Huskies do the double to advance

SEATTLE - Danielle Lawrie finished her final home appearance as a Husky in spectacular fashion, striking out the side in the top of the seventh inning as the third seeded Huskies shut out Oklahoma 4-0 at Husky Softball Stadium on Friday night to rally from one game down and win the best of three super-regional two games to one.

With the comeback in hand, the Huskies (50-7) earned a return trip to the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City where they aim to defend the title they won in 2009, while the Sooners finished 47-12.

The Huskies took a 4-0 lead into the top of the seventh but the Sooners did not go down quietly. Chana'e Jones led off with a walk. After Dani Dobbs struck out swinging, Krystle Huey beat out a grounder to third for an infield hit. Amber Flores, who hit three home runs against Lawrie in a series opening 6-1 win by Oklahoma, then stepped to the plate. The Huskies walked her three times earlier in the game, but in this situation, even if Flores hit another home run, the Huskies would still lead 4-3, so Lawrie pitched to her. Lawrie quickly got ahead in the count 0-2 on a called strike and foul, but then fell behind 3-2 before she struck Flores out looking, bringing out a roar from the crowd of 1,694.

Jessica Shults, who struck out three times earlier in the game, then came to bat representing the Sooners' last hope. She got ahead in the count 3-1, but after two foul balls made the count 3-2, she struck out looking and the Husky celebration began.

Lawrie (40-3), got all the run support she needed in the bottom of the first inning. Jenn Salling led off with a routine grounder to third base but Dobbs threw it wildly past first, allowing Salling to reach safely. One out later Lawrie lined a 2-0 pitch from Keilani Ricketts (32-10) to the wall in left center field, with Salling advancing to third. Shawna Wright then brought the crowd to its feet and gave the Huskies a 3-0 lead when she belted a 1-0 pitch from Ricketts well over the wall in left field. The Huskies added an insurance run for 4-0 in the bottom of the fifth when pinch runner Amanda Fitzsimmons scored on an error by left fielder Haley Anderson.

In the circle, Lawrie was absolutely dominant. She recorded her 24th shutout, allowing only five hits and walking four, three of them semi-intentionally to Flores, while striking out 17. She struck out the side in the second, third, sixth, and seventh innings respectively. She raised her season strikeout total to 478 and all-time NCAA fourth place total to 1,843.

The Sooners' biggest scoring threat came in the top of the fifth inning when they loaded the bases with one out on singles by Jones and Dobbs and a walk to Flores. Lawrie got out of the jam, however, when she struck out Shults looking and retired Lindsey Vandever on a fly out to right.

Ricketts got the loss despite going the distance. She allowed four runs, two earned, on five hits. She walked three and struck out eight. Her teammates let her down defensively, committing four errors.
Behind Lawrie's two hitter, the Huskies shut out Oklahoma 3-0 in Game 2 to force the decisive Game 3.

The Huskies, as the designated visiting team, drew first blood in the top of the second when Niki Williams hit a liner to right that got by Haley Nix for a triple. One out later, Taylor Smith lined a double into the gap in left center field to score Williams for a 1-0 lead.

In the top of the sixth, the Huskies loaded the bases on consecutive singles by Kimi Pohlman, Lawrie and Wright, bringing the crowd to its feet chanting "Let's go Huskies! Let's go Huskies!" Hooch Fagaly drew a bases loaded walk to force home Pohlman and then pinch runner Maggie Wagner scored on a fielder's choice grounder by Smith to make it 3-0.

Oklahoma's best scoring chance against Lawrie (39-3) came in the bottom of the first when they had two runners aboard on walks to Flores and Vandever, but Lawrie struck out Nix looking to end the inning. Like they did in Game 3, the Huskies did not let Flores beat them. They walked her twice and also hit her with a pitch. They faced her one more time in the bottom of the seventh, but with the score 3-0, two outs,and no runners on base. On a 2-2 pitch, Flores grounded out to Morgan Stuart at third base to end the game.

Lawrie recorded her 23rd shutout, allowing two hits and walking four. She struck out 10. Ricketts (32-9) suffered the loss, going six innings, allowing three runs on six hits. She walked one and struck out five.
The Huskies will find out who they play in the Women's College World Series on Thursday, June 3 after other super regionals conclude.


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