Washington Wins Pitcher's Duel, Mississippi State Spins Past Seattle
SEATTLE - Gabbie Plain made a name for herself as a freshman as a ground-ball specialist with excellent control who lives at the knees and below.
Her control was far from her best on Friday, but the movement on her pitches was fantastic as she came within a strikeout of her career-high with 14 in Washington’s 2-0 win over Fordham.
“(Plain) can go north, east, south, west,” said Madie Aughinbaugh, Fordham’s pitcher and cleanup hitter. “You never know where she’s going to put it, which makes her so effective.”
Plain (20-2) walked three but did not allow a hit until one out in the sixth inning, finishing with a two-hit shutout as No. 3 Washington (46-7) won for the 24th time in their past 25 games.
Plain got all the run support she would need from the one-two punch at the top of the Husky lineup, as Morganne Flores drove in Sis Bates each of her first two trips to the plate with a sacrifice fly in the first and a single in the third.
Aughinbaugh (17-13) gave up eight hits but got key outs to escape a few jams, allowing just two runs (one earned) over six innings. Aughinbaugh is just the third pitcher to hold UW to two runs or fewer over the last nine weeks, joining the elite company in UCLA's Rachel Garcia and Arizona's Taylor McQuillin.
The best scoring chance for the Rams (29-25) came in the sixth. With one out, Washington native Jordy Storm singled just over the head of leaping second baseman Taryn Atlee to break the no-hit bid. Molly Roark followed with another hit as Sis Bates was able to get a glove on a ball hit up the middle but couldn’t bring it in, putting the tying runs aboard.
Plain took just four pitches to snuff out the rally. She overpowered Aughinbaugh on three pitches, getting a key strikeout on a rise ball up and away, then induced a first-pitch routine groundout to third by Maria Trivelpiece.
“I think (Plain) not having her best stuff and still throwing a shutout shows you who she is – she’s a competitor,” Bates said.
Williams Spins Mississippi State past Seattle U
Emily Williams doesn’t usually rack up strikeouts. She came in having fanned 138 in 153 innings, and recently even had a complete-game win against Missouri without recording a single one.
Seattle U would beg to differ.
She struck out 11 – including six straight at one point – as Mississippi State (34-21) spoiled the Redhawks’ NCAA Tournament debut with a 5-3 win.
After lining out to left in her first at-bat, senior outfielder Kat Moore found the grass for the game’s biggest play in the third, ambushing a 1-1 offering from Carley Nance (17-9) for a three-run double which gave the Bulldogs a 3-1 lead they would not relinquish.
MSU added what turned out to be pivotal insurance runs in the fifth on an SU error, allowing Williams (14-8) to go right at the Redhawks in the final two innings.
Mia Davidson went 1-for-3 with a run scored but also made her presence felt defensively, picking Breanna Timmons off first base in the fifth inning.
“(Williams) spins it like that all the time,” said Head Coach Vann Stuedeman. “Mia (Davidson) framed it up for her really well, and when she gets ahead, she’s really hard to square up.”
Nance injected some life into the pro-Redhawk crowd with a no-doubt homer to right field in the seventh, cutting the deficit in half with nobody out. But Williams kept Seattle U (39-16) from getting the tying run to the plate, finishing the game with back-to-back strikeouts to seal the win.