Washington players celebrate a home run by Rylee Holtorf (3) at home plate during the second inning of a Women’s College World Series game against Utah on Friday in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Nate Billings)

Washington players celebrate a home run by Rylee Holtorf (3) at home plate during the second inning of a Women’s College World Series game against Utah on Friday in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Nate Billings)

UW opens Women’s College World Series with key win over Utah

After being rained out on Thursday, Washington beats Utah 4-1 to advance into the winner’s bracket.

  • By Scott Hanson The Seattle Times
  • Friday, June 2, 2023 3:00pm
  • SportsHuskies

Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY — Rylee Holtorf had three hits, including a two-run homer, to help No. 7 seed Washington defeat No. 15 Utah 4-1 on Friday in the Women’s College World Series opener for both teams.

Holtorf, who entered with a .263 batting average, went 3 for 3 with three RBIs against the Huskies’ Pac-12 rival. She said she didn’t approach this game any differently than usual.

“Every at-bat is kind of the same mindset,” she said. “The stage is a little bigger, but it’s the same — getting in the box, same routine, all of that. Just competing the best I can.”

The game was moved from Thursday night because of weather, and Washington coach Heather Tarr said the wait was difficult.

“It’s tough to extend it another 15 hours,” she said. “Nobody’s fault or anything like that, but it was just a challenge. I thought we (handled) that well.”

Holtorf hit her fifth homer of the season, a two-run drive in the second, to give the Huskies the 2-1 lead. Her RBI single in the fourth increased Washington’s lead to 3-1, and the Huskies manufactured another run in the sixth.

Washington’s Lindsay Lopez won in relief of starter Ruby Meylan, allowing one hit in 3.2 shutout innings. Meylan gave up just one run and two hits in 3.1 innings.

Lindsay Lopez escaped a bases-loaded jam with two outs in the fourth inning by getting the batter to pop out. She said the key was not worrying about it.

“It gave me a lot of confidence,” she said. “There’s been times with runners on. I really notice in those types of situations, my heart rate is so low. I just breathe through it all. That’s really helped me in my process.”

Mariah Lopez went the distance for Utah. Kendall Lundberg’s RBI double produced the Utes’ only run.

Washington (44-13) advanced to play Florida State (56-9) on Saturday, with the winner of that game moving to the semifinals of the double-elimination bracket. Utah (42-15) was to play in an elimination game Friday night against Oklahoma State (46-15)..

“I think that the pressure’s off, if they felt any pressure today,” Utah coach Amy Hogue said. “It’s off. Now they’re playing for a day off and some more fun together.”

Lundberg believes the Utes are up to the challenge.

“We’re just going to take our fight,” she said. “Honestly, no team is better than us as fighting back. I think that’s all we’ve got to do.”

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