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Gibson’s grand slam highlights explosive offensive day for Washington

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Gibson’s grand slam highlights explosive offensive day for Washington

Utility Kaija Gibson hits a ball in 2019. The fifth-year senior hit her first home run in 23 months Sunday Feb. 21, 2021, a grand slam in the Washington softball team's 17-0 victory over Utah Valley.

Few times in sports does a team present an offense so unrelenting that not even a rule preventing blowouts can curb one from happening.

Sometimes they do occur, though, in the case of a matchup of a smaller program and a cross-town rival or an unrelenting tournament draw.

Sunday morning was neither of those cases, as the No. 2 Washington softball team took the field, stomping Utah Valley, 17-0, in the final day of the Dixie State Classic.

Before the weekend started, Utah Valley was easily the underdog on paper, but after the UW lost to Nevada on Friday, the Wolverines (3-2) defeated the Wolf Pack themselves. If the transitive property means anything in softball, it seemed as if the Wolverines might even pose a threat to the Huskies (9-1).

Within minutes, that possibility was clearly out the window.

Washington starting pitcher senior Gabbie Plain worked around a first inning triple, striking out the side to open the game for the Huskies.

In the bottom of the inning, Washington’s power bats reemerged, as junior Sami Reynolds hit her fourth home run of the season, a solo shot, to give the Huskies a 1-0 lead. Sophomore Jadelyn Allchin later drove in two runs with a double to push the lead to 3-0.

Plain continued cruising, adding two more to her strikeout tally before the bottom of the second for Washington.

What an inning it was.

Eight runs, seven hits, and four walks. Those statistics just begin to describe the efficiency of the Washington offense.

After a strikeout of freshman Lilly Agan to open the inning, the Wolverines failed to record another out for 11 batters. In that time, Reynolds and Allchin added to their RBI totals and sophomore Kelley Lynch picked up her first RBI of the day as the Huskies stretched the lead to 6-0.

With the bases loaded, fifth-year senior Kaija Gibson stepped up to the plate in search of her second RBI of the season.

Rather than driving in just one, Gibson made it four, smacking a grand slam, her first home run since 2019, as Washington made it double-digits.

Outside of games with back-to-back home runs against Oregon in March 2019, Gibson’s only other fence-clearing hit in the purple and gold came all the way back during her freshman season in 2017.

Plain struck out the side yet again to give her eight on the day, and already leading 11-0, Washington might as well have packed up to head home, but the hits just kept coming.

In the bottom of the third, Lynch reached base before Allchin launched her first home run of the day, as Washington passed a dozen runs for the second time this year at 13-0.

The fourth inning was much of the same, but this time Lynch decided to score her own way, driving a 2-run shot out of the park for her second home run of the season. Allchin made it her first career multi-home run day with a solo bomb to push the lead to 16-0.

The Huskies added one more to put a 17-spot on the scoreboard, humiliating the Wolverines all the way around.

All-in-all, Washington’s 5-6-7 hitters went 9-for-9 with four home runs and 13 RBIs on the day.

Washington will be back in action Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. to open a three-game series at San Diego State.

Reach Assistant Sports Editor Anthony Edwards at sports@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @edwardsanthonyb

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