(6) Florida State (56-12) sweeps (3) UCLA (58-7) 3-1 in the first game and 12-6 in the second game to advance to the Championship Series. This marks FSU's first appearance in the Women's College World Series finals. The Seminoles are also the first ACC team to make the finals. The Seminoles are 6-0 in post season elimination games this year.
Florida State was designated as the home team for this game. Meghan King was in the circle for the Noles against Rachel Garcia for the Bruins.
King allowed a two out single to Aaliyah Jordan but stranded her at first to end the inning. Garcia allowed a one out Carsyn Gordon single to left and then walked Sydney Sherrill to give FSU first and second with one out. Garcia then got two straight strikeouts to end the threat.
In the second King got two quick outs but then walked Taylor Pack and then gave up a single to Brianna Tautalafua. She bounced back with a strikeout of Zoe Shaw to end the inning. Garcia got two quick outs to start the inning but then gave up a double to Morgan Klaevemann. Unfortunately she was stranded when Elizabeth Mason grounded out.
Kylee Perez laid down a nice bunt for a base hit to start the third. Her sister Briana Perez reached on an error by Jessie Warren at third. Kylee moved to third on the over throw. Jordan grounded out to short on a nice play by Cali Harrod. Garcia delivered an RBI single to left to score Kylee Perez. Bubba Nickles reached on a fielder's choice when Warren made a great play to throw out Briana Perez at home. King ended the inning on a Madeline Jelenicki groundout. Garcia got out of the third unscathed by sandwiching a Sydney Sherrill single between three Seminole outs.
King set the Bruins down 1-2-3 with a ground out and two strikeouts. Dani Morgan started things by beating out a bunt single. Zoe Casas followed with a single to center and she got to second on the throw. After that Garcia struck out the side to get out of the jam with no damage.
King kept cruising by sandwiching a two out single by Jordan around three other Bruin outs. Warren started the inning for FSU with a single but Garcia got three straight outs to end the inning.
Nickles continued her hot hitting for UCLA with a single through the right side. After a Jelenicki strikeout Taylor Pack grounded into a double play turned by Sherrill at second to end the inning. In the bottom half of the sixth FSU made its move. Morgan started it by blasting the first pitch she saw deep to centerfield. Bubba Nickles tracked it down and put her glove up over the wall and the ball landed in it to rob Morgan of a game tying home run. Casas followed with a single through the right side. Cali Harrod reached after getting hit by a pitch. Cassidy Davis grounded out advancing the runners to second and third. Then came arguably the biggest at bat in modern day Florida State softball history. Elizabeth Mason cranked a 1-2 pitch over the centerfield wall to give the Seminoles a 3-1 lead and ultimately keep the season alive.
In the seventh, King got Tautalafua to strike out to start things. Jelly Felix got a pinch hit single for UCLA. After a Kylee Perez strikeout her sister Briana walked but Jordan fouled out to Gordon at first to end the game.
Meghan King (24-6) has been absolutely huge all postseason and she was great again today. The redshirt junior earned the win pitching 7 full innings allowing 7 hits, one unearned run with 2 walks and 10 strikeouts. Rachel Garcia (29-4) took the loss for the Bruins. This was the first time all year that UCLA lost after leading at any point in the game (56-1).
Elizabeth Mason was the MVP for the Noles. The redshirt freshman went 1-3 with a homerun, a run scored and 3 RBI. Zoe Casas was 2-3 and Morgan Klaevemann was 1-2 with a double.
The same two teams took the field again in the rubber match of their series. UCLA was the home team for this game. Garcia was in the circle again for the Bruins this time matched against Kylee Hanson for Florida State.
Warren started the game off with a single right up the middle that just missed hitting Garcia. After two outs Anna Shelnutt singled to right but the inning ended with a Dani Morgan strikeout. Hanson started out well for FSU by sandwiching a Jordan single between three UCLA outs.
