Player of the Year Lawrie Leads Washington Into Women's CWS Final

Seattle SportsnetCorrespondent IJune 1, 2009

The University of Washington softball team will play for an NCAA National Championship thanks to the 2009 Collegiate Softball Player of the Year, who also doubles as their staff ace.
That would be right-handed pitcher Danielle Lawrie, who helped the Huskies knock off the University of Georgia 9-3 last night to advance to the final round of the Women’s College World Series.

The semifinal victory came on the heels of a 9-8 defeat earlier in the day at the hands of those same Georgia Bulldogs.

Lawrie’s heroics weren’t just relegated to the pitcher’s circle yesterday, either. She did her part to ignite the offense with a grand slam home run in the first inning as well. The four runs would be all the Huskies would need en route to the 9-3 win.

In the day’s earlier game, the Huskies jumped out to an early 3-0 lead thanks to freshman first baseman Niki Williams. The team’s No. 9 hitter in the order, Williams blasted a three-run homer in the second inning to put the Dawgs in front—at least initially.

Georgia rallied back in the middle innings with eight runs and was leading 8-4 when Williams stepped to the plate once again. She delivered another clutch home run—this time with the bases full of Huskies.

The grand slam gave her a total of seven RBI for the game, which set a new WCWS record.

The 8-8 tie couldn’t be settled in seven innings (regulation for a college softball game), and lasted until a ninth-inning, bases-loaded walk by Lawrie forced in the winning run for Georgia. The 9-8 final score was the highest-scoring game in WCWS history.

In the nightcap, the victory earned by Lawrie was her 40th of the season (Erik Bedard, meet Danielle Lawrie) and ensured her the opportunity to win two more ballgames this year.

Washington will now face Florida—a team they beat 1-0 earlier this year, behind a two-hit shutout from Lawrie—in the best-of-three championship series that begins tonight at 5:00 PM PDT. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD.

The Huskies have appeared in the championship series on two previous occasions—once in 1996 versus Pac-10 rival Arizona and again in 1999 against another conference foe in UCLA. Washington has never won a softball National Championship.