Author’s note: This will be a brief recap, because I have to go to work at my job that I actually get paid for in a few minutes (sad face). Because of this, I will unfortunately not be able to cover/tweet about the game today, other than occasionally on my breaks and such. I will be back for tomorrow’s games. The best source to follow the games today in my absence is to follow @J_Kirshenbaum on Twitter. He’s the UW Daily writer that covers the softball team, and he’s got as much knowledge on the team as I do, if not more. Go Dawgs! -Ed
Well, that was a fun game to have as my first-ever chance to be in the postgame press conference! Husky softball run-ruled Montana 8-0 in five innings, and Taran Alvelo pitched her first career no-hitter! Alvelo threw all five innings for UW, striking out eight, and allowing just two baserunners: a two-out walk in the third, and a leadoff HBP in the fifth.
Whenever there is a no-hitter, it feels like there’s always at least one play by the defense that saves a hit somewhere along the way. None of them were extremely difficult, but three plays stood out to me as very solid efforts to help Alvelo keep her no-no intact.
1) With two outs in the top of the first, Montana’s Bethany Olea hit a shallow fly ball to right-center. That kind of hit has a tendency to get down in the triangle between the CF, RF, and 2B, but right fielder Trysten Melhart got a great jump on the ball and made a running basket catch to end the inning.
2) The first batter of the third inning hit a fairly generic ground ball to the left side, but it was well-placed between 3B Taylor Van Zee and SS Ali Aguilar. Van Zee had the first chance at the ball, but due to having to go backwards and to her left, the resulting throw would have come at a very difficult angle, so she displayed great field awareness to let the ball go a few more feet to Aguilar behind her, who had a much better angle to throw the runner out at first. The temptation to field a ball just because you can is usually pretty hard to mentally override.
3) After Taran issued a two-out walk for her first baserunner of the game, Sis Bates made the play of the game on a chopper up the middle. Montana’s lead-off hitter hit a high-hopper that took one high hop over Alvelo and sprinted for first. Knowing the runner’s speed, Bates knew she had to charge the ball, rather than letting it come up from the second bounce. She fielded a tough short hop and fired off-balance to Kirstyn Thomas at first to get Martinez by about half a step.
Offensively, all eight Husky runs came in the bottom of the third, 6 of them unearned. The costly error came with Aguilar at first and one out, when Casey Stangel grounded a slow roller to first. The usually rock-solid defensive first baseman for Montana, Lyons, muffed the ball, allowing Stangel to reach first and Aguilar to get all the way to third. After extra base hits by Morganne Flores (RBI double) and Van Zee (2-run triple), a groundout by DePonte probably should have been the final out. But then the next five Huskies all reached base, punctuated by Kelly Burdick lining a 2-run single over the head of the shortstop and Bates doubling over the head of the RF and off the base of the wall to cap the big inning.
Schedule for Saturday:
Game 3: Michigan vs. Washington (2 PM, ESPN) – winner to game 6 (Sunday), loser to game 5
Game 4: Montana vs. Fresno State (4:30 PM, ESPN3) – winner to game 5, loser eliminated
Game 5: Loser game 3 vs. Winner game 4 (7 PM, ESPN3 and possibly a physical channel as well) – winner to game 6 (Sunday), loser eliminated