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Husky Softball Notebook: Three straight sweeps

Bates collects eight more hits as UW sweeps Cal

Washington Athletics/Red Box Pictures

Washington (32-6, 9-3 Pac-12) became the third Pac-12 team with an active double-digit win streak, picking up their third straight sweep as they rolled past Cal (22-18, 1-10) in Berkeley.

  • UW 8, Cal 0 (6 inn.)
  • UW 6, Cal 2
  • UW 4, Cal 0

Individual notes

  • Junior shortstop Sis Bates pushed her hitting streak to seven games with an 8-for-11 weekend against the Golden Bears, bringing her season batting average over .400 for the first time since February 23.
  • Senior center fielder Amirah Milloy had two extra-base hits in the same game for the third time in as many Sunday games, hitting a double and a triple in Sunday’s 4-0 win. Somewhat surprisingly for a player with her elite speed, that was Milloy’s first career triple. She entered Sunday with 14 doubles and five home runs as a Husky.
  • Sophomore Gabbie Plain pitched a six-inning complete-game shutout on Friday, then entered to start the fifth inning in each of the final two games, recording nine outs to earn a pair of saves in back of Taran Alvelo. She’s allowed six hits and one walk on her current 17-inning scoreless streak.
  • Freshman third baseman SilentRain Espinoza made her first two career starts against a Pac-12 opponent against the Bears, picking up an RBI single in Saturday’s game.

Pac-12 Standings (records current through 4/11; rankings are NFCA Coaches/Softball America)

  1. #8/3 Arizona (32-7, 12-0 Pac-12)
  2. #1/1 UCLA (35-1, 9-0)
  3. RV/NR Stanford (28-6, 5-1)
  4. #4/7 Washington (32-6, 9-3)
  5. #24/NR Arizona State (25-14, 5-7)
  6. Utah (13-24, 2-7)
  7. Oregon (16-19, 1-8)
  8. Oregon State (19-14, 1-9)
  9. California (22-18, 1-10)

Around #Pac12SB

  • The Wildcats blasted Utah 13-0, 22-1, and 13-2 for an emphatic sweep in Salt Lake City. The Cats have arguably been the best team in the country over the past four weeks, hammering out a 14-0 mark, outscoring their opponents 136-13. Arizona has now hit more home runs this season (77) than they’ve allowed total runs (73). Unless Grand Canyon, Stanford, or Cal can pull off a pretty significant upset in the next three weeks, UW’s final road trip of the regular season will be to face a team on a 23-game winning streak in early May.
  • UCLA keeps chugging along, run-ruling ASU three times (10-0, 9-0, and 16-5) as they pushed their win streak to 19 with a sweep in Tempe. After a week where the Bruins offense struggled to put up runs, scoring just 10 total runs against a struggling Cal pitching staff, they got back to business against an also-struggling Sun Devil team.
  • Nearly-ranked Stanford continues to play well, but also continues to have problems getting games played due to weather issues. The Cardinal knocked off Oregon State in Corvallis 3-2 on Friday before both Saturday and Sunday’s games were rained out. Combined with a cancellation of the final game vs rival Cal three weeks ago, Stanford has only played two-thirds of their scheduled nine games so far. Stanford gets one more week of tune-up (vs Utah) with a brutal final stretch looming: at Arizona, vs ASU, vs UCLA, at Washington.

Upcoming Pac-12 schedule

All conference series this week are Friday-Sunday.

  • Oregon State at California
  • Oregon at #1/1 UCLA
  • Utah at RV/NR Stanford
  • #24/NR Arizona State at #4/7 Washington

Surging #8/3 Arizona is off from conference play this week. The Wildcats will head to Phoenix to play a three-game series against in-state foe Grand Canyon, with a Friday doubleheader and a single game Saturday.

Washington-Arizona State

  • Fri, 5 p.m. (Pac-12 Network/WA/AZ)
  • Sat, 3 p.m. (Pac-12 WA/AZ)
  • Sun, noon (Pac-12 Network/WA/AZ)

Coming into a huge showdown with archrival Arizona two weeks ago, the Sun Devils were the #1 offense in the country, averaging over nine runs per game. They still sit in the #2 spot at 7.85, but were shut out five straight times before managing five late runs in a 16-5 blowout loss to close the series against UCLA. The competition is clearly part of the equation: Arizona and UCLA are both extremely good teams with some of the best pitchers in the country. But for an offense as explosive as ASU’s to go that cold so quickly was shocking. The Devils have plenty of pop (66 home runs, fourth in the country) and are very good at getting on-base in front of them, as their .434 team OBP is also fourth.

But ASU’s pitching staff is really struggling right now; the improving Husky offense should have no problem scoring a handful of runs per game against a team with no ace. The key for UW pitching should be to go right after the Sun Devil hitters. A homer here and there isn’t going to hurt much — as long as there aren’t a pair of walks right in front.