Gabbie Plain already had one gem under her belt this weekend, but decided to do herself one better Sunday, facing the minimum in a 7-0 no-hitter against Mississippi State.
The UW sophomore, who took a no-hitter into the sixth inning in Washington’s Friday win over Fordham, walked Kat Moore to lead off the bottom of the second, but doubled her off a batter later on a comeback line drive.
After that, it was 15 up, 15 down, and on to the super regionals for the Huskies.
“She just has a smile on her face, and she’s so calm and composed,” sophomore Emma Helm said. “We always joke about how calm she is. You just know that she’s locked in and ready to go pitch to pitch, and it’s so fun to be behind her.”
When Plain faced the Bulldogs in the second weekend of the season, she allowed eight hits, including three home runs to Mia Davidson. This time around, Davidson did nothing but strike out twice, including one in the bottom of the seventh for the second out of the inning.
That left only Fa Leilua, who flew out to Amirah Milloy in center field to seal the sixth postseason no-hitter in UW history.
Not that the pitcher herself really knew what was happening until it did.
“My team was having so much fun,” Plain said. “I was just caught up in the moment.”
After the walk to Moore, Plain wouldn’t allow anything close to threatening again until the bottom of the fifth, when Montana Davidson drove a liner back up the middle right to her glove. The UW ace couldn’t quite make the catch, but she ended up deflecting it straight to an onrushing Sis Bates, who came up firing to retire Davidson at first.
“That was just reflexes,” Plain said. “I was purely getting out of the way of the ball. That was hit way too hard.”
She finished the game with 10 strikeouts, finishing the weekend with 24 total.
Plain threw back-to-back no-hitters at the Husky Classic in February. The only two other UW pitchers to ever throw three no-hitters in a season were Danielle Lawrie in 2010 and Jennifer Spediacci in 1998.
With Washington designated the visiting team Sunday evening, Plain never had to throw a pitch without the lead. The Huskies were on the board before MSU starter Emily Williams could record an out in the top of the first and putting two runs up in the frame.
Flores doubled the lead in the top of the fifth with her third homer of the weekend, and sophomore designated player Emma Helm blew it open four batters later in the inning, pulling a three-run home run over the fence in right field.
Helm finished the weekend with five hits in the two games against MSU, including two doubles and the homer.
“She’s just getting better, learning herself, and learning her role in this team,” Tarr said. “We’ve talked a lot of times just about how important she is and how big a part of our team she is, but for her to be able to come into herself this weekend for our team is really big moving forward.”
Washington advances to super regionals for the fourth consecutive year. The Huskies will host No. 14 Kentucky, which swept through its own regional.
Reach Sports Editor Josh Kirshenbaum at email@example.com. Twitter: @J_Kirshenbaum
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