Washington takes two

Freshman Caitlin Noble struck out 16 batters to set a new record for a regulation game as the 12th ranked Huskies shut out the Willamette Bearcats 18-0 in six innings in the opener of a non-conference doubleheader at a sunny but frigid Husky Softball Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

796 fans braved the elements and saw Noble make history in her home debut. She broke the previous regulation game record of 15 strikeouts set by current assistant coach Eve Gaw against Western Washington on April 9, 1995. Noble allowed only two hits in improving her record to 2-2 with her fourth complete game of the season and raised her strikeout total to 60 in only 31 and one thirds innings for a strikeout/inning ratio of 13.40. Noble also struck out at least 11 batters for the fourth time and has fanned at least eight batters in all five of her starts. Against the Bearcats she recorded her first 13 outs via the strikeout, seeing her streak broken when Cari Schruth grounded into a forceout at second base in the fifth inning.

Offensively the Huskies gave Noble all the support she would need with three runs in the bottom of the first. Ashley Charters and Lauren Greer walked against Bearcat starter Brittany Tachara and Dominique Lastrapes followed with a fly ball single to right to score Charters. Kristen Rivera drew an intentional walk to load the bases, and then Aimee Minor got hit by a pitch to force home Greer. Lastrapes scored to make it 3-0 on a fielder's choice ground out to shortstop by Jacki Hansen.

The Huskies made it 6-0 in the bottom of the fourth Callie Bergan lined a one out double over left fielder Lauren Andrzejewski's glove and scored when Charters, called "one of the fastest athletes to wear a Husky uniform" by head coach Heather Tarr, slapped a line drive under Andrzejewski's glove and raced around the bases for a two run inside the park home run, her first career home run. Lauren Greer then slapped a double to almost the same exact spot in left field where Charters hit her ball, and scored on a double down the left field line by Rivera.

Sarah Hyatt made it 7-0 in the bottom of the fifth with her second home run of the season, a solo shot over the camera man in dead center field, and the Huskies ended the game in their half of the sixth when Charters led off with an infield single, advanced to third on a pair of groundouts, and scored on a balk by Tachara.

Tachara went the distance in the circle for the Bearcats but dropped to 0-1, giving up eight runs, all earned, on eight hits and four walks, while striking out seven, in five and two thirds innings.

In the second game, Ashley Boek fired her third career no-hitter as the Huskies rolled to an 18-0 win over Willamette in five innings and a sweep of the doubleheader.

Boek notched her third shutout and fifth complete game of the season to improve to 5-1. She did not walk a batter and struck out 10. She may have had a perfect game if not for an error by Lastrapes. With one out in the top of the second, Amanda Lindquist grounded to Boek in the circle and Lastrapes simply dropped Boek's throw to first base .

Offensively the Huskies put the game away early, scoring all 18 runs in the first two innings. They tallied 11 in the bottom of the first, sending 14 batters to the plate and capitalizing on the wildness of Bearcat starter Laura Milne, as they got only five hits but took advantage of five walks. Rivera highlighted the outburst with her fifth home run of the season, a two run shot over the bleachers in center field.

In the second, the Huskies sent 12 more batters to the plate and scored seven runs on eight hits.

Milne suffered the loss for Willamette to drop to 0-1, giving up eight runs, seven earned on five hits and six walks while striking out only two in two and one thirds innings. Brittany Dearing relieved Milne in the bottom of the first and fared even worse, giving up 10 runs, eight earned, on 11 hits and one walk in only one and two thirds innings.

With the doubleheader sweep the Huskies improved to 7-3, while Willamette opened the season 0-2.

The Huskies return to the road for the Palm Springs Classic from Friday, February 25 to Sunday, February 27. They play Northwestern and Texas A&M on Friday, face Ohio State and Kansas on Saturday, and finish against Oklahoma State on Sunday. They will not play again at home until Tuesday, April 5 when they welcome Simon Fraser to Husky Softball Stadium for a non-conference doubleheader.

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