May 16, 1998
SEATTLE--The Washington softball team came out of the blocks early on Saturday in its semifinal game against No. 12 Louisiana State, scoring five runs in the first inning and adding four in the fifth to shellac the Tigers, 9-0. LSU then came from behind to defeat Long Beach State, 5-4, to set up a rematch with the Huskies for the Region No. 4 championship.
The teams will meet at 1 p.m. Sunday. A UW win would keep the title in Seattle, while an LSU victory would force a third game between the Huskies and Tigers in the double-elimination tournament since UW currently is undefeated for the weekend.
In the Washington-LSU outing, UWs offense exploded for nine hits while sophomore Jennifer Spediacci was striking out 10 batters in her third no-hitter of the season. A walk in the opening frame spoiled a perfect game.
At the plate, the Dawgs came out swinging aggressively and sent 10 batters to the plate in the opening frame. Freshmen Kelly Hauxhurst and Kim DePaul singled and stole second before senior Eve Gaw walked. Junior Becky Newbry singled to right center to knock in Hauxhurst and DePaul and put Gaw on third. Sophomore Erin Helgeland walked before a single to center field by Spediacci sent pinch runner Amber Engen home from third. Junior Jeanine Giordano landed on first on a fielders choice before an error put her on second, Spediacci on third and sent Helgeland home. Senior Leah Francis then singled to score Spediacci.
After three innings of three-up three-down softball on both sides, the Husky bats came alive again in the fifth. DePaul was hit by a pitch for the eighth time this season before UW came up with four consecutive hits. Gaw singled to left and Newbrys single to right sent DePaul home. Helgelands single loaded the bags, and all three base runners scored on a long double to the left center fence by Spediacci.
I was very pleased after struggling to hit the ball yesterday, UW coach Teresa Wilson said. Today we were able to hit the ball and find some holes in their defense. After we scored the runs, we came out and shut them down. I think that allowed us to get into their heads. Then after we got the lead we did not sit on it.
Long Beach State dominated Northwestern State in the second game of the day, winning 9-1, to set up a barnburner between the 49ers and Louisiana State. LSU got on the board first with two runs in the first inning. LBSU then scored twice in the fourth frame and again in the sixth to go up 3-1 entering the final inning.
Louisiana State led off with four straight hits, including a double and triple, and converted them into four runs to take a 5-3 lead into the last half-inning. Two hits by the Beach turned into a run, and the 49ers put a runner on second with only one out. But two straight grounders to third and shortstop were handled cleanly to end the game.
Game One Washington 500 04x x -- 9 9 0 Louisiana State 000 00x x -- 0 0 1 Jennifer Spediacci and Jeanine Giordano; Sarah KnifeChief, Julie Stashko (5) and Stephanie Hastings, Jennifer Schuelke (4). WP-Spediacci (23-6). LP-KnifeChief (19-5). 2B-UW, Spediacci. Game Two Long Beach State 170 10x x -- 9 11 0 Northwestern State 001 00x x -- 1 4 1 Kristi Fox, Traci Hensel (5) and Jaime Villones; Cindy Leggett, Jennifer Owens (2) and Shannon Straty. WP-Fox (22-7). LP-Leggett (15-7). 2B, LBSU, Fox, Oliver. Game Three Louisiana State 100 000 4 -- 5 12 1 Long Beach State 000 201 1 -- 4 12 0 Brandi Landry, Sarah KnifeChief (4) and Stephanie Hastings; Traci Hensel, Kristi Fox (4) and Jaime Villones. WP-KnifeChief (20-5). LP-Fox (22-8). 2B-LSU, Otten (2), Hastings, Asbill; LBSU, Oliver. 3B-LSU, Asbill.