Inglesby tossed a two-hitter and struck out a season-high nine batters. The Huskies need one more win on Sunday to advance to the super regional.
In a matchup of top-flight pitchers, Washington’s Kaitlin Inglesby was at her stratospheric best in a 2-0 win over Hawaii on Saturday in a second-round NCAA regional game at Husky Softball Stadium.
Facing Australian Kaia Parnaby, who began the day tied for the Division I lead in victories with 38, Inglesby (22-7) tossed a two-hitter while striking out a season-high nine batters. She walked just one and did not allow a runner to get beyond first base.
“Kaitlin Inglesby pitched a gem,” UW coach Heather Tarr said. “It was an awesome game by her.”
The Huskies (40-15), seeded 11th in the NCAA tournament, are a win away from advancing to a super regional, the tournament’s round of 16. UW needs one win Sunday (at 1 p.m., and, if necessary, 3:30) to move on to its eighth super regional in Tarr’s nine-year tenure.
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Washington’s opponent Sunday will again be Hawaii (45-12), which defeated Minnesota (36-19), 3-0 later on Saturday in a loser-out game. Minnesota eliminated Portland State 5-0 earlier Saturday.
While Inglesby was nearly untouchable, intermingling heat and change-ups, Parnaby, a member of Australia’s national team, kept UW scoreless through five innings with her mix of screwballs and drop balls.
The Huskies got their leadoff hitter aboard in four of the first five innings, but threatened to score just once, when in the fourth Tarr waved home pinch runner Marki Creger-Zier from second on Shawna Wright’s one-out single to right. The throw from right fielder Keiki Carlos beat Creger-Zier by a step.
“You’ve got to pressure the dish with one out,” Tarr said.
The Huskies broke through in the sixth when Kylee Lahners powered a 1-2 screwball by Parnaby to the wall in right-center for a double, bringing home pinch-runner Jerrin Fa’asua. Lahners later scored on a first-pitch single to left by freshman Jennie McNeill, who had two of UW’s six hits off Parnaby (38-6).
Lahners’ pivotal hit came after falling to 0-2 in the count.
“I knew I had to keep competing, shorten up my swing and put the ball in play,” Lahners said. “I got it on the right spot on the bat, and things worked out.”
Inglesby took a fairly nonchalant view of her outing.
“I was putting good pitches in good spots,” she said. “Glass (pitching coach Lance Glasoe) called a great game. I had a lot of trust in him and Shawna (Wright, her catcher). So I was hitting good spots and keeping them off-balance.”
Hawaii coach Bob Coolen commended UW’s pitching, which blanked his offense for just the second time this season.
“She stayed outside early on,” he said. “We didn’t make the adjustment to the outside pitch very well, then she came with her changeup later on and kept our hitters off-balance that way.
“As the game went on, it became a plus for her that she was able to change speeds,” he said. “Whoever was calling the game went to the change-ups because we were getting a little bit more aggressive on pitch selection. That’s where you need to check yourself and try to think like a pitcher. Is a changeup going to come? … She did a nice job at mixing it.”