Kimberlee Souza hit a walk-off solo home run on the first pitch in the bottom of the eighth inning to give 11th-seeded Washington a 4-3 win over 14th-seeded Nebraska in game one of the college softball World Series at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium on May 30. The extra-inning victory is the Huskies fourth (4-0) of the season.
Both teams scored in the first inning. Nebraska (45-14) scored in the top-half of the inning without the benefit of the hit. Washington (43-15) junior pitcher Bryana Walker hit Gabby Banda and Taylor Edwards on back-to-back-to pitches. Banda and Edwards moved up one base each on a wild pitch. Brooke Thomason then brought Banda home with a sacrifice fly to left field.
The Huskies answered back in the bottom of the first with two runs. Victoria Hayward (1-for-1, 2 runs scored, three walks) led off the inning by drawing a walk and came around to score on a two-run bomb by Kaitlin Inglesby (1-for-2. 1 run scored, 2 RBIs), who started the game as the designated player.
Both teams had chances between the second and fourth innings, with Washington having the best opportunity in the third inning. The Huskies drew threw consecutive walks to load the bases but Tatum Edwards battled back to induce Kaylee Lahners into a 5-2-3 double play and then got Souza (1-for-4, 1 run, 1 RBI) to fly out to right field to end the inning.
Nebraska tied the game in the top of the fourth. Taylor Edwards led off the inning with a single, before Thomason worked a seven-pitch walk to put Huskers on first and second with no outs. Inglesby then came on to pitch for Washington, and senior Courtney Breault promptly advanced both base runners with a sacrifice bunt. After Inglesby got Haylie Decker to fly out to right, she induced a ground ball from Alicia Armstrong but second Kelli Seguro kicked it for an error and allowed the Huskers to tie the game. However, Thomason attempting to score from second was thrown out by first baseman Hooch Fagaly.
Nebraska then retook the lead 3-2 in the top of the fifth inning. Jordan Bettiol drew a one-out walk and was replaced on the base paths by Tatum Edwards, who grounded into a fielder’s choice. Banda followed with a single and moved up to second on the throw, putting Huskers on second and third. Edwards then scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch.
Washington had an opportunity to tie the game in bottom of the fifth as they had runners on first and second with no outs but Emily Lockman, who replaced Tatum Edwards in the circle after the runners reached base, got out of the jam unscathed.
The Huskers collected three hits in the top of the seventh but were unable to add any insurance runs. That loomed large in the bottom of the seventh. Hayward roped a one-out triple that eluded a diving Thomason in right field to put the Huskies in position to tie the game. Fagaly then popped up a squeeze bunt attempt but it still fell safely on the infield, allowing Thomason to score.
Inglesby set the Huskers down in order in the top of the eighth.
Inglesby (23-7) earned the victory by surrendering just one run on four hits in five innings of relief work. She walked one batter and struck out two.
Lockman (15-5) suffered the loss, allowing two runs on two hits in three innings of work.
Washington will battle seventh-seeded Tennessee on May 31, at ASA Stadium in Oklahoma City (Okla.). The game will start at 7 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN.
Other game notes: Nebraska is 0-2 in extra inning games. Tatum Edwards walked seven Huskies in her four innings in the circle though she only permitted one hit. Tatum Edwards only threw 33 of her 77 pitches for strikes.