Washington Takes Game One

The Washington Huskies moved to within one win of the NCAA Softball Title with a win over the Florida Gators in the first win of the College World Series finals. Washington scored four times in the third inning to take control of the contest. That was more than enough for NCAA player of the year Danielle Lawrie who dominated the Gator lineup for the second time this season.

Lawrie shut out the Gators for nine innings early in the season and was every bit as effective Monday night.

The game (and series) shaped up as a pitching duel between Lawrie and Gators ace Stacey Nelson and it was that…. for all of two innings. Nelson pitched out of trouble in the first winning when Washington had runners on second and third with no one out but did not score. However Florida's 41-game winner wouldn't escape trouble in the third.

Washington loaded the bases on a walk and two infield singles as Huskies hitters found the right spot and the Gators could not make the play. Jenn Salling bounced a single through the middle which should have score one run, but scored four instead. Kim Waleszonia threw a strike to the plate that beat the runner, Ashley Charters, but Florida catcher Kristina Hilberth fielded the throw in front of the plate and Charters slid in behind her and scored. Hilberth then tried to catch Salling at second base but air mailed the throw over everyone in sight and both runners scored making it was 4-0.

The Gators managed just one hit through the first four innings as the Huskies adjusted much more effectively to one of the more bizarre strike zones you'll ever see. With the score 4-0 in the fifth Washington got a two-run double from Morgan Stuart to make it a 6-0 game.

Washington added two more in the sixth against Florida's Stephanie Brombacher when Charters drilled a two run homer. With the Huskies up 8-0 the Washington team and the umpires both acted as if the game was over under the eight run rule. It wasn't, as that rule does not apply to the College World Series.

No mater. The Huskies finished the Gators off, moving the Orange and Blue within one loss of the end of their season

Perhaps the Gators wished it would have been over, but it didn't matter. The Huskies went on to finish off the win and move with in a win of their first NCAA Title.

So now the Gators must win two straight to win the school's first NCAA title in softball. It will be interesting to see if the Huskies elect to try and rest Lawrie or they go for the jugular right away.

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