Schedule (all times PDT):
- Game 1: Friday, 8 PM, ESPN2
- Game 2: Saturday, 6 PM, ESPN2
- Game 3, if necessary: Sunday, 7 PM, ESPNU
Scouting the Utes
The Huskies were able to sweep the Utes in Salt Lake City two weeks ago, but two of the three games went to extra innings, including a dramatic 12-run rally by Washington in game 3 to come back from a 12-1 deficit. Unlike much of the Pac-12, Utah is not a traditional powerhouse; this is one of the best seasons in program history, if not the best. Made Supers last year by winning the Lexington regional, eliminated by Florida State in SR. Hosted a regional for the first time this year, defeated Fordham (10-0) and Brigham Young twice (3-2 and 14-0).
- Late February: shut out both #8 Tennessee and #13 LSU 3-0 at Mary Nutter Classic.
- Mid-March: swept 5th-seeded Bruins in Los Angeles for the first, second, and third wins at UCLA in program history.
- Mid-April: won 2 out of 3 at home against then-#1 (now #2) Arizona.
- Early March: went just 2-2 at the Red Desert Classic where they were clearly the strongest team in the field (Montana, Nevada, Binghamton, Omaha).
- Late March: swept at home in abbreviated 2-game series (rain) by the Ducks, getting outscored 15-3.
- Early May: faded down the stretch, losing 2 of 3 at Oregon State and getting swept at home by Washington. Scored more than two runs just twice in those 6 games.
Senior 2B #1 Hannah Flippen (Bonita, CA)
Won co-player of the year in the Pac-12 (shared with Arizona’s Katiyana Mauga). Slashed .436/.522/.758 on the season. Led team in hits (65), doubles (12), triples (3-tied), home runs (10), RBI (50-tied), walks (24-tied) and stolen bases (stole 12, caught just once). Flippen was drafted in the National Pro Fastpitch draft by the Scrap Yard Dawgs (17th overall).
Senior SS #17 Anissa Urtez (Long Beach, CA)
Slashed .405/.456/.520 overall. Tied with Flippen for RBI lead. Stole eight bases without being caught. Struck out just 10 times in over 160 plate appearances.
Junior pitcher #20 Miranda Viramontes (Chino, CA)
Went 14-3 with a 1.24 ERA. Pitches to contact very well: struck out 71 in 113 1⁄3 innings, which isn’t a ton, but walked just 16 batters all season. Gave up just two home runs and threw just two wild pitches. Bottom line: she’ll give up some singles, But she doesn’t walk people and doesn’t give up many extra-base hits. Notable: she hasn’t pitched as much in the last few weeks as she was earlier in the season despite still being the Utes’ most effective pitcher, probably due to some sort of day-to-day injury (I believe Pac-12 Network mentioned something about a back injury, but don’t quote me on that).
The Utes are going to come to play. I’m sure the Husky players are going to downplay the significance of the sweep in Salt Lake, but Utah will be motivated not only for revenge, but looking for their first WCWS ever. The main advantage for UW is the ability to put up crooked numbers on the scoreboard quickly when the opposing pitchers are struggling. I would guess this series will be mostly close, but 1 or 2 big Husky innings (3rd inning, perhaps, if the regional trend continues?) makes the difference and blows a game open.
Huskies in 3. In no particular order: two close games split between the teams, a third game broken open by the Huskies when they chase Viramontes.