#11 UW 7, #2 Alabama 5

SEATLE - Lauren Greer singled to score Dominique Lastrapes with the go ahead run in the top of the seventh inning and Danielle Lawrie made it hold up in the bottom half to give the host Huskies a dramatic 7-5 win over second ranked Alabama and their eighth trip to the Women's College World Series on Saturday afternoon.

The Huskies swept the best of 3 super regional 2-0 before 2,077 fans at Husky Softball Stadium and upped their overall record to 40-17. Alabama finished 56-9.

In the top of the seventh, with the score tied at 5, the Huskies, the designated visiting team, got a pair of runners on base with one out when Lastrapes got nailed by a pitch from Chrissy Owens and Dena Tyson lined a single to center. After Lawrie fouled out to catcher Ashley Holcombe, Greer grounded a single to center. Husky head coach Heather Tarr waved Lastrapes around third and she scored to put the Huskies ahead 6-5. When Brittany Rogers' throw sailed over Holcombe for an error, Tyson scored a valuable insurance run.

In the bottom of the seventh, Lawrie retired Dani Woods on a grounder back to the circle and struck out Charlotte Morgan swinging. Lawrie got ahead in the count 1-2 to the next batter, Holcombe, and the crowd rose to its feet, clapping in anticipation of the final strike. However, Holcombe kept Alabama's hopes alive with an infield single to third, bringing up Mandy Burford. Burford looked at a strike on the first pitch, then a ball low and inside on the second pitch. She grounded the third pitch to Lastrapes, who threw ot Tyson at first for the final out, setting off a joyous celebration between the plate and first base.

Alabama took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. With one out Jordan Praytor singled to center and stole second. Lawrie struck out Kelley Montalvo looking, but Woods lined a 2-1 pitch off the left field wall for a double to score Praytor.

The teams traded zeros until the fifth, when the offenses came alive, combining for nine runs. The Huskies got five in their half inning. After Greer led off with a flyout to center, Ashlyn Watson lined a single to left. Jacki Hansen came in to pinch run, and after Alicia Matthews struck out looking, Nicole Moojen drove in Hansen with the tying run with a line double off the left-field wall. Tide starter Blair Potter walked Ashley Charters intentionally, deciding to pitch to Marnie Koziol instead.

That strategy backfired when Potter walked Koziol on four pitches. Lastrapes then singled on the first pitch she saw to score Moojen and Charters and give the Huskies a 3-1 lead. Potter walked Tyson intentionally, and then Tide coach Patrick Murphy relieved Potter in favor of Chrissy Owens. That decision did not pay off, as Owens first hit Lawrie on the left hand to force home Koziol, making it 4-1, and then walked Greer to force in Lastrapes. Second baseman Michelle Menningmann saved one run and perhaps two when she dove to snare a grounder by Watson and threw her out to end the inning.

To their credit, the Tide battled back to tie the game in the bottom half of the inning. Menningmann led off with a walk and Lawrie hit Kellie Eubanks with a two strike pitch. Rogers then lined a double into the gap in left center field to plate Menningmann and make it 5-2. Praytor drew an intentional walk to load the bases.

The Huskies got one big out when pinch hitter Lauren Parker grounded into a fielder's choice and Lastrapes threw home to force Eubanks. It looked like Lawrie might escape the inning without any more damage when she struck out Woods swinging and got ahead 0-2 to Charlotte Morgan, but after taking a ball and fouling a pitch away Morgan lined a double into right center to score Rogers, Praytor and pinch runner Montalvo and tie the game at 5. Lawrie walked Holcombe intentionally, deciding to pitch to Mandy Burford instead.

A double steal by pinch runner Jessica Smith and Holcombe gave the Tide runners at second and third, but Lawrie finally got out of the inning when she struck out Burford looking.

In the circle, Lawrie improved to 29-11 with her 30th complete game of the season. She gave up all five runs, earned, on seven hits and five walks. She struck out 10, raising her own Husky single season record to 422. For the Tide, Owens took the loss, dropping to 24-5. She gave up two runs, one earned, on two hits and one walk, with two strikeouts, in two and one thirds innings. Potter gave up five runs on four hits and four walks in four and two thirds innings. She struck out six.

At the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City, the Huskies open play against the winner of the Super Regional between DePaul and Oklahoma.

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