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13th-seeded Husky Softball opens postseason at home vs Lehigh

Regional schedule, links to streams and players to watch for the Mountain Hawks

Baylee Klingler is a top-3 finalist for National Player of the Year, the second straight season UW has had a finalist after Gabbie Plain in 2021.
Red Box Pictures via UW Athletics

Seattle Regional Schedule:

  1. Fri, 2:30pm, LHN and ESPN+: Weber State (38-10, 13-1 Big Sky) vs Texas (38-17-1, 12-6 Big 12)
  2. Fri, ~5pm, ESPN+: Lehigh (30-18-1, 15-3 Patriot) at (13) Washington (35-15, 14-10 Pac-12). Likely will get some wraparound coverage on ESPNU as well
  3. Sat, 2pm: Winner G1 vs Winner G2
  4. Sat, ~4:30pm: Loser G1 vs Loser G2 (loser eliminated)
  5. Sat, ~7pm: Loser G3 vs Winner G4 (loser eliminated)
  6. Sun, 3pm: Winner G3 vs Winner G5
  7. Sun, ~5:30pm: Rematch of G6 if necessary

Games 3-7 will at least be available through ESPN+ or a physical ESPN channel (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, LHN, etc), but will not be officially announced until the night before. All games will be commentated by the pair of Mark Neely (PxP) and Amanda Scarborough (analyst). It’s not a certainty, but game 3 (winner’s bracket game on Saturday) seems very likely to get a TV spot somewhere.

The winner of the Seattle regional will then face the winner of the Fayetteville regional, in which (4) Arkansas is hosting Oregon, Wichita State and Princeton. If Washington and Arkansas both advance, UW would go to Fayetteville next weekend for Super Regionals; if UW wins and Arkansas is knocked out, whichever other team advances from Fayetteville would come to Seattle.

Previewing Lehigh (30-18-1, 15-3 Patriot):

Lehigh is making their 11th appearance, but their first since 2017. Mountain Hawks were the #2 seed in the Patriot League tournament but until a few weeks ago looked to be a heavy underdog to actually make the tourney due to the dominance of Boston University. BU had won 27 straight Patriot League games dating back more than a full season, and hadn’t lost a game of any kind since March 12. But Lehigh took two of three at BU in the final week of the regular season two weeks ago, then won two of their three meetings against the Terriers in the double-elimination Patriot League tournament.

Lehigh players to watch:

Sr. SS #9 Carley Barjaktarovich. Two-time Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year, NFCA All Mid-Atlantic in 2021 (first team) and 2022 (second team). Her 23 stolen bases (in 26 chances) leads the Patriot League. Her .374 average and 58 hits lead the team and are third in the league, but very interestingly, they’re all singles. Every single one. Even pure slappers normally get doubles occasionally when the ball just doesn’t find a defender.

Sr. RF #22 Jaelynn Chesson. 2021 Second team NFCA All Mid-Atlantic, First team all-Patriot League in all three seasons it has been awarded. Season slash line of .345/.399/.683 with 14 homers, being by far the best power threat on a team that otherwise relies more on speed than pop. Had the eventual game-winning homer in two of the four wins over Boston U, including the winner-take-all final meeting in the conference tournament.

Most likely starting pitcher: could be either Sr. LHP #20 Gabriella Nori (11-10, 2.93) or So. LHP #11 Katelyn Young (18-6, 3.64). Young pitched more innings (154 to 122) but the two were relatively interchangeable as co-aces. Nori (2021 first team All-Patriot) seems a little more likely as she is on a run of three straight outstanding starts (all against Boston U), allowing just one run over 20 total innings.