In the second coach Kelly Inouye-Perez removed Garcia and replaced her with Selina Ta’amilo in the circle. Garcia remained in the game officially as the designated player. FSU immediately took advantage. After a Casas ground out, Harrod homered over the left field wall. Klaevemann followed with a hit to center field that she turned into a double with her speed. Inouye-Perez responded by putting Garcia back in the circle. Mason reached second on an error by Brianna Tautalafua at third. Klaevemann scored on the play. Warren came up and blasted a bomb over the right-centerfield wall driving in Mason. Inouye-Perez made another change putting Holly Azevedo in the circle replacing Garcia. Azevedo got two groundouts to end the inning but the Noles had taken a 4-0 lead.
Nickles doubled to right center to start things for the Bruins. Tautalafua grounded out to second to advance Nickles to third. After a Jelenicki pop out, Pack homered over the left field wall to cut the lead to 4-2.
In the third Morgan delivered a one out double but was stranded at second. Hanson got UCLA in order to end the inning.
Klaevemann started the fourth by getting thrown out on a bunt attempt. Mason followed with a strikeout but FSU wasn't done. Warren singled to center. After a Gordon walk, Sherrill jacked a no-doubter over the right-centerfield wall to give the Noles a 7-2 lead. However, UCLA didn’t lie down. Nickles hit a one out single through the right side. Tautalafua doubled to right center and the Bruins had runners on second and third. After a Jelenicki flyout Pack hit a two run single to cut FSU's lead to 7-4.
In the fifth Morgan reached on an error by Brianna Tautalafua at third. She promptly stole second. Casas doubled down the first base line scoring Morgan. After a Harrod flyout Klaevemann reached on a squeeze play scoring Rosario who was pinch running for Casas. Klaevemann took second because UCLA failed to cover the base. After a Mason strikeout the Bruins intentionally walked Warren with first base open. Carsyn Gordon made that strategy backfire when she homered over the left field wall to give the Noles a 12-4 lead.
After a Kylee Perez ground out Briana Perez homered over the right field wall. Jordan followed with a single up the middle. Coach Lonni Alameda replaced Hanson with Cassidy Davis in the circle. Garcia grounded into a double play started by Davis who fielded her position very well on the play.
In the sixth Inouye-Perez put Garcia back in the circle. Garcia responded by getting the Noles in order in the inning. Nickles continued her scorching hitting by depositing a solo shot over the left field wall to cut the lead to 12-6. The Bruins got two more singles to have runners on first and second with one out but the Nole defense came through again when Malia Quarles hit into a double play.
FSU went down in order in the seventh. Alameda inserted King and she got the Bruins in order with two flyouts and a strikeout to send FSU to the championship series.
Kylee Hanson (30-6) got the much needed win for the Seminoles. Selina Ta’amilo (10-3) took the loss for the Bruins. Hanson went 4 1⁄3 innings giving up 8 hits and 5 runs with no walks and 2 strikeouts. Cassidy Davis went 1 2⁄3 innings with 3 hits and one run with no walks or strikeouts. Meghan King closed the game for one inning giving up no hits or walks with one strikeout.
Jessie Warren was 3-3 with a homer, 3 runs, 2 RBI and a walk. Carsyn Gordon was 1-3 with a homer, 2 runs, 3 RBI and a walk. Sydney Sherrill was 1-4 with a homer, 1 run, 3 RBI. Zoe Casas, Morgan Klaevemann and Cali Harrod had the other RBI for the Noles.
Florida State has been overlooked nationally all season. This is what happens when you don't play in the SEC or PAC 12 and aren't the defending champs (Oklahoma). However, the Seminoles are proving that they do indeed have the talent to play with and beat the best teams in the nation.
FSU took advantage of UCLA's biggest weakness which is pitching depth. The Bruins really needed to win game one because they just don't have the depth to slow down a team as good as FSU when Garcia goes out of the game. To Florida State's credit they were able to hit even Garcia when she was in the game.
The defense came up huge in today. The Noles only had one error in 14 innings played today. It will be very important to continue that against for Washington because FSU can't afford to have too many mistakes against the Huskies.
Morgan Klaevemann and Carsyn Gordon appeared to break out of their slumps today. Both players had hits in both games. Their resurgence means that there will be very few soft spots in FSU's lineup for Washington to exploit.
Florida State now moves on to the championship series against (5) Washington. It will be the best 2 out of 3 for the championship. Washington will be the home team for game one. The game will start at 7pm (ESPN) from Oklahoma City.