Down to their final two outs, the Huskies finally broke through courtesy of Sis Bates’ two-run single off Osorio, bringing home Taryn Atlee and Van Zee to tie the score at 2-2 to force extra innings.

Share story

They rushed out of the third-base dugout, raced across the field and finally reached their target near first base.

There, they surrounded Taylor Van Zee, bouncing and screaming and hugging around the infield, a celebration for the Washington Huskies nearly 3½ hours in the making.

And it was a celebration befitting a dramatic 3-2 come-from-behind victory for the Washington softball team in nine innings Friday night in Game 1 of its Super Regional against Alabama.

The No. 5-seed Huskies (48-8) trailed most of the night, producing little offensively against Alabama ace Alexis Osorio. An overflow crowd at Husky Softball Stadium — with some fans standing high above along Husky Stadium’s northeast railings to get a peek down — had little to cheer about until the seventh inning.

Most Read Sports Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

Down to their final two outs, the Huskies finally broke through courtesy of Sis Bates’ two-run single off Osorio, bringing home Taryn Atlee and Van Zee to tie the score at 2-2 to force extra innings.

In the bottom of the ninth, Kelly Burdick drew a leadoff walk from Osorio and stole second. Van Zee, the Huskies’ senior leadoff hitter and third baseman, then came through with a solid single up the middle, and Burdick scored the walkoff run, sliding in just ahead of the throw from center field.

“There wasn’t really a doubt in our team’s mind,” said Van Zee, who was 3 for 4 with two doubles. “We were just trying to compete, and I think we played really well tonight. … It was just going to come down to who had the clutch hit, and it ended up happening in the ninth inning.”

Game 2 of the best-of-three series is set for 4 p.m. Saturday on ESPN2. One more victory and the Huskies move on to the Women’s College World Series for the second consecutive year.

“These games are hard,” UW coach Heather Tarr said. “It’s two teams fighting for their lives; everybody wants what we all want. It’s important to win the first game, but it’s more important to be the first team to win two games.”

Alabama (36-19), the No. 12 seed, was looking to extend its recent run of success against Washington in the postseason. In both 2015 and 2016, the Crimson Tide had eliminated the Huskies, and Alabama’s late-season surge gave hope it could do it again this weekend.

Alabama had taken an early 2-0 lead when Sydney Booker, a light-hitting senior shortstop, ripped a double off Washington starter Gabbie Plain just inside the third-base line on an 0-2 count with two outs in the second inning. That gave the Crimson Tide a 2-0 lead and stood as Alabama’s only hit off Plain until the seventh inning.

Plain, a freshman from Australia, entered the Super Regional ranked No. 10 in the NCAA with a 1.03 earned-run average. She wound up going the distance, striking out nine in nine innings to improve to 20-4 this season.

“Really proud of her,” Tarr said. “For her to be able to stay tough and keep us in that game says everything about who she is and what she’s capable of.”

Osorio, a senior from Riverside, Calif., had shut down the UW bats for most of the night. It was a significant turnaround from her start here in March, when she had one of the worst outings of her career (seven runs in three innings in the Huskies’ 8-0 regular-season victory).

“They killed us that time,” Alabama coach Patrick Murphy said. “She was much better today. She’s been incredible — she’s been dominating in the postseason for us. They’re obviously a really good team, and a really good hitting team. So it’s a challenging lineup to pitch to, and she did a nice job tonight.”