Watson's Walk-off Single Lifts Huskies Past Texas, 2-1
May 16, 2008
HOUSTON, Texas - Ashlyn Watson singled home Alicia Blake in the bottom of the seventh inning to lift No. 24 Washington over Texas, 2-1, in NCAA Regional action on Friday evening at the Cougar Softball Complex.
The Huskies will now play at 12:00 p.m. Central Time tomorrow against No. 10/11 (NFCA/USA Softball) Houston. The Cougars defeated Delaware State, 9-0, in five innings in the other regional game.
Blake, who scored both of the Huskies runs, singled up the middle to start the seventh and Jace Williams reached on an infield single after nubbing the ball past Texas third baseman Crystal Saenz.
With Watson at the plate and the count 1-2, Texas pitcher Meagan Denny unleashed a wild pitch to move Blake up to third and Williams to second. That set up Watson's heroics, as she blooped a single into short left field for the game-winning hit.
"I had two strikes and I was just telling myself to make contact," said Watson.
Aleah Macon (17-15) came on in relief and pitched no-hit ball over the final four innings to pick up the win. She struck out three, walked two and sat down 11 of the 13 batters she faced.
The Huskies (29-23-1) scored right off the bat in the bottom of the first inning. With two outs, Blake walked before Williams lined an 0-2 pitch through the right side to put runners on first and second. Watson followed with a single to centerfield to bring around Blake and the Huskies were up 1-0.
Watson battled back after being down 0-2 to work the count full before singling over the head of UT pitcher Meagan Denny.
Some great defense from leftfielder Marnie Koziol in the top of the first inning kept Texas off the scoreboard. With Desiree Williams on first after leading off the game with a walk, Loryn Johnson hit a shallow pop fly down the left field line. Koziol made a shoe-string catch on the foul line and then threw to Watson at first base to double off Williams, who was running on contact.
Koziol then made another shoe-string catch of a pop fly into short left field to take away a hit from Tullie Thrasher for the final out of the inning.
The Longhorns (28-22-2) tied the game up in the third inning when Johnson hit a two-out home run to left centerfield. The ball bounced off the top of the fence for her 12th homer of the season.
The Huskies three, four and five hitters (Blake, Williams and Watson) had seven of the Huskies 10 hits. Blake went 2-for-3, Williams was 2-for-4 and Watson hit 3-for-4 to lead all players.
Caitlin Noble, who started in the circle for the Huskies, also had two hits in three at-bats. She pitched the first three innings, scattering three hits, one of them being Johnson's home run. She walked two and struck out three.
"I thought we had a great game plan tonight," said Huskies head coach Heather Tarr. "Our offense gave us some opportunities. We didn't come through early as I would have liked, but our team is a very tough team and we found a way to pull through."
The Huskies managed to get at least one runner on base in every inning and left 12 runners on base in all.
"We did have a lot of opportunites," said Tarr. "It speaks to Texas and the job they did to hold us to two runs. I thought Meagan Denny did a great job of make the pitches when she needed to.
"When we put the ball in play it's only a matter of time before we break through."
NOTES: The Huskies are now 15-7 in NCAA tournament action under Tarr. Overall, Washington is 61-27 in the NCAA Tournament and 43-9 in regional play ... The Huskies have a 12-5 lead all-time against Texas ... The Huskies had three stolen bases in the game ... Alyson McWherter had the Huskies other hit while adding a stolen base and a sacrifice hit ... Noble had the only double in the game, which came in the fourth inning.