The Washington Huskies went into Saturday’s game against the UCLA Bruins looking to even up after dropping a 3-0 decision to the Bruins the day before.
But despite Huskies sophomore pitcher Gabbie Plain’s 13 strikeout performance number one ranked UCLA downed number five Washington 4-2 in extra innings.
Despite the losses Huskies junior shortstop Sis Bates says it’s part of the game and the team just needs to stay the course and keep fighting.
“We both played good games,” said junior Sis Bates. “We both hit the ball hard yesterday and today and the game knows. We just have to keep competing. They played their booties off and so did we.”
On Friday the Bruins took the win after a pitching duel that yielded a total of seven hits. Plain started the game with senior pitcher Taran Alvelo (11-3) taking over in the fifth inning. It was scoreless until the sixth inning when UCLA loaded the bases with two outs and with runners going on the hit senior Taylor Pack smacked a double clearing the bases for what would ultimately be the winning score of 3-0.
Saturday saw the Huskies take the early lead as lead-off hitter junior Sis Bates hit a single, stole second then moved to third off a fielder’s choice. Bates then stole home to give Washington the 1-0 lead.
UCLA took the lead in the top of the third when sophomore Kinsley Washington singled, sophomore Brianna Perez doubled and then junior Bubba Nickles singled both in for the 2-1 lead.
Plain struck out the side in the top of the fourth and Washington tied it up in the bottom of the fourth.
After sophomore Noelle Hee walked, replaced on the base by pinch-runner freshman Megan Vandegrift, the Bruins replaced starting pitcher sophomore Holly Azevedo with star pitcher redshirt-junior Rachel Garcia who got the win the day before.
After recording two outs freshman Ari Quinones singled to put two on and Vandegrift scored when junior Nawai Kaupe singled to tie the game.
The game remained tied despite opportunities, especially for the Huskies who left nine runners on base during the game.
Washington had one of those opportunities in the bottom of the fifth when Bates led off with a single as did the next batter, junior Taryn Atlee to put two on. A strikeout and line out didn’t help and after sophomore Emma Helm walked to load the bases UCLA’s Garcia got the final out on a pop up to end the threat.
The seventh inning saw both teams with opportunities to win. The Bruins were able to advance a runner to second but couldn’t bring her in.
The Huskies once again had their chance started by Bates and Atlee. Bates doubled and Atlee dropped a bunt that third base couldn’t handle. With two on and their core hitters coming up Washington was looking good for a win.
But redshirt-junior Morganne Flores popped up for one out, Hee flied out for the second and Helm struck out to end the threat.
The teams took the 2-2 score into extra innings as they headed into the top of the eighth.
Plain sat down the first two batters on pop-ups. The Bruins redshirt-sophomore Aaliyah Jordan dropped a fly ball into right field that went for a double. Garcia then stepped into the box and blasted a home run just over the left field fence for the 4-2 lead.
Washington couldn’t muster any runs in the bottom of the inning giving Plain her first loss of the season moving her record to 9-1 and the Huskies to 22-5 and 0-2 to start Pac-12 play.
Plain who has talked about her belief in her teammates gets the same as Bates puts into words what Plain means to her.
“Yey, she’s insane,” said Bates. “You know, we just have to try to have her back because she is literally putting everything out on the field and I love her to death. She is so, so good. I don’t think she knows how good she is and I just love playing behind her.”
Washington ended with seven hits with five coming from Bates and Atlee who ended with three and two hits respectively. Bates also added two stolen bases.
UCLA moves to 24-1, 2-0 with Garcia remaining undefeated with a record of 12-0. She also led the Bruins, who ended with seven hits, with two hits including her game-winning home run.
The Huskies head coach Heather Tarr the loss upsets her team but the team isn’t done and will continue to grow.
“They’re competitively upset as anybody that knows how to compete is upset,” said Tarr. “When you know that you’re good enough to win a game and you give a game away. (UCLA) earned it but there’s some good things coming with this team. It’s frustrating but you got to keep the perspective that it’s not that far away.”
Despite the losses Coach Tarr says the things that give her confidence that “good things are coming” are “Gabbie Plain, Sis Bates, Morganne Flores, people hitting 200 that could potentially hit in the 350’s and 400’s that aren’t.”
The teams play the final game of their three-game series at 3pm on Sunday at Husky Stadium on the UW campus.
As far as what does Washington need to do to keep moving forward and find those wins Bates puts it simply.
“Just together, just play together,” said Bates. “Things will fall, hits will fall, defense. We just have to keep playing together, pitch by pitch, side by side.”