SEATTLE – The Huskies opened the Seattle Regional of the NCAA Tournament in dominant fashion Thursday at Husky Softball Stadium in front of a crowd of 1,066. Kaitlin Inglesby threw six shutout innings, Ali Aguilar hit her first collegiate grand slam, and the Huskies knocked off the Iona Gaels, 8-0, in six innings.
The Huskies now move on to play the BYU Cougars on Friday at 1:00 p.m. at Husky Softball Stadium in the 2nd round of the Regional.
“Our team was ready to go today, and Kaitlin threw a really good game,” head coach Heather Tarr said. “Overall it was a great game, a shut-out, and any time you throw a shutout, you’re probably going to win the game.”
The Huskies (34-13) wasted no time in getting runners on base against Iona (24-23) in the bottom of the 1st inning. Victoria Hayward led off with a walk. Three consecutive walks to Hooch Fagaly, Inglesby and Kylee Lahners brought home a run.
Then, freshman Aguilar stepped to the plate for her first collegiate postseason at-bat and made a big statement. Aguilar connected for her first collegiate grand slam home run, propelling the Huskies to a 5-0 lead in the bottom of the 1st. Aguilar finished 2-for-4, with one run scored and five RBI.
“My teammates before me set the table by getting on base, and I just knew I had to get a good pitch to hit,” Aguilar said.
Aguilar’s home run gave Inglesby some room to work. The senior from Portland, Ore. – making her 16th career postseason appearance – went right after the Gaels batters. After allowing a one-out single in the 2nd – Iona’s only hit of the game – Inglesby retired the last 14 batters she faced.
“Once I was able to settle down and get in my rhythm and throw good pitches in good spots, I was able to really locate and let my defense work hard behind me and they did a great job,” Inglesby said.
The Huskies drew 10 walks over the course of the ballgame, and in the 3rd inning, two of those walks led directly to runs. After Inglesby and Lahners walked to leadoff the inning, Aguilar drove home Inglesby on a base hit, and Jones plated Lahners with a sacrifice fly, giving the Huskies a 7-0 lead.
The Huskies will now shift their attention to Friday’s 1:00 p.m. matchup with BYU (34-21).
“We want to continue to look forward and improve and as long as we are improving and getting better every single opportunity we have, whether it is one game or one pitch or one inning, that’s really all we’re trying to focus on at this point in time,” Tarr said.
The Huskies and Cougars will be playing in the first of three games Friday at Husky Softball Stadium. Northwestern will face Iona at 3:30 p.m., and the winner of that game will face the loser of the first game at 6:00 p.m..