Lawrie leads Huskies to win
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Danielle Lawrie was disappointed with a start that didn't live up to her reputation as national player of the year. She wasn't about to settle for another lackluster performance.
Lawrie came back from what she called a "B-minus" outing by throwing a two-hit shutout against Arizona State as Washington moved within one victory of the Women's College World Series finals with a 1-0 win Friday night.
"When you're at the World Series, that's just not acceptable," said Lawrie, who wasn't happy with a six-hitter the previous day in a 3-1 defeat of Georgia. "We only get one opportunity to be here and kind of show what we're made of. So me, being one that wants to help lead this team, can't have performances like that."
Morgan Stuart singled home the winning run in the eighth inning with a soft line drive just out of the reach of shortstop Katelyn Boyd. Kimi Pohlman, who doubled with one out and moved up on Lawrie's flyout, scored easily.
"Our team is tested for this kind of stuff. We perform well with each other when we know that everyone's got each other's back," Stuart said. "When I saw Dani move her over, I just knew it was going to happen."
Arizona State (47-18), the defending national champion, must win three in a row to get to the best-of-3 championship round.
Later Friday night, fifth-seeded Michigan played No. 1 seed Florida in a winner's bracket game.
Lawrie (39-7) didn't walk a batter and retired 15 straight at one point against a lineup that had 13 singles in a 7-3 win against Missouri in its opening game.
"I think it was us putting pressure on ourselves," Arizona State catcher Kaylyn Castillo said. "We weren't really trusting the bats as we have done before. It's a big stage and that's a big deal, but I think instead of looking for that big hit to get us going people wanted to help put us on the board in one swing."
Washington had a player thrown out at the plate and also squandered a scoring opportunity with a runner on third and nobody out in the seventh against freshman Hillary Bach (31-10).
Castillo robbed the Huskies of a run in the fourth inning, leaping to catch a relay throw from second baseman Ashley Muenz on Alicia Blake's double to the wall. Kaitlin Cochran tracked down the ball and zipped it to Muenz, who rifled a high throw just in time to beat Jenn Salling as she tried to score from first. Castillo then spiked the ball in celebration.
The next time the Huskies had a chance to test Cochran's arm, they didn't bother -- even with a chance to win the game. With one out in the seventh, Ashlyn Watson lofted a fly ball to center field and pinch-runner Marnie Koziol took only a couple steps off third base before retreating. Cochran's throw bounded off-target up the first base line.
Niki Williams popped out to end the threat.
"You win some, you lose some, right?" said Huskies coach Heather Tarr, who a day earlier gambled and got the Huskies a run as a relay throw was cut off before reaching the plate.
The 10th-seeded Sun Devils never got going against Lawrie, a pitcher for the Canadian Olympic team who once beat the U.S. national team on the same field in Oklahoma City.
Lawrie allowed only a second-inning double to Katie Crabb and an eighth-inning single by Talor Haro. That was all that kept Lawrie from joining UCLA's Lisa Fernandez as the only pitchers to throw two no-hitters in World Series play.She previously no-hit DePaul during the 2007 World Series.
Florida 1, Michigan 0
Megan Bush homered and Stacey Nelson threw her second straight shutout at the World Series.
A matchup of two of the nation's top three pitching staffs didn't disappoint as Nelson pitched a one-hitter for her 21st shutout of the season and the Gators (62-3) held an opponent scoreless for the 39th time this season.
"Her stuff is incredible right now and I did tell the team after the first inning ... that we need to get her one run," Gators coach Tim Walton said.
Nelson (41-3) allowed only a ground single up the middle to Bree Evans to lead off the fourth inning. She threw 71 pitches, and all but 14 were strikes.
"We needed to have better at-bats and make some adjustments as the game went on," Michigan coach Carol Hutchins said. "To her credit, she changes. She doesn't approach every hitter the same every time they're up. ... If you don't make the adjustments, she had her way with us. And definitely, it wore on us."
Bush, 1-for-16 in last year's World Series, hit her second home run in as many days and 16th of the season. Her drive off Michigan reliever Nikki Nemitz (28-6) in the sixth inning landed about 10 rows into the left-field stands.
"That's what the College World Series is all about -- getting a hit when you need it," Walton said.
Florida has won 28 games in a row, with its last loss coming in March. The fifth-seeded Wolverines (47-11) lost for only the second time in 29 games.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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