Gabbie Plain tied Washington’s record for strikeouts in a postseason game with the second out in the top of the seventh inning, giving her one more batter to break the mark.
Instead, she didn’t waste that much time, getting Fordham’s Sarah Taffet to ground out right back to her on two pitches and seal a 2-0 win to kickstart the No. 2 Washington softball team’s postseason run.
Plain’s 14 strikeouts Friday night tied the record for the most in a postseason game of seven or less by a UW pitcher set by Danielle Lawrie in 2007. She’s the first Husky to eclipse 10 strikeouts a postseason matchup since Bryana Walker in 2013.
“I would say that’s a pretty good day,” head coach Heather Tarr said.
It was nearly even more.
Plain (20-2) took a no-hitter into the top of the sixth, losing it with one out on a Jordy Storm single. The Rams (29-25, 16-6 A-10) got another hit to put the tying run on base, but Plain needed just three pitches to record her 12th strikeout of the day and a fourth to roll a grounder to and get out of the inning.
Chelsea Skrepenak led the game off with a walk, but after that Plain snapped into control, retiring the next 11 batters, including eight on strikeouts.
Plain insisted afterwards that she didn’t think she had that great a day. With the result, she becomes the seventh UW pitcher to toss 10 shutouts in a season, and the fifth to earn 20 wins in both their freshman and sophomore years.
“I think that Gabbie not having her best stuff but still throwing a shutout just speaks to who she is,” junior shortstop Sis Bates said. “She’s a competitor. You guys may not be able to see it, but she’s a really good competitor and it’s so much fun to play behind her.”
With the win, Washington stays in the winners’ bracket of the regional and will take on Mississippi State, which beat Seattle U 5-3 today, at 3 p.m. A win there will send the Huskies (46-7, 20-4 Pac-12) to the regional final; a loss will put them in an elimination game immediately afterward.
Washington’s leaders at the top of the lineup cashed in for all of the offense necessary. Junior shortstop Sis Bates reached base in her first two at-bats, leading off the bottom of the first inning with a double and the bottom of the third with a single. Both times, junior catcher Morganne Flores drove her in, the first time on a sacrifice fly and the second time on an RBI single.
Bates and Flores combined to go 3-for-5. Aside from that, Fordham starter Madie Aughinbaugh kept the UW bats quiet — and the Huskies left seven runners on base — but Plain only needed the slim lead.
“I thought we were a little bit jittery,” Tarr said. “We weren’t synching up on a lot of different things that we’ve been synching up on. I think that’s just a matter of the first game. The first game is tough to get through, but we’re happy we won the game and were able to do it together.”
Saturday’s game will air on ESPN3.
Reach Sports Editor Josh Kirshenbaum at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @J_Kirshenbaum
Like what you’re reading? Support high-quality student journalism by donating here.