to spend a weather delay... pic.twitter.com/NdLgb3nAKG— Minnesota Softball (@GopherSoftball) June 1, 2019
- When play restarted, Reynolds was there to deliver again for the Huskies, sending the Gophers’ 2-0 offering into centerfield for a base-clearing double that drove in two runs. Reynolds now has 43 RBIs this season, good for second most on the team.
- In the bottom of the seventh, Brandt came through again for the Gophers, driving in a pair of runs with a double down the right field line.
- However, the Gophers’ rally would end there. Washington brought in Taran Alvelo to notch the final strikeout of the contest.
Mitchell Northam is a graduate of Salisbury University. His work has been featured at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Orlando Sentinel, SB Nation, FanSided, USA Today and the Delmarva Daily Times. He grew up on Maryland's Eastern Shore and is now based in Durham, N.C.