OKLAHOMA CITY — In its second straight game at the Women’s College World Series, Washington’s final result was determined in walkoff fashion. Only this time it went against the Huskies.
No. 9 hitter Tory Lewis, who went 3 for 4, singled up the middle to score pinch-runner Whitney Hammond from third in the seventh inning for a Tennessee victory, 1-0. All day long, the Vols had losing pitcher Kaitlin Inglesby (23-8) on the ropes before breaking the scoreless deadlock. Inglesby allowed nine hits and six walks.
“I thought we played a great game,” UW coach Heather Tarr said. “We dealt with some things that, I think, a lot of teams would have folded with regards to a really tight strike zone.”
The loss sent the Huskies (44-16) into the elimination bracket.
Of all the teams that took shelter from Friday night’s severe weather, Tarr felt the Huskies were the best equipped to handle it.
“Our team is pretty even keel. We were the ones with the boom box and the music,” Tarr said.
But their bats weren’t very lively against Vols starter Ellen Renfroe.
“If anything it probably gave Ellen Renfroe the rest that she needed,” Tarr said.
Renfroe (19-4) allowed two hits, didn’t walk anyone or allow any base runner in scoring position. She also struck out 10.
After Victoria Hayward’s single up the middle to start the game — she was thrown out trying to steal — the Huskies managed only an infield hit by Kelli Suguro in the third.
“We knew she’s one of the best pitchers in the country,” Suguro said. “We didn’t make the adjustments we needed to produce the runs we needed to win.”
Even Hayward, who safely reached base in her first five plate appearances at the Women’s College World Series, was quieted after her first-inning single.
“Though we didn’t have that many hits, we had a lot of balls squared up. A lot of balls hit to the wall,” Hayward said.
Kimberlee Souza, who hit the game-winning homer against Nebraska on Thursday, drove one to the wall, but Vols left fielder Melissa Brown had room to make the catch. The other hardest-hit ball was a drive off the bat of Suguro that had Kat Dotson on the run before she flagged it down in right field.
“We didn’t draw any walks. Our quality at-bat percentage was way down for what we need to do to win games,” Tarr said. “But the team’s going to be tough and we’re going to stay tough.”
The Vols left the bases loaded in three of the first four innings without scoring a run and stranded 12 runners through six.
“Kait’s grown up a lot from last year to this year. If those types of things would have happened, maybe earlier this year or last year, I don’t think that she would have been able to respond the way she did,” Tarr said. “She was tough, and she kept us in every single inning.”
It was the first time UW faced Tennessee since the Huskies’ 2009 national-championship season when Danielle Lawrie struck out nine in a 2-1 Huskies victory.