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WCWS: Washington Wins Opening Game of Championship Series

OKLAHOMA CITY – The University of Washington exploded for eight runs on seven hits in Monday’s first game of the NCAA Championship Series, recording an 8-0 seven-inning win over Florida. Washington (50-12) leads Florida (63-4) in the best-of-three series with game two scheduled for 7 pm CDT on Tuesday evening. 

Washington’s win snaps Florida’s 29-game winning streak, handing the Gators first loss since March 29, when UF lost to Alabama. 

Washington opened the scoring in the top of the third inning. Niki Williams led off the inning with a walk and stole second, going to third on an Ashley Charters single. Kimi Pohlman followed by reaching base on a fielders choice with no out recorded on the play to load the bases. 

Jennifer Salling then stepped in, knocking a two-RBI single up the middle with Charters evading a tag at the plate. Gator catcher Kristina Hilberth then saw she could catch Pohlman in a rundown between second and third base, but her throw to the bag at second was too high, going into centerfield and allowing both Pohlman and Salling to score on the play, giving the Huskies a 4-0 lead. 

Another deuce was added in the fifth inning. Charters walked to lead off the inning, but after a pair of fielders choices, Salling was the runner on first base who went to third on a Danielle Lawrie single. Both runners scored on a double by Morgan Stuart, making the score 6-0. Stuart’s double was her fourth this week, setting a new WCWS record. 

The Husky offense kept churning in the sixth inning. A one-out walk to Lauren Greer was followed by a two-out home run from Charters to give Washington its seventh and eighth runs of the game. 

Because the eight-run mercy rule is not in effect for the championship series, the game went a full seven innings. 

Florida ace Stacey Nelson took the loss for the Gators, falling to 41-4 on the season. She tossed five innings, striking out five, but allowing six runs on five hits. Stephanie Brombacher tossed the final two innings, allowing two runs on as many hits. 

Danielle Lawrie earned the win for Washington, improving to 41-8 this year. She struck out 12 and walked three while twirling a two-hit shutout over her seven innings in the circle.