It has been known for a long time that the University of Washington softball team is among the elite programs in the nation. However, this year has been special for this group in particular. The Huskies have been ranked nationally in the top 10 for the whole year and wrapped up the regular season with their first conference championship since 2010. The UW softball team used this newly gained momentum over the past weekend to dominate their regional bracket.
The girls opened the weekend by beating Atlantic 10 conference champions Fordham 2–0. Sophomore pitcher Gabbie Plain was the star of the night after pitching a complete game shutout to go along with her 14 strikeouts, tying the UW postseason record. This was nothing new for Plain as she dominated throughout the regular season, posting a 1.26 ERA with a 20–2 record. Both of the Huskies’ two runs came off of RBIs from junior catcher Morganne Flores where both times she batted in junior Sis Bates, who leads the team in runs scored with 56.
This win meant a highly anticipated matchup with nationally ranked Mississippi State in the 2nd round. Mississippi State is one of the premier programs in the SEC and took down Seattle University in the first round to match them up with UW. In the end, the Bulldogs were no match for UW. The Huskies took care of business winning 6–1 and held the lead from the first inning on. Head coach Heather Tarr took a lot of positives from the game and has confidence in the team moving forward in the tournament.
“It was a good game, and we played the game right,” Tarr said in an interview with the Seattle Times. “We scored first, and we had some good shutdown defense. Our team had a presence about them.”
It was once again Flores who led the offensive attack for the Huskies, ending the day with two home runs and four RBIs. Those two home runs brought Flores’ total on the season to 20 — 15 more than any other player on the team. Her first of the game came in the 1st inning to give the Huskies a 2–0 lead. They held this lead for the entire game and were never in danger of giving it up either.
UW was now one win away from advancing to the super regionals and were awaiting the winning in the loser out rematch between Mississippi State and Seattle University. After Mississippi was able to take care of Seattle for the second time, the rematch was set and the Bulldogs had revenge on their mind. However, the Huskies had other plans in mind.
The final tally was 8–0 in favor of the Dawgs, but it wasn’t the eight runs that were the story of the night — it was once again pitcher Plain. Plain saved her best performance for the most important game of the season, as she pitched the 6th no hitter in program history. The only baserunner she allowed was a leadoff walk in the 2nd inning that kept her from perfection. Plain was nothing but humble after her incredible performance while addressing her scoreless streak of 28 ? innings.
“I knew what had happened in the past, but I was ready to go out there,” said Plain, who pitched two shutouts over the weekend. “I was just having fun with my teammates. My team was having so much fun and I just got caught up in the moment.”
The Huskies will now turn their attention to the NCAA super regionals versus the University of Kentucky, where the winner will earn the opportunity to play in the Women’s College World Series. This is their fourth straight trip to the supers and will be looking to make their third straight trip to the WCWS for the 2nd time in program history.