Behind a two-hit, five RBI performance from senior Amirah Milloy the #4 Washington Huskies defeated the #23 Arizona State Sun Devils 8-4 in the first game of their three-game Pac-12 series on Friday, April 12 at Husky Softball Stadium in Seattle.
For Milloy, her offensive output is all about believing in what she and her teammates can do.
“I think I just have so much confidence in my team,” said Milloy. “I don’t feel any pressure so I’m able to go out there and just perform. We got some runners on in my last at bat and so I was thinking, ‘oh, pass the bat’ and it ended up in a home run. I’ve had a lot of confidence in just going up and not feeling a lot of pressure up to bat because my teammates have my back.”
The Huskies, who extended their win streak to 11, got things started quickly after starting pitcher sophomore Gabbie Plain struck out the side in the top of the first and had another three and out including two strikeouts in the bottom of the second.
Washington got the hits started early in the bottom of the second after sophomore Noelle Hee walked and reached second on a fielder’s choice and an error that also allowed junior Kaija Gibson to reach base. After freshman Francesca Torraca was put in to pinch run for Hee, junior Taryn Atlee singled scoring Torraca for the first run of the game.
After a ground out moved the runners to second and third freshman SilentRain Espinoza walked to load the bases for Milloy. Milloy promptly smacked a double giving Washington (33-6, 10-3) two more runs with Atlee and Gibson scoring and leaving Espinoza at third and Milloy on second extolling her teammates to continue the scoring.
Junior Sis Bates took the challenge laying down a sacrifice bunt that allowed Espinoza to squeeze across the plate for another run. After a fly out ended the inning the Huskies found themselves ahead 4-0.
After two scoreless innings the Huskies added another run when freshman Madison Huskey hit a home run over the left field fence to make it 5-0.
The next inning saw Arizona get a run back when junior Maddi Hackbarth hit one deep to start the fifth.
Plain took a deep breath after giving up her first run and came right back to strike out the next two batters and get a ground out to end the inning.
But just as it looked like Plain was going to finish off the Sun Devils easily Arizona showed why any team in the Pac-12 could make a run when they added three in the top of the sixth.
The Sun Devils stitched the runs together after an error, single and walk loaded the bases and then Hackbarth became the thorn in Plain’s side again when she doubled with two outs clearing the bases and leaving Hackbarth cheering at second.
Plain once again gathered herself and got the ground out to stop the scoring and keep Washington a run ahead.
The bottom of the sixth saw the Huskies get another single from Atlee, Huskey walked and after a fly out a passed ball moved Atlee and Huskey into scoring position.
But it didn’t matter what base they were on as Milloy stepped in and powered the ball out of the park into the right center seats and putting Washington ahead for good 8-4.
“We can all contribute in one way shape or form in this team,” said Milloy. “At the end of the game we talked about how the seven, eight and nine hole on our team had eight for nine good at bats so that’s really important to understand that it doesn’t have to come from the top and everyone thinks that it comes from the top but anyone on this team can contribute and I think that’s the real beauty in our team.”
Senior Taran Alvelo came into the top of the seventh and finished off Arizona 1, 2, 3 including two strikeouts.
The Huskies have one of the best combos in Alvelo and Plain. The pair are in the top five in Pac-12 wins, 17 and 14 respectively and strikeouts, 182 and 151. Alvelo leads the conference in both categories and Plain is fifth.
It’s a situation that Head Coach Heather Tarr enjoys and she makes sure her duo know to be ready to go at any time.
“It takes time to get those guys where they need to be and they worked hard to understand that we want complete games out of them but they’re going to have to work together and it’s neat to see them learning to do that,” said Tarr.
The teams take to the field again at 3pm today in the second game of three at Husky Softball Stadium in Seattle.