No. 10 Florida State (49-11-1) defeated No. 1 Oklahoma (54-4) by an 8-4 score tonight in the College World Series