The Nevada softball team picked up one of the best wins in program history Friday afternoon after besting No. 2-ranked Washington at the Dixie State Classic in St. George, Utah.
The Wolf Pack scored an 8-5 victory, tallying all of its runs in its final three innings while riding the pitching of three different hurlers. It marks the second-highest-ranked team Nevada softball has ever beaten behind only its 1-0 win over No. 1 Arizona in 2008.
Washington, which entered the game at 6-0, opened the scoring with a pair of solo homers in the third inning to take a 2-0 lead. Nevada (5-1) responded with the next six runs, including a two-run double by Haley Burda in the fourth inning and a four-run fifth frame. In that inning, Kenzi Goins, Ashley Salausa and Burda all had RBI singles before a sac fly by Sam Oliver capped the scoring.
Washington scratched within one run after a pair of run-scoring doubles to pull within 6-5 in the sixth inning before Nevada tacked on two runs in the bottom of the frame. Lauren Gutierrez singled to center to plate one run while Sierra Mello had a run-scoring groundout.
Kendall Fritz pitched a scoreless seventh inning to seal the win for Nevada. Julia Jensen (1-0) got the win with two scoreless innings of relief sandwiched between starter Blake Craft, who gave up two runs in three innings, and Fritz, who allowed three runs in two innings.
Washington did not start its first-team All-American, Gabbie Plain, against Nevada, and the Wolf Pack took advantage, tagging starter Kelley Lynch for four runs over four innings. Nevada had four hits and squeezed out five walks against Lynch. Plain did pitch the sixth inning, allowing two runs. Nevada had a 9-7 overall edge in hits, with both teams playing a clean defensive game with no errors.
Burda went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and Goins (2-of-3) and Gutierrez (2-of-3) both had multi-hit games. Sadaria McAlister had three walks and scored a pair of runs for Nevada, which plays Dixie State later Friday. Nevada plays BYU and Utah State on Saturday and finishes the tournament Sunday against Montana.
Washington entered the game second in the USA Today/NFCA softball rankings and third in the ESPN.com/USA Softball rankings. The Huskies entered the game with a 2-0 lead in the all-time series against Nevada, both wins coming in 2005 (a 22-1 win and 14-0 win).