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Home run barrage overshadows poor pitching as UW squeaks by Southern Utah

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Home run barrage overshadows poor pitching as UW squeeks by Southern Utah

Madison Huskey runs the bases during a Washington softball in 2019. Huskey would lead Washington with two home runs against Southern Utah and finished the day with five RBI.

Scoring 19 runs in a game is not a common feat. Allowing 13 runs is also not ideal.

For the No. 2 Washington softball team, Saturday’s 19-13 win over Southern Utah came with excitement, but also a lot of questions, as the UW bats overshadowed a poor pitching performance in Las Vegas.

On one hand, the Huskies (4-0) couldn’t have done much more against the Thunderbirds (0-4), smacking six home runs, their most since 2011. On the other hand, the offensive outburst was nearly spoiled by a poor pitching performance, as the Huskies allowed their most runs in a game since UCLA scored 16 back in 2019.

Sophomore pitcher Brooke Nelson started her first game of the year after starting just two last season. The Bonney Lake native was roughed up, allowing five hits, a walk, and three runs in 1.0-plus innings of work.

After allowing one run in the first inning, the first two batters in the second reached base before head coach Heather Tarr pulled Nelson in favor of freshman Sarah Willis. Things didn’t get much better as Willis struggled with command, walking two batters and allowing a single. Command issues ultimately culminated with a Josey White grand slam that gave Southern Utah a 6-2 lead.

While Southern Utah bats wrecked havoc upon Washington pitchers, the Huskies put on a hitting display of their own, scoring in every inning but the first. The Huskies clawed their way back from the second inning deficit, hitting four home runs in the next three innings.

The fourth inning was the biggest power outburst from the Huskies, as sophomore Jadelyn Allchin and junior Sami Reynolds both hit three-run home runs in the inning, with Reynolds’ putting Washington ahead 9-8.

A few insurance runs in the fifth inning looked to put the UW ahead for good, but SUU battled back, closing the UW lead to 14-13. With pitching struggles continuing from her staff, Tarr called on ace Gabbie Plain to close out the game. The senior finished the final 2.2 innings with a single blemish, a double in the sixth inning, but looked sharp otherwise in a scoreless relief appearance.

Outfielder Madi Huskey was ultimately the game-changer for the UW, hitting two home runs, including a three-run shot in the seventh inning that put the game out of the Thunderbirds’ reach, 19-13.

Lynch dominant against UNLV

Sophomore pitcher Kelley Lynch was locked in on both sides of the ball in the second game of the day against UNLV.

Lynch was strong in four innings of work, striking out six batters and allowing only two runs in her most extensive action of the season as the Huskies picked up an 8-2 victory over the Rebels (2-1).

It wasn’t just the pitching going for Lynch, she added on a 3-run home run in the third inning which would eventually prove to be the game winner, putting Washington ahead 4-0. She would later add on an RBI infield single in the fourth inning.

Additional scoring included a Huskey sacrifice fly later in the fourth and a SilentRain Espinoza 2-RBI single in the fifth that put the UW ahead 8-2.

Plain entered the game in the fifth inning in relief of Lynch. Following a perfect game yesterday, Plain looked much shakier Saturday night, allowing the Rebels to load the bases with two outs in the sixth, but she would ultimately escape unscathed, keeping ahold of her 0.00 ERA.

Washington is back in action tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. in its final game of the UNLV tournament against Dixie State.

Reach reporter Anthony Edwards at Twitter: @edwardsanthonyb

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