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Husky Softball downs Utah 10-4 behind Flores’ 2 HR, 7 RBI

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Morganne Flores set a career-high with 7 runs batted in, smacking a 3-run homer and a grand slam as the Huskies took game 1 of the best-of-three series.

Washington Huskies catcher Morganne Flores (right) heads towards home after getting congratulations from head coach Heather Tarr after hitting a home run against Utah.
Edward Strong

The top five hitters of the Washington lineup put on a show as the Huskies battered Utah 10-4 on Friday night. This is the second time in the past three games that the Dawgs have chased the opponent’s best pitcher in the first inning (Megan Betsa lasted just 13 of an inning in the first of the two games against the Huskies; Miranda Viramontes could not record an out against UW today against 5 batters, giving up 4 hits, 4 runs (earned), and walking one.

  • SS Ali Aguilar: 2/2, 2B, 3 runs, 2 walks, 1 gorgeous 360 spin move and perfect throw to rob Utah’s Heather Bowen of a single leading off the second inning.
  • 2B Sis Bates: 2/3, 2 runs, walk
  • LF Casey Stangel: 2/2, 2 runs, 2 RBI, 2 walks
  • C Morganne Flores: 2/3, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 2 runs, walk. Could have had another hit and another RBI if not for a fantastic diving play to end the fifth by Utes 1B Bridget Castro.
  • 3B Taylor Van Zee: 3/4, HR.

The first HR for Flores cleared the left field wall by about a foot. The second home run by Flores (the grand slam) and the solo homer by Van Zee were both destroyed. I believe the grand slam ball ended up in Lake Washington, but if it didn’t, it was really close. Van Zee’s shot to right-center cleared the bleachers entirely and landed on the football practice field beyond the stadium. If you can find the highlight of TVZ’s homer, watch the right fielder. She turns, takes maybe one step towards the wall, and just stops to watch it go. Doesn’t even start to run at all.

For the second straight start, Taran Alvelo was reasonably effective without many strikeouts. Alvelo’s line:

  • 7 innings
  • 7 hits
  • 4 runs, earned
  • 1 walk
  • 1 strikeout
  • 1 hit batter (interestingly enough, the batter she hit with a first-pitch fastball - Utes catcher Kelly Martinez - had driven in the only three Utah runs to that point with a home run in her previous at-bat). I don’t think it was intentional, but that’s actually kind of the point: coincidences happen.

The Huskies played very well defensively. No errors, no miscommunication on pop-ups/fly balls, a few good plays (Kaija Gibson made a nice running catch in deep left-center, Trysten Melhart ran one down near the warning track in right), and one amazing play:

With UW leading 4-0 after one inning, Utah third baseman Heather Bowen smacked a hard grounder past Alvelo towards center field. The fact that Ali Aguilar managed to get to the ball was somewhat impressive in of itself, needing a quick first step and a well-timed extension. But to then pirouette 360 degrees to get a better throwing angle, AND fire the throw to first before having a chance to even set her feet, is just unfair.

Schedule

The Huskies and Utes play game 2 of the best-of-three series Saturday at 6 PM on ESPN2. With a win, the Huskies would advance to the Women’s College World Series for the first time since 2013. If the Utes win tomorrow, that would force a game 3, which would be played Sunday at 7 PM on ESPNU.

Note: I will not be able to update people through the first couple of innings tomorrow, as I once again have to go work at the place that I get paid, rather than the place I have fun. I should be able to catch the game starting in the 3rd inning or so, but there’s a few ways to follow the game: