PUERTO VALLARTA, Mex. – After trailing No. 2 Auburn for six innings, the No. 13 Washington Huskies rallied for ten innings to capture a win on the first night of the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge.
The upset was led by sophomore pitcher Taran Alvelo who pitched ten innings, striking out 13 batters.
On the offensive side, Casey Stangel (3-4), Sis Bates (3-5) and Trysten Melhart (2-4) put in work for the Dawgs but it was Taylor Van Zee’s and Ali Aguilar’s RBI’s that won the night.
Washington began at the plate as the game’s designated away team. Stangel hit a double but was left on base after a pop up that ended the inning. Alevelo entered circle for the Dawgs in the bottom of the first, handing out two strikeouts and allowing one run giving Auburn an early lead.
Bates began her Husky career with a bunt that led three Tigers to scramble at the plate allowing her to get to first. Melhart slapped a single advancing Bates to second, but a strikeout by Kelly Burdick ended the inning.
The top of the third was highlighted by Van Zee showing the crowd of 1,100 what she does best after hitting her 29th double of her career. Unfortunately a fly ball left her on second. Van Zee later made a slick play at third in the bottom of the frame to get a runner out at first, ending the inning.
Alvelo struck out two batters in the fourth inning, holding Auburn to one run, but despite four hits in the inning for the Huskies- no runs were scored.
The Tigers attempted to extend their lead in the fifth inning but were stopped in their tracks after a two fly balls and quick save by Aguilar at shortstop.
Trailing 1-0 in the sixth, Julia DePonte opened up the inning with a smack to the back wall, allowing her to reach second base. On the defensive side, Alvelo tallied her seventh strikeout and a catch by Melhart stopped an Auburn runner third. The final out of the inning came after a diving catch from Aguilar to DePonte at first.
Washington had a late rally in the top of the seventh that started with a single by Burdick. While Stangel was at the plate, Burdick stole second. Stangel was then walked. Van Zee singled, running in Burdick from second base.
After two pop-ups the Huskies’ offensive rally was over but the team wasn’t done fighting yet. DePonte stopped a line drive at first to bench the first batter. Van Zee snagged a pop-up at third and Aguilar sealed the deal at shortstop to make the Tigers go three up and three down.
Continuing into extra innings, DePonte, Thomas, Melhart and Burdick hit for the Huskies. After a pop-up, strikeout and groundout, it was back to defense and it was all Alvelo. The sophomore struck out three batters to bring the teams into the ninth inning in Puerto Vallarta.
Aguilar led off for the Huskies in the ninth, and hit a line drive to the left side that was caught by her Auburn counterpart. With two outs, Stangel hit a ground ball allowing her to reach first. Freshman Morganne Flores was walked and freshman Maggie Gallagher entered as a pinch runner. Bates followed with her third hit of the night with a single. DePonte grounded out, sending the Huskies back to the dugout.
In the bottom of the ninth inning Alvelo struck out her 11th batter, along with inducing two pop flies.
Kirstyn Thomas led off the top of the tenth with a single. Rachel Ogasawara entered as a pinch hitter for the Huskies but was tagged out in a double play with Melhart. Aguilar stepped up to the plate and singled to bring Thomas is. The Huskies gained the lead for the first time Thursday night, 2-1 and were able to hold on after a pop out and two final strikeouts from Alvelo.
The Huskies continue on their campaign in Puerto Vallarta, Mex.,