OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — It took six hours, but Washington stayed alive in the Women’s College World Series.
Gabbie Plain struck out 10 to help the Huskies beat Minnesota 5-3 on Saturday in an elimination game. It was delayed three hours in the sixth inning because of lightning and rain.
“The delay probably makes it the most difficult because in a way, when you come off the field, your mind kind of has to shut down a little bit,” Washington coach Heather Tarr said. “You don’t really know how long the delay was going to be. It just continued and continued.”
Plain, a first-team NFCA All-American, was dominant until the seventh inning. Taran Alvelo relieved her to earn the save.
“I think I just got a little bit fast for myself,” Plain said. “It had been a long day. We’d been here since 8:30 in the morning just chilling out at the ballpark. I think I just got a little bit too far ahead of myself, tried to get to the end of the game.”
Washington (51-8), last year’s World Series runner-up, advanced to play Oklahoma State in an elimination game later Saturday.
Minnesota (46-14) lost both games in its first World Series appearance.
“We didn’t play our best,” Minnesota coach Jamie Trachsel said. “We’re not going to make excuses about it. We certainly won’t have any regrets about it. It just didn’t go our way. There’s so many special weekends we get to share together, we’re not going to let one weekend define or change anything we’ve been able to accomplish together.”
Washington’s Morganne Flores, the second batter of the game, sent a pitch from Minnesota’s Amber Fiser over the fence in center to open the scoring. Sami Reynolds scored on a wild pitch later in the inning to make it 2-0.
Minnesota’s Carlie Brandt doubled to score Emma Burns in the third and get the Golden Gophers on the board. That snapped Plain’s 35 2/3-inning scoreless streak. She hadn’t surrendered a run since the regular-season finale against Arizona on May 5.
In the fourth, Washington’s Sis Bates singled to score Madison Huskey to make it 3-1. When play resumed after the delay, Washington’s Reynolds doubled to score Bates and Megan Vandegrift and push the Huskies’ lead to 5-1.
Minnesota rallied in the seventh. Brandt two-out double scored two and made it 5-3.
“I think it just shows the resiliency and the toughness that this team has,” Minnesota right fielder Maddie Houlihan said. “I don’t think there’s ever a moment we will ever give up. We’re going to give you hell until you find a way to beat us.”
Alvelo stepped in for Plain and struck out MaKenna Partain to earn the save.
Minnesota could be a threat to return to the World Series next year. The Golden Gophers return Fiser and have just two seniors in their starting lineup.
“The team did a great job of buying into the process, with just trusting each other, trusting the training,” Houlihan, a senior, said. “I think this program is only going to get better.”
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