SEATTLE – Kaitlin Inglesby, like all University of Washington softball pitchers, may always pale in comparison to two-time national player of the year Danielle Lawrie.
Of course, that does not mean Inglesby isn’t outstanding in her own right.
One day after tossing a three-hit shutout against Harvard, Inglesby limited 23rd-ranked Texas Tech to a pair of singles in three innings of relief to earn the save Saturday in a 2-0 triumph that vaulted Washington into the NCAA Seattle Regional title game.
The 18th-ranked Huskies (38-17), who lost their last seven regular-season games, will play for a trip to next week’s best-of-three Super Regionals at noon today at Husky Softball Field.
Washington, the bottom (16th) official seed in the 64-team NCAA field, will meet Harvard (35-14), which earlier eliminated Maryland (34-22) with a 3-2 victory in eight innings. The Crimson also downed 23rd-ranked Texas Tech, 2-0, in the late game.
If Washington loses today, a rematch would start immediately afterward, since the Huskies are the only team without a loss in the double-elimination tournament.
UW coach Heather Tarr surprised many of the 905 spectators by choosing No. 3 starter Kasey Stanchek to pitch against hard-hitting Texas Tech. Stanchek responded with a no-hitter through four innings to outduel fellow freshman Cara Custer, the former Spanaway Lake High star. Custer fired a three-hitter.
Stanchek (10-2), surprised by the starting assignment, said she was excited.
Asked why she decided to start Stanchek – one of four freshmen in Washington’s starting lineup – Tarr smiled and said, “Why not? I don’t have an answer.”
The senior-laden Red Raiders had no answer for Stanchek or Inglesby. Stanchek lacks Inglesby’s velocity, but she mixed her pitches well in a combined two-hitter.
“We usually do better against the faster pitchers,” Tech slugger Adriana Perez said. “She had some movement on (her pitches) that we couldn’t hit.”
Inglesby led off the second inning with a walk against Custer (25-11) and scored on Shawna Wright’s single to center. Kimberlee Souza opened the third with a single and, after a walk, a sacrifice and a hit batter, scored on a bases-loaded walk to fellow freshman Kylee Lahners.
Texas Tech coach Shanon Hays was ejected after the third inning, apparently for arguing balls and strikes.
Umpires also drew Tech’s ire when interference was not called on Washington shortstop Courtney Gano after Mikey Kenney tripped and fell between second and third base following Perez’s single with none out in the sixth. The Raiders said Gano made illegal contact with Kenney, who was tagged out.