(6) Florida State (54-12) defeats (7) Georgia (48-13) 7-2 and hours later returned to the field to beat (1) Oregon (53-10) 4-1. By sweeping the doubleheader the Seminoles advance to the semifinals of the Women's College World Series.
Meghan King started in the circle for FSU. She set down the Dawgs in order in the first. Mary Wilson Avant was UGA's pitcher. She allowed a single to Jessie Warren but she benefited from a double play two batters later to get out of the inning unscathed.
UGA got runners on first and second but King snuffed out the threat with a strikeout and a groundout. Anna Shelnutt got to second base after a walk and a sacrifice. After a Cali Harrod groundout Zoe Casas doubled off the wall to score Shelnutt and give the Noles a 1-0 lead.
Kendall Burton started the third with a single for Georgia. Cortni Emanuel sacrificed her to second but Ciara Bryan lined out and Burton was caught off second for the double play. Elizabeth Mason reached on an error for FSU but she was stranded after three straight outs.
UGA had a bit of a threat in the fourth. They got runners on second and third with two outs but King got Jessica Morgan to popout to Cali Harrod at short to end the threat. FSU's half of the inning went a bit better. Shelnutt started things with a four pitch walk. Deja Bush pinch ran for her and stole second. Dani Morgan singled to left to advance Bush to third. Morgan promptly stole second without a throw. Harrod walked to load the bases. Casas singled up the middle scoring Bush and Morgan. Harrod scored the third run of the inning on a sac fly from Mason. Warren lined out to right to end the inning with the Seminoles up 4-0.
UGA bounced back in the fifth. King got the first two batters out but she allowed a walk to Emanuel. Bryan reached on an error by Harrod. Justice Milz tripled to right to score two. King ended the damage with an Alysen Febrey flyout. Florida State answered in the bottom of the inning. Carsyn Gordon struck out for the first out. Sydney Sherrill singled to center. Anna Shelnutt followed with a single and both runners advanced on an errant throw. Dani Morgan singled to right driving in both runners. FSU ended the fifth with a 6-2 lead.
King set the Dawgs down in order in the sixth. FSU loaded the bases after a Mason walk, a Warren single and a Gordon walk. Sherrill had a shallow flyout for the second out. Shelnutt was then able to work an RBI walk to give FSU a 7-2 lead.
In the seventh Burton started things with a single but King beared down and got three straight outs to end the game.
Meghan King (23-6) picked up the win while Mary Wilson Avant (12-5) took the loss. King was just what the doctor ordered after the disappointing UCLA game. She went seven full innings giving up 5 hits, 4 walks, 2 runs (both unearned) and getting 4 strikeouts.
Offensively the Noles gave the junior plenty of support. Zoe Casas was the star going 2-3 with a double and 3 RBI. Dani Morgan was 2-3 with 2 RBI and a run scored. Anna Shelnutt and Elizabeth Mason had the other RBI.
Oregon crossed over from the top half of the bracket to meet FSU in primetime. This was the rubber match between the two teams as the Ducks came to Tallahassee for the Unconquered Invitational in March and split a pair of games with the Noles.
Kylee Hanson started for FSU against Miranda Elish for the Ducks. Both pitchers had 1-2-3 innings in the first. Elish set the Seminoles down in order again in the second. Hanson allowed runners to get to second and third after back to back singles but she shut the door after that with a strikeout and a groundout.
The Noles broke the ice in third. Harrod started things off when she walked and then promptly stole second. After a Morgan Klaevemann strikeout Mason doubled to left center scoring Harrod. Warren followed with a single but Elish stranded them with two straight outs. Hanson continued to cruise setting the Ducks down in order in the bottom of the third. Shelnutt helped out with a sparkling diving catch on a foul ball for the third out.
Shelnutt started FSU off with a single but she was erased when Morgan hit into a double play. Casas then popped out to end the inning. Shannon Rhodes started the inning with a single but Hanson set the Ducks down with two strikeouts and a lineout.
Harrod started the fifth with a single. Klaevemann reached when Oregon mishandled her bunt. Harrod went to third with some aggressive base running. Mason singled Harrod in and advanced Klaevemann to second. That hit chased Elish. Coach Mike White replaced her with Megan Kleist. The runners advanced after Oregon made a throwing error but they were stranded at second and third by Kleist. However, the Noles stretched the lead to 2-0. Hanson kept dealing in the bottom of the inning. She retired the Ducks by sandwiching a lone hit around three groundouts.
In the sixth, Morgan reached on a fielding error after a Shelnutt walk. Casas followed with a long single off the right field wall scoring Bush who pinch ran for Shelnutt. Casas actually would have hit a home run but Duck right fielder Haley Cruse managed to jump up and get her glove on the ball to knock it back into the field of play. She didn't catch it but her defense saved two runs. White made another change putting Maggie Balint in the circle to replace Kleist. Balint did the job getting three straight outs to end the threat but FSU was up 3-0. The Ducks finally broke through in the bottom of the inning. Shannon Rhodes reached on an error from Sherrill. Cruse doubled her in for Oregon's only run.
Florida State got some insurance in the seventh. Sherrill hit an absolute bomb over the right field wall to give the Seminoles a 4-1 lead. DJ Sanders started the inning off with a walk for Oregon. After a Lauren Lindvall flyout, Mary Iakopo worked a walk. Lonni Alameda relieved Hanson with King. She got Jenna Lilley to fly out and she struck out April Utecht with high heat to end the game.
Kylee Hanson (29-6) picked up the clutch win. Miranda Elish (25-2) took the loss and Meghan King got her third save of the year.
Elizabeth Mason was 2-3 with 2 RBI. Sydney Sherrill had an RBI and a run scored with her home run. Zoe Casas recorded the other RBI for FSU.
We saw the real Kylee Hanson tonight and that is great news for FSU going forward. She showed her nerves against UCLA but she looks like she has her sealegs now and she will probably be her normal self in the semifinals.
Meghan King simply blew Oregon away with heat. It was pretty simple. She has pitched great since she arrived in OKC.
FSU didn't play perfect as they had a couple of errors but Oregon had four and that doesn't count little mistakes like not covering third base, dropping sacrifice bunts, dropping foul balls, etc. All of these teams are relatively evenly matched talent-wise so the team that does the best job avoiding mistakes will likely win. Tonight (and earlier today) that team was FSU and they earned two wins.
FSU lost to UCLA on Thursday because the pitching faltered and the defense wasn't good enough. Today the pitching was superb and the defense was relatively solid - they were able to avoid crippling errors. It will be a very tall order but if the Noles are able to play on Sunday like they did on Saturday they have a real shot to take two from UCLA and move on to the first championship series appearance in school history.
FSU will get another shot at the (3) UCLA Bruins on Sunday. If FSU wins the Noles will have to beat UCLA in another game to advance. If the Seminoles lose either game they will be eliminated. The game will start at approximately 3:30pm (ESPN).