Victoria Hayward hit a home run. Kylee Lahners prevented one.
That’s why the Washington Huskies softball team advanced to the Women’s College World Series for the 11th time with a 1-0 win over Missouri in Columbia, Mo., on Friday.
The 11th-seeded Huskies (43-15) swept the best-of-three series from the No. 6 Tigers (38-14). The WCWS starts Thursday in Oklahoma City.
Hayward, a junior right fielder, led off the bottom of the first inning by hitting a 2-0 pitch from Chelsea Thomas, Missouri’s all-time leader in wins, for a home run. Hayward got both of UW’s hits off Thomas.
“I was just looking for a hard pitch to slug, and I got the ball I was looking for,” Hayward said.
With two outs in the top of the first and a runner on first, Missouri’s Mackenzie Sykes hit a pitch to left-center field that Lahners, normally an infielder, reached over the fence to catch and rob Sykes of a two-run home run. Pitcher Bryana Walker described Lahners’ catch as “maybe the single greatest moment of my life. It was really exciting. I’m really proud of Kylee.”
Missouri threatened in the top of the sixth with two runners on and no outs, but UW coach Heather Tarr brought in Kaitlin Inglesby to replace Walker, and Inglesby got the next three batters to ground out.