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Husky Softball Notebook: Power Outage

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Elite pitching can’t bail out struggling bats as UW drops two in Fullerton.

Edward Strong

#5/5 Washington finished the road portion of non-conference play by going 2-2 at the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, CA.

Results:

  • UW 8, #21/NR Auburn 6 (9 inn.)
  • #3 Florida 1, UW 0 (8 inn.)
  • Michigan 4, UW 2
  • UW 2, Cal State Fullerton 0

Washington was supposed to also play Fresno State on Saturday, but heavy rain wiped out all of Saturday's games.

Taran Alvelo pitched an absolute gem but took a hard-luck loss against the Gators. Alvelo struck out a career-high 15 and allowed just one unearned run.

Starving for Pop

The Huskies have hit just five home runs through 19 games. As of Sunday, there were already 55 players in the country who have hit more as individuals. UW’s national rank in multiple other power-based categories doesn’t offer much better results, either: #180 in slugging, tied for #191 in doubles/game, #235 in homers/game.

Even with Morganne Flores returning from injury, it seemed pretty likely that UW’s power would go down this year, as the best three power hitters in 2018 all graduated (Julia DePonte, Kirstyn Thomas and Taylor Van Zee).

The schedule is clearly a major factor as well. After an unusually easy non-conference schedule last year, UW has had one of the toughest schedules in the nation to this point (MasseyRatings has them #2 behind only Michigan). The schedule gets a one-week reprieve with the Husky Classic — no Alabama-like foe coming to town this year — before Pac-12 play starts and it ramps right back up.

Sophomore DP Noelle Hee has had a miserable start: 6-for-36 (.167) without a single extra-base hit. Flores hasn’t been anywhere near her dominant sophomore campaign, posting a reasonable but unspectacular slash line of .267/.286/.417. Star junior Sis Bates hasn’t been bad overall, but having nothing beyond a double (and only three of those) this far in is a head-scratcher.

Pac-12 Standings (Rankings are NFCA Coaches/Softball America, records current through March 7):

  1. #2/2 UCLA (17-1)
  2. RV/22 Stanford (16-2)
  3. #6/7 Washington (16-3)
  4. #12/13 Arizona (17-5)
  5. RV/NR Oregon State (12-4)
  6. #16/23 Arizona State (16-7)
  7. California (14-7)
  8. #24/NR Oregon (11-7)
  9. Utah (7-12)

Pac-12 Notes

  • Arizona popped out of their recent funk. The Wildcats are always going to be streaky because they rely so heavily on the long ball, but Arizona went 6-0 last week with top-25 wins over Minnesota and James Madison. After homering in both halves of a doubleheader sweep at NMSU Tuesday, junior shortstop Jessie Harper is now the national leader in homers with 13. Along with teammates Dejah Mulipola and Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza, who have seven each, UA has three players with more homers than UW has as a team.
  • The Cal offense is rolling. The Bears started 7-7 against a tough schedule but have taken full advantage as it's gotten easier with seven straight wins, the last five coming via run-rule.
  • Oregon's top-25 streak is in serious jeopardy. The Ducks have been ranked in 139 straight NFCA polls, dating back to week 10 of 2010. They're pretty lucky to still be at #24 this week after an 0-3 rain-shortened weekend in Fullerton. Now #20/19 Oklahoma State comes to Eugene in UO's home opener.

Husky Classic Schedule (road team listed first)

After four weeks on the road to open the season, Washington plays their final non-conference weekend at home, as Ohio State, Northern Illinois, Idaho State, and cross-town Seattle U come to Montlake. The Huskies will play a total of six games, while every other team plays five.

Tickets: Ticket info is available here. Reserved seats on Sunday are sold out.

Watch: Free live streams of all games will be available at pac-12.com/live/university-washington-2.

Listen: All six of Washington’s games will have radio broadcasts that will also be heard through the live video stream: longtime announcer Mike Brown will be on the call Friday and Sunday, while I will be on play-by-play on Saturday.

Fri., March 8:

  • 11:15 a.m.: NR/RV Ohio State (8-4) vs. Seattle (11-7)
  • 1:30 p.m.: Idaho State (6-9) vs. Northern Illinois (8-7)
  • 3:45 p.m. Ohio State at #6/7 Washington (16-3)
  • 6 p.m.: Northern Illinois at Washington

Sat., March 9

  • 9 a.m.: Seattle vs. Ohio State
  • 11:15 a.m.: Seattle vs. Northern Illinois
  • 1:30 p.m.: Idaho State vs. Ohio State
  • 3:45 p.m.: Northern Illinois at Washington
  • 6 p.m.: Idaho State at Washington

Sun., March 10

  • 10 a.m.: Northern Illinois vs. Ohio State
  • 12:15 p.m.: Idaho State at Washington
  • 2:30 p.m.: Seattle at Washington