Huskies earn shutout in home debut

After six weeks on the road and a rain delay of two hours and ten minutes, the 12th ranked Huskies finally took to the familiar diamond of Husky Softball Stadium and rolled to a 13-0 shutout of NAIA power Simon Fraser in five innings in front of 120 loyal fans on a frigid, wind-chilled afternoon.

The Huskies scored in every inning and wasted no time getting to Simon Fraser starter Auburn Sigurdson in the bottom of the first inning, scoring three runs. Becky Simpson led off with a single, stole second base and scored on a base hit by Rita Roach. Roach stole second and Jaime Clark walked. Roach and Clark then executed a double steal and scored on a single by Kristen Rivera.

Washington continued the onslaught in the second inning against reliever Erin Thomas, sending 12 batters to the plate and tallying six runs.

Steph Nicholson led off with a single and Simpson walked. After a fielder's choice retired Nicholson at third, Simpson scored on a single to left by Clark. Rivera then doubled off the glove of a diving Cari Irwin in right center field to plate Simpson and Clark.

Amanda Oleson walked, and Rivera scored on a single by Nicole Wicks. Kathy Fiske capped the six run inning with a two run triple over the head of center fielder Rachel Schill.

Unfortunately for Simon Fraser, the Huskies continued their scoring binge in the third inning. Clark walked, Rivera hit a deep single off the yellow stripe on the left field wall, and Oleson singled to load the bases.

After retiring Clark and Rivera on consecutive fielder's choices at home plate, it looked like Simon Fraser would finally escape the inning unscathed, when Fiske grounded to shortstop Angela Lichty.

However, Wicks beat the throw from Lichty to Paige Stevens at second base, and Oleson scored. Nicholson then doubled down the left field line to score Megan Owen and Wicks, and the Huskies led 12-0 after three.

Clark capped the scoring with her team leading 11th home run of the season, a frozen rope over the 1996 Pac-10 champions plaque in center field.

On the mound, Tia Bollinger improved to 8-3 for the Huskies, allowing only two hits with three strikeouts in three innings. Freshmen Leslie Scott and Ashley Boek both pitched one inning in mop up duty to preserve the shutout.

For Simon Fraser, Sigurdson absorbed the loss to drop to 4-2, as she allowed three runs in the first inning without retiring a batter.

After improving to 21-7 with their non-conference victory, the Huskies return to the road, with their next game against Utah in the Kia Classic at Fullerton, California on Thursday, March 14.

They return home and open Pac-10 conference play with a two game series against perennial power UCLA on Friday, March 29 and Saturday, March 30.

NOTES: With her home run in the fourth inning, Clark extended her career Husky home run record total to 48. She broke the previous record of 43, set by All-American Jen Cline from 1993-1996.

With her RBI single in the first, Roach now has three game winners, second on the team to Clark's six.

With four RBI, Rivera tied her own personal high, set on February 9, 2002 against Louisville.

The Huskies stole five bases in the game, including four in the first inning. Roach swiped two, with Simpson, Clark and Nicholson each stealing one.

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