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Husky Softball Notebook: Timely Hitting

#5 Washington grinded out a 4-0 record to finish their two-week stay in Puerto Vallarta, as key late-game hits overshadowed mediocre offense.

Edward Strong

Fifth-ranked Washington finished its stay in Puerto Vallarta on a seven-game winning streak, adding four more wins during the second week of the challenge, improving to 8-1 overall.

  • UW 7, #25/NR Mississippi State 5
  • UW 3, #12/12 Arkansas 2
  • UW 3, UCF 1
  • UW 5, North Dakota State 3

A huge six-run second inning carried the Huskies to the win over Mississippi State despite a superhuman effort from Bulldog sophomore catcher Mia Davidson: 3/3, 3 HR, 5 RBI, BB. Flores hit her second home run of the year to cap the outburst in the second. The rest of the weekend was marked by solid pitching and late offense overcoming earlier struggles:

The Huskies walked off Arkansas in the seventh with back-to-back RBI hits from Sis Bates and Morganne Flores, as Hogs’ ace Mary Haff suffered her first loss.

The Knights had a 1-0 lead into the fifth inning, but UW tied it in the fifth and took the lead for good in the sixth on Emma Helm’s first home run, the first by a Husky besides Flores.

NDSU was able to tie the game 3-3 and threatened to take the lead in the fifth. After Gabbie Plain got out of the jam still tied, UW immediately re-took the lead in the sixth on a single by Bates and added another tally in the seventh.

Kaija Gibson had a big day on Friday’s doubleheader. She reached base all seven times in the wins over UCF and NDSU, collecting five hits and two walks.

After hitting the walk-off single against Arkansas on Thursday night, Flores did not play in either game on Friday. Haven’t heard that it’s anything more than an off day, but it was a bit disconcerting to not even see her make a pinch-hitting appearance.

Pac-12 Standings (records current through 2/20; Rankings are NFCA Coaches/Softball America):

  1. #2/2 UCLA (9-0)
  2. #5/5 Washington (8-1)
  3. #13/22 Arizona State (8-2)
  4. RV/NR Oregon State (8-2)
  5. #17/21 Oregon (7-2)
  6. Stanford (6-2)
  7. #14/16 Arizona (6-4)
  8. California (6-5)
  9. Utah (5-5)
  • Oregon had a really mixed bag of results against a tough slate. The Ducks got a huge win over previously undefeated LSU and shut out FAU, but also suffered lopsided losses to a pair of top-25 opponents in Kentucky and James Madison. Sophomore Virginia Tech transfer Jordan Dail has been fantastic, but Oregon’s lack of pitching depth behind her was blatantly apparent in the two losses.
  • Oregon State looked like they were going to work their way into the rankings this week after being close last week. The Beavers got to 8-0 and held a win over an LBSU squad that was ranked in week 1, but lost to (RV) Ole Miss and a rematch vs LBSU to finish the weekend.
  • Utah’s in for a rough season in Pac-12 play. They beat a decent Hofstra squad, but lost all of their games to power-conference teams, most of them in blowout fashion.
  • Meanwhile, Stanford, the cellar-dweller of the past few years, looks like they should be more competitive this year, even if a finish higher than eighth still seems unlikely.

Upcoming Schedule

As usual, the Huskies will head to the prestigious Mary Nutter Classic in Cathedral City, CA in week three, where they’ll play six games in three days (larger slate than the usual five). Once again, live streams of all games are available through FloSoftball, but for a significant price.

  • Fri, 10:30 a.m.: Cal Poly (2-6)
  • Fri, 1 p.m.: #16/17 Kentucky (6-5)
  • Sat, 2:30 p.m.: Cal State Fullerton (8-3)
  • Sat, 5 p.m.: Missouri (8-2)
  • Sun, 9 a.m.: RV/NR Northwestern (7-2)
  • Sun, 11:30 a.m.: #23/19 Texas Tech (10-0)

Don’t be thrown off too much by Kentucky’s 6-5 record. Four of UK’s losses have been to top-25 opponents (Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Illinois, and Texas), with only the loss to the fourth-ranked Sooners by more than one run. Their only other loss — a 4-3 loss on the road to a solid Houston team — was avenged a day later in a 13-1, five-inning thrashing.

Texas Tech has been possibly the biggest surprise in the country so far. Sophomore ace Erin Edmoundson is fantastic, but the Red Raiders were thought to be a distant #5 in the seven-team Big 12, ahead of only bottom-feeders Kansas and Iowa State. TTU hasn’t played a grueling schedule, but they do have four wins over 2018 NCAA Tournament teams (Auburn, Wisconsin, Drake x2).