Tuesday June 2, 2009No. 1 Softball Drops First WCWS Championship Game to No. 3 Washington
Oklahoma City, Okla.
No. 1/1 University of Florida lost the first game of the Women’s College World Series championship series, 8-0, to No. 3/4 Washington. The Gators (63-4) tallied their first loss in 29 games, breaking the NCAA’s longest win streak of the season.
Senior Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) recorded only her fourth loss of the season, allowing five hits and six runs, four earned. The righty (41-4) walked only two and struck out five in the outing. Danielle Lawrie (41-8) recorded the win for the Huskies (50-12), striking out 12, walking three and allowing two Gator hits.
The eight-run loss was the worst for Florida since a 10-2 defeat to UCLA on March 3, 2007. Junior Corrie Brooks (Christmas, Fla.) and freshman Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) recorded the hits for the Gators, as Brooks tallied an infield single in the third and Moultrie nailed a single to left field in the sixth.
Washington wasted no time getting on base in the first, but the Gators squashed the Huskies’ attempts to cross the plate. Ashley Charters started the game off with a high chopper back to the mound and beat Nelson’s throw to first. She then advanced to third on a Gator error on Kimi Pohlman’s grounder. With two runners in scoring position, Jennifer Salling grounded to sophomore second baseman Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.) who fired home to senior catcher Kristina Hilberth (Dunedin, Fla.) to tag out Charter and keep the Huskies off the board. Nelson went to work, getting the next batter swinging and next to ground out to end the inning and leave runners stranded at the corners.
The Huskies tallied four runs in the third to take the lead. Niki Williams led off the inning with a walk and moved to second on a stolen base. Charters followed with a hard-hit single to second and Pohlman hit a chopper to sophomore shortstop Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.), who looked Williams back at third, but could do nothing with the ball. With the bases loaded, Salling nailed a single up the middle, scoring Williams and Charters. Senior center fielder Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.) fired home to try to get Charters on a close play at the plate and Hilberth then tried to catch Salling advancing to second, but the ball sailed over Bush’s head and both runners were able to hustle home to give Washington a 4-0 lead.
The Huskies added two more in the fifth with two-outs on a double that hit the center-field wall. After a lead-off walk, the Gators got the next two lead runners at second on groundouts. Lawrie singled up the middle to put runners on first and second and Morgan Stuart nailed her fourth double of the WCWS, a new record, to score her teammates.
Sophomore Stephanie Brombacher (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) relieved Nelson in the sixth. After recording two outs, she gave up her fifth home run of the season to Charters to plate two more Huskies and give UW an 8-0 lead. Brombacher allowed two hits, two walks and the two runs in two innings of work.
The first time the Gators got two runners on base was in the sixth when Pacubla drew a one-out walk and Moultrie recorded a pinch-hit single to left field. Lawrie forced a groundout and struck out the final out of the inning.
The Gators will look to even the series on Tuesday, June 2 at 8 p.m. (ET). The game will be televised on ESPN 2 and espn360.com.