In their last four games against NCAA tournament-caliber competition, Washington was 4-0, but nothing had come easy. UW trailed when entering the sixth inning against Liberty, #18 South Carolina, #17 Texas Tech and Wisconsin, having to ride late comebacks to escape with wins in all four of them.
Washington left no doubt in this one.
The second-ranked Huskies (13-1) pounded three two-run homers in the first two innings, routing #3 Oklahoma 12-2 at the Mary Nutter Classic in Cathedral City, Calif. in the teams’ first meeting since UW knocked OU out of the 2018 WCWS.
Sophomore third baseman Baylee Klingler led the way, hitting two-run homers in each of the first two innings for her first career multi-homer game. After hitting just five as a freshman at Texas A&M in 55 starts, Klingler has hit three as a Husky in under three weeks, combining with freshman Kelley Lynch (10 extra-base hits including four homers) to offer strong second and third options for power in the Husky lineup besides Morganne Flores.
Klingler’s homer in the first came off OU ace Giselle “G” Juarez (2-1), a Husky nemesis dating back to her days at Arizona State. UW is now 2-2 all-time vs Juarez, having beaten her once in 2017 before she shut out then-#1 UW twice in a three-day span in 2018. The Huskies would score against all five pitchers the Sooners turned to in the game.
Two different Huskies connected on their first career home run in the big win over the third-ranked Sooners (11-2). Pushed into the lineup by the absence of star shortstop Sis Bates, sophomore utility player Ari Quiñones (Keen-YOAN-ess) doubled the Husky lead to 4-0 when she drove a 2-2 pitch from Macy McAdoo out to right-center. Not only is it the first career HR for Quiñones, it’s her first-ever extra-base hit, having collected just six singles in 31 at-bats coming into the day.
Freshman center fielder Jadelyn Allchin drove in the Huskies’ final three runs, capping a four-run seventh with a three-run homer.
Freshman Kelley Lynch got the win for the Huskies, improving to 3-0. She kept Oklahoma off the board until the fifth, although the Sooners did have some chances. With a runner on first and nobody out in the first, OU slugger Jocelyn Alo drove one to the wall in left, but Sami Reynolds ran it down. Later in the inning with two on and two out, Lynnsie Elam hit a sharp liner but it went right to Reynolds to end the inning.
The Sooners would make hard contact on a few more occasions but could do nothing more in the next three innings vs Lynch. UW added a bit to their lead in the fourth, manufacturing a run witht a leadoff single by Quiñones, a sac bunt by Taryn Atlee, a wild pitch and a sac fly by Reynolds.
The only time the outcome seemed to be in any doubt was in the fifth. OU’s Olivia Rains looked to have settled in, and the Sooner bats woke up in the bottom of the inning. Alycia Flores led off with a double and scored one out later on a single by Tannon Snow. Alo doubled and then Kinzie Hansen singled in Snow, cutting the Husky lead to 7-2 with still just one out and two runners on.
That would be the last OU runner to reach base. Grace Green lined one right at Quiñones, who caught it and fired to Gibson at first, catching Hansen off the bag for the double play to bring the Sooner momentum to a screeching halt. Junior Gabbie Plain came in for Lynch to start the sixth and retired all six Sooners she saw, striking out three.
Although not as necessary in this game as it was in many games recently, the Huskies kept up their remarkable streak of late scoring. Dating back to the seventh inning vs UCF on Wed, Feb. 12, Washington has now scored at least one run in every “late” inning they’ve played (sixth, seventh, or extra innings), a streak of 12 straight, without allowing a single run by the opponents in those innings for a combined scoring margin of 35-0:
- UCF 7th: seven
- Florida State 6th: two
- Liberty 6th: five
- South Carolina 6th: three
- Texas Tech 6th: one
- Texas Tech 7th: one
- Texas Tech 8th: six
- Wisconsin 6th: two
- Wisconsin 7th: two
- Bethune-Cookman 6th: one
- Oklahoma 6th: one
- Oklahoma 7th: four
Washington has two games remaining at the Nutter Classic. They will face Nebraska later today (Saturday) at about 5:00, then finish up with #25 Northwestern at 9 a.m. tomorrow.