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Husky softball into semifinals, needing 2 wins against Florida today (game thread)

Taran Alvelo threw a 2-hit shutout of UCLA yesterday, backed by a return to good defense by the Huskies and another solo homer from Ali Aguilar.

Semifinal Sunday, here we are. The Huskies advanced to the “Final Four” of the WCWS by beating UCLA 1-0 in an elimination game last night to move on to today against the top-seeded Gators. The Huskies will be the “home” team for the first game (10 AM, ESPN) and would the “road” team for the if-necessary game (4 PM, ESPN).

How the Huskies can do it: Pretty simple instructions, honestly. Taran Alvelo has to be as good as last night, and somehow the Huskies have to scratch across a run. Florida’ pitching staff is the best in the country, by a wide margin. But their offense, despite the impressive showing they’ve put up at the WCWS so far (8 vs A&M, 7 vs LSU), is still probably the least dangerous offense in the field of 8 teams. If Alvelo can throw a 2-hit shutout of UCLA, one of the top offenses in the country, she is definitely capable of shutting out Florida.

Now, the scratching across a run part is a bit more complicated. Kelly Barnhill is not only an elite pitcher, but a strikeout artist, piling up huge numbers of punchouts. You’re pretty much not going to pile up multiple hits in a row off of Barnhill. There are basically two ways I can see the Huskies getting a run:

A) Solo home run

B) Get a baserunner early in an inning, then force the Gators to make solid plays on the infield with sacrifice bunts and hope for a mistake.

It sounds kind of lame, but avoiding strikeouts is the key for Washington. Put the ball in play, and a few of them are bound to find holes. You cannot let KB get on a roll and rack up double-digit strikeouts.

Go Dawgs.