GAINESVILLE, Fla. — There were no excuses. Shortly after Washington’s 9-0, five-inning loss at Florida on Saturday afternoon, starting pitcher Kaitlyn Inglesby summed up an uncharacteristic performance.
“We didn’t throw the way we know how to throw at all today, which is pretty disappointing,” Inglesby said.
The Huskies came into the Super Regional matchup with the Gators having thrown 22 straight scoreless innings. But nothing came easy for Inglesby or relief pitcher Bryana Walker. In four innings against the Gators, the duo combined to allow 9 runs on 8 hits and 7 walks.
“Walks equal runs,” Inglesby said. “When we show up and know how to play like we have been, we’re capable of anything.”
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Washington (36-14) had its six-game winning streak snapped and were eight-run ruled for just the third time this season. Florida did most of its damage at the bottom of the lineup. Batting eighth, Florida catcher Aubree Munro went 3 for 3 with a double and 2 RBI. Nine-hole batter Kathlyn Media added two hits and an RBI for the Gators (49-11).
Inglesby (15-5) came into the Florida matchup with a 2.10 ERA. But Munro touched the senior pitcher with an RBI double in the second inning, giving the Gators a 1-0 lead. Inglesby then walked a batter with the bases loaded in the third inning, extending UF’s lead to 2-0.
After giving up two straight hits to start the fourth inning, Inglesby was replaced by Walker, who fared no better. Florida broke the game open with seven runs in the fourth, During the inning, Inglesby and Walker combined to allow five hits and four walks.
“I couldn’t find the strike zone to save my life,” Walker said.
Two of the seven runs scored on bases loaded walks and one scored on a squeeze bunt with the bases loaded.
“Florida took advantage of all of our mistakes,” Washington coach Heather Tarr said.
Offensively, Washington managed just four hits against Florida starter Hannah Rogers (25-8). The Huskies left six batters on base. Washington’s best chance to score came in the first inning, but after back-to-back walks with one out, Rogers got cleanup batter Kylee Lahners to pop out in the infield and struck out shortstop Ali Aguilar to end the inning.
“You want to get to good pitching early and we weren’t able to do that,” Tarr said.
Neither Ingelsby or Walker would use the heat or making the cross-country trip to Florida as an excuse for their performance. Washington arrived in Gainesville on Wednesday get acclimated to the conditions and time change. It was 91 degrees at game time, and Inglesby and Walker said they could both grip their pitches in the humidity.
“We knew since Sunday that we were coming to Florida and we’ve been preparing for it,” Walker said. “Yeah we play in Seattle now, but we both grew up playing in California, playing in the heat all the time. So this wasn’t the first time we played in the sun.”
The Huskies will try to avoid elimination in the best-of-three series when the two schools meet again at 9 a.m. PT on Sunday on ESPN. Washington will need to sweep a doubleheader on the road to advance to the Women’s College World Series for the 12th time.
“The best thing about it is it can’t be worse than today,” Inglesby said. “We know what we’re capable of and we got that one of the way. Tomorrow is a whole new day for us.”