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#1 UW Softball Matches Best Start Ever

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The top-ranked Huskies thumped #11 Alabama in the home opener, then moved to 20-0 by following it up with a win over Northwestern.

Ed Strong

Husky softball is 20-0 to start the 2018 season, picking up wins vs Alabama and Northwestern on Friday in front of 1,041 fans.

#1 Washington won their home opener in style, handing over 11th-ranked Alabama (11-3) their biggest loss of the season with an 8-0 shutout. The Dawgs then followed that up by defeating Northwestern 8-2, dropping the Wildcats to 8-7.

The Huskies jumped all over Crimson Tide ace Alexis Osorio. First a 3-run 1st, punctuated by a big 2-run blast to straightaway center from Julia DePonte, her fifth homer of the year. A 2-out throwing error by the Alabama catcher on an Atlee steal attempt allowed Emma Helm to score from 3rd with the third run of the game.

In the 2nd inning, the Huskies got even more. A hit by pitch, infield single, and walk loaded the bases for the Huskies with nobody out. Sis Bates pounded a double off the wall in right-center to bring in 2, then Kirstyn Thomas singled to bring in 2 more.

Osorio had easily her worst start of the season: 3 IP, 8 H, 7 R (6 ER), 3 BB, 2 HBP, 5 K

Gabbie Plain was fantastic against the Crimson Tide (5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K). The only true jam she faced all game was in the 2nd inning, when Alabama got runners to first and second with nobody out, then a wild pitch made it 2nd and 3rd. But Plain buckled down and got 3 straight outs without the runners moving (a groundout with the infield in, a shallow fly ball, and another groundout).

After both offenses went scoreless for the next couple of innings, Sis Bates ended any hope for the Crimson Tide in the fifth with a moonshot that stayed fair down the right field line, giving UW a 8-0 walkoff win by run-rule.

The win against Northwestern wasn't the prettiest. The Huskies trailed for just the 2nd time all year (B1 vs TAMU), as Northwestern got a 2-out RBI double in the top of the 1st.

After an uneventul B1 and T2, Noelle Hee provided the first in-person highlight for the home crowd, launching a 3-run blast into the forest between Husky Softball Stadium and Lake Washington. DePonte added her 2nd homer of the day (#6 on the season) to make it 4-1 an inning later.

Sam Manti started and was mostly effective for UW, but ran into some trouble in the fourth. With runners on 1st & 2nd with 1 out, she induced a 6-4 fielder's choice that took some nifty glove work from Nawai Kaupe. With 1st & 3rd and 2 outs, Coach Tarr turned to Taran Alvelo to escape the jam, which she did with a strikeout. Alvelo ended up getting the win in relief, improving to 10-0.

UW plays twice more on Saturday - vs #11 Alabama again at 5 PM, then against BYU at 7:15. The first of tomorrow's games starts at 10 AM with Northwestern vs Portland State.

Full Saturday schedule (road team listed first):

  • 10 AM: Northwestern (8-7) vs Portland State (2-9)
  • 12:30 PM: Northwestern vs BYU (7-10)
  • 2:45 PM: Portland State vs #11 Alabama (11-3)
  • 5 PM: #11 Alabama vs #1 Washington (20-0)
  • 7:15 PM: BYU vs #1 Washington

All games are available with free live video at pac-12.com/live/university-washington, and links to each of the live stats pages are at statbroadcast.com/events/statmonitr.php?gid=wash