Stuart's Walk-Off Single Sends Huskies Into Semis
May 29, 2009
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - A night after being a little off her game in a 3-1 win over Georgia, Danielle Lawrie brought her "A" game, firing a two-hit shutout over eight innings against No. 10 Arizona State as the Huskies advanced to the Women's College World Series semifinals with a dramatic 1-0 win over the Sun Devils Friday in front of a single-session crowd of 8,323 at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
Sophomore Morgan Stuart drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning to score freshman Kimi Pohlman, who had laced a one-out double for her third hit of the game, and UW earned their second walk-off win over the Sun Devils in 2009.
Lawrie struck out just three in the game but she was as sharp as she's been all season, silencing an ASU team that scored seven runs on 13 hits in their World Series-opening win over Missouri. The Sun Devils also came into the game having had more success off Lawrie than any other team this season, scoring 12 runs in 16 innings off the National Player of the Year, including a season-high seven off Lawrie in a 9-2 win in April.
Instead, the junior shut down the potent Sun Devils offense on just 85 pitches and sent UW (48-11) into its second national semifinal in the last three years.
The All-American Lawrie improved to 39-7 on the year, out-dueling ASU freshman Hillary Bach, who dropped to 31-10. It was Lawrie's 20th shutout of the season.
The Huskies had a couple of opportunities to win the game in regulation, but Arizona State made a couple of big defensive plays to hang in with the Huskies, who won their third game in four tries against ASU this year. But the two underclassmen, Stuart and Pohlman, came through in the clutch as UW improved to 8-2 in extra inning games this season.
Both pitchers cruised through the first few innings with Lawrie allowing just one hit through four and Bach allowing just two hits through three innings. Lawrie retired the first five batters of the game before allowing a two-out double in the second to Katie Crabb. She then settled down and retired the next 16 batters in a row, although just two were via strikeout.
Bach was equally as impressive through the first three, allowing just two hits, but the Huskies mounted the first serious threat of the game in the bottom of the fourth. Jenn Salling led off the inning with a single but was still at first with two outs when Alicia Blake stepped up and ripped a double into right-center. With Salling speeding around the bases, the Sun Devils centerfielder got the ball into the second baseman who fired a high throw home, but ASU's catcher Kaylyn Castillo made a leaping snag of the throw and tagged Salling out before she was able to reach home.
The Huskies had another opportunity in the sixth when the speedster Pohlman led off with a single but the Huskies had an unfortunate call go against them to thwart the rally. With Salling at the plate, Pohlman attempted to steal second and appeared to beat the throw, but was instead called out for the first time in 21 career steal attempts. Salling and Lawrie then followed with deep fly outs to center and left, respectively, to end the inning.
UW looked like it might end the game in the bottom of the seventh when Stuart led off with a double in the left-center gap. The senior Blake then laid down a perfect sac bunt to move pinch-runner Marnie Koziol to third with one out. That brought up senior Ashlyn Watson, who hit a shallow fly ball to center field, not quite deep enough to send Koziol home. After Lauren Greer was intentionally walked, Niki Williams had the chance to be UW's hero for the second-straight day but Bach got her to pop up to the catcher to end the threat.
The Sun Devils then started the first extra frame by breaking Lawrie's string of 16 straight retired when Taylor Haro slapped a single up the middle. But for the second straight day, the Huskies turned a key double play to kill a rally. This time, Crabb laid a bunt down the third baseline but Stuart jumped all over it and fired to Salling covering at second, who threw to first in time to get the double play. Lawrie then induced a groundout to Salling, who made a nice back-handed play and strong throw to first to end the inning.
That set the stage for Pohlman and Stuart to do their thing. The freshman, who went 3-for-4 and is 5-for-8 in her first two World Series games, lined a double in the left-center gap to get the rally started. After Salling was intentionally walked, Lawrie lifted another deep fly out which sent Pohlman to third. Stuart then jumped on a pitch up in the zone and lined it into left field, setting off a wild celebration in the infield as the Huskies advanced to Sunday's semifinals.
UW will now have the day off on Saturday before returning to the diamond on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. They will face either Georgia, Missouri or Michigan Sunday afternoon, with either team having to beat the Huskies twice to advance. If UW wins once, they will advance to the best-of-three Championship Series, which starts Monday.
● Georgia and Missouri will face off in a loser-out game Saturday morning with the winner taking on Michigan Saturday evening in another elimination game. The winner of that game will face the Huskies on Sunday.