TEMPE, Ariz. – Bryana Walker allowed just two hits in 9.0 dominant innings over two games, as she led the No. 3 Huskies to two wins Saturday night at the Littlewood Classic in Tempe, Ariz.
The Huskies defeated the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Cougars, 17-0, in game one and downed the Michigan State Spartans, 8-0, in the nightcap. Both games went five innings, as the Huskies (9-0) won their fourth and fifth consecutive run-rule shortened games.
The Huskies connected for three home runs in the 1st inning against SIUE, and sent 18 batters to the plate in the inning to jump out to a 12-0 lead before the Cougars (1-7) even had a chance to bat. Washington’s lead was never threatened as Walker tossed 5.0 shutout innings of one-hit ball while striking out seven.
After Walker (5-0) shutout the Cougars, she got the ball again about 30 minutes later, as the Huskies played the second game of a doubleheader against Michigan State. The native of La Quinta, Calif. picked up the win in each game, as she held the Spartans (2-4) to one hit over 4.0 innings.
“It was good to see Bryana get in a rhythm,” head coach Heather Tarr said. “Since we played back-to-back games, we decided she was in such a good rhythm that we just let her keep going. She essentially pitched two really good games today.”
After Victoria Hayward lead off the game against SIUE with a walk and Ali Aguilar followed with a walk, Kaitlin Inglesby hit her first home run of the season to give the Huskies a quick 3-0 lead. Kylee Lahners followed immediately with her 5th home run of the young season. One batter later, Whitney Jones connected for her first home run of the season, giving the Huskies a 5-0 lead. Inglesby finished 2-for-2, with two runs scored, one double, one home run, and three RBI.
The Huskies went on to score seven more runs, in the inning highlighted by a two-run single off the bat of Lahners. Washington added a run in the 2nd on a sacrifice fly from Hooch Fagaly to score Hayward. Lahners finished 4-for-4, with two runs scored, one home run, and six RBI.
“Everybody in our lineup is capable,” Tarr said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s the bottom of our lineup or the top of the lineup, everybody understands their job. We were hitting for the situation today. We put together some of our best at-bats of the year these two games.”
Washington’s bats picked up right where they left off against Michigan State. After a leadoff single from Hayward, Aguilar crushed a two-run home run to give the Huskies a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the 1st. The Huskies stretched their lead over the Spartans to seven after a five-run 2nd inning, as Courtney Gano had a run-scoring double, followed by a two-run single from Aguilar and a two-run home run from Inglesby.
Walker held the Spartans in check through the game, as she set down the first 11 Michigan State batters she faced.
“I felt really good all day today, from warm-ups into the game,” Walker said. “Today felt like one of those days where no matter what pitch I needed to throw, I could throw it. I had all my pitches working really well.”
The third-ranked Huskies will play the marquee matchup of the Littlewood Classic on Sunday morning at 10:15 a.m. (Pacific) vs. the No. 7/11 Oklahoma Sooners (5-3), who knocked the Huskies out of the 2013 Women’s College World Series on their way to the National Championship. Mike Brown, the Voice of Husky Softball, will have the call here, and live stats will be available here.