SEATTLE – Texas held on for as long as possible, but fifth-ranked Washington’s offense finally came alive to drop the Longhorns 2-1 Saturday in the NCAA softball regional at Seattle.
Texas (33-25) got good pitching and defense for the second game in a row, having upset Big Ten champion and 25th-ranked Minnesota 2-1 in the regional opener Friday.
But the Longhorns could only shut down Washington’s high-powered offense for so long.
Holding on to a 1-1 tie in the top of the seventh, Longhorns relief pitcher Erica Wright gave up a leadoff double to Sis Bates. Two batters later, Kirstyn Thomas roped a double down the right field line to score Bates and give the Huskies a 2-1 lead.
The Longhorns went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the seventh to end the game. Kaitlyn Washington flied out to left field, MK Tedder struck out swinging and Ciera Schick grounded out to shortstop.
Washington (46-8) was fresh off an 8-0 thumping of Boise State (40-15) Friday night.
This was the first time the Longhorns and Huskies had squared off since then-No. 1 Washington took a 2-1 win Feb. 21 in Austin.
Texas was set to face the Minnesota-Boise State winner at 9 p.m. Saturday in the losers’ bracket. If the Longhorns wins that game, they advance to the championship round against Washington at 6 p.m. Sunday, needing to beat the Huskies twice to win the regional.
Saturday afternoon, Brooke Bollinger (13-7) went up against Gabbie Plain (17-4), who had thrown a five-hit shutout against Boise State the previous night.
Bollinger went 4 1/3 innings, allowing one earned run, four hits and three walks while striking out two. She survived two rough spots without giving up a run, including a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the top of the first.
Bollinger was relieved by junior Erica Wright (5-5), who took the loss after giving up one earned run and three hits while fanning three.
Plain went the distance for the Huskies, striking out six while surrendering two hits and an earned run over seven innings.
The Longhorns went up 1-0 when Washington lined a double down the right field line to score Malory Schattle, who had stolen second base a couple of pitches earlier.
The Huskies evened the score with Julia DePonte’s RBI double off the top of the center field wall, scoring Taylor Van Zee from second base.
Paige von Sprecken and Washington each went 1-for-3, collecting the only hits of the day for the Longhorns, who struggled to wake up their bats. Texas drew only one walk and swiped zero bags.
The only big hit of the day was Washington’s RBI double.
This is the Longhorns’14th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament field of 64 and 19th overall NCAA regional appearance.
The winner of this regional will advance to the super regionals and take on the winner of the Tuscaloosa Regional, where No. 12 national seed Alabama is hosting Wisconsin, Middle Tennessee and Oregon State.
The Longhorns’ last super regional appearance was in 2013.