Eleventh-seeded Washington goes on a nine-run scoring spree in the second and third innings to storm back and defeat Weber State in five innings, 14-6. The Huskies will face Minnesota on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Facing a dominant, 11th-seeded Huskies team known for its hitting prowess, Weber State entered its first game of the double-elimination NCAA regional tournament at Husky Softball Stadium hoping to exert its own offensive might.
The Big Sky champs started out on a high note when junior outfielder Sara Hingsberger hit a three-run home run in the top of the first inning and Weber State carried a two-run lead into the bottom of the second inning.
But UW went on a nine-run scoring spree in the second and third innings that keyed a 14-6, five-inning win over Weber State (37-18).
NCAA softball regional
Saturday: Minnesota vs. Washington, 1 p.m.; North Dakota State vs. Weber State, 3:30 p.m.; Minnesota-Washington loser vs. North Dakota State-Weber State winner, 6 p.m.
Sunday: Minnesota-Washington winner vs. winner of Saturday’s third game, noon. Second game between teams, if necessary, 2:30 p.m.
Where: Husky Softball Stadium
Tickets: Available at Ticketmaster.com. Single-session tickets include all games on a single day. Reserved infield $15; adult general admission $10; youth (18 and under)/senior (62 and older) general admission $6
“Nothing that a team does is going to faze us,” said UW shortstop Ali Aguilar. “We showed that by bouncing back. Every single inning that they scored, we scored right back.”
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The Huskies (37-13) will play Big Ten champion Minnesota (42-12) at 1 p.m. on Saturday, with the winner advancing to play Sunday for a spot in the Super Regionals. The Gophers beat North Dakota State, 7-2, in the first regional game on Friday afternoon. North Dakota State will play Weber State in an elimination game on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. The Minnesota-UW loser will face the North Dakota State-Weber State winner at 6 p.m. Saturday to determine the other team that will play Sunday.
“I loved our fight, loved the way we responded,” Weber State coach Mary Kay Amicone said. “We came out strong. We would have loved to pitch a little bit better but our combo of pitchers did a great job trying to keep them off balance. … There were a lot of great things we did. We will bounce back, we’re a resilient team.”
Weber State’s pitchers gave up 14 runs and 14 hits to UW, and allowed Huskies sophomore Julia DePonte to come oh-so-close to setting a new school record for triples in a game.
DePonte was 4 for 4 on the night, with four RBI. She tripled in the first and second innings, and appeared to have a third at the end of the game, but that hit was ultimately ruled a double. Three triples would have been a UW game record.
After a second-inning home run from Tannon Snow that helped the Huskies cut Weber State’s lead to one run, senior Kimberlee Souza provided the go-ahead score in with a double to left field that drove home Ali Aguilar and Trysten Melhart to put the Huskies up 5-4.
Wildcats pitcher Bailey Seek, a Lake Stevens alum, then walked Stangel, and the Huskies took full advantage of this when DePonte lit up the scoreboard again for UW with a triple that came a foot away from being a home run.
Still, Souza and Stangel scored to give UW a 7-4 lead going into the third.
UW never looked back.
Aguilar, UW’s All-Pac-12 shortstop, hit a three-run double in the bottom of the third to make the score 10-4, and Souza and Stangel each contributed another RBI in the bottom of the fifth before DePonte’s final double off the wall that drove home Amirah Milloy.
“I’m proud of our team for coming back and competing and competing to win moments. There were a ton of moments we had to win there,” said UW softball coach Heather Tarr.
The Huskies got some help from Weber State starting pitcher Kirtlyn Bohling, who struggled to find the strike zone early on. Bohling gave up five runs in 11/3 innings and had three walks.
Sophomore pitcher Madi Schreyer got the win for UW. Schreyer went 32/3 innings, giving up six hits and two runs, but also had two strikeouts.