By Adam Jude
Special to The Tuscaloosa News
SEATLLE — It took awhile, but Washington finally broke through against Alabama in the postseason.
Washington’s Sis Bates hit a two-run single to tie the score in the bottom of the seventh inning, and Taylor Van Zee came through with a walk-off single off Alexis Osorio in the ninth inning to give the fifth-seeded Huskies a dramatic 3-2 comeback victory over the 12th-seeded Crimson Tide in the first game of the Seattle Super Regional late Friday.
Osorio had shut down the Huskies for six innings, allowing just three hits and striking out eight as Alabama built a 2-0 lead entering the seventh.
Osorio then allowed a leadoff walk in the seventh and then a one-out double to Van Zee, despite a diving attempt from Elissa Brown in right-center field. Bates then drove them both in with a solid single up the middle.
Osorio escaped further damage when she got Emma Helm with a check-swing strike three to strand two runners, sending the game into extra innings.
In the ninth inning, Washington’s Kelly Burdick reached on a hard grounder that slipped past third baseman Claire Jenkins for an error. Burdick stole second and slid home on Van Zee’s single ahead of the throw from Alabama’s Brown. Washington teammates mobbed Van Zee near first base in celebration.
Alabama (36-19) was looking to extend its recent run of success against Washington (48-8) in the postseason. In both 2015 and 2016, the Crimson Tide eliminated the Huskies, and Alabama’s late-season surge gave hope it could do it again this weekend.
Alabama had taken an early 2-0 lead when Sydney Booker, a light-hitting senior shortstop, ripped a double off Washington starter Gabbie Plain just inside the third-base line on an 0-2 count with two outs in the second inning. That easily scored Reagan Dykes from third and Merris Schroder from second.
That was Alabama’s only hit off Plain until the seventh inning. Plain, a freshman from Australia, entered the Super Regional ranked No. 10 in the NCAA with a 1.03 earned-run average. Plain (20-4) struck out nine in nine innings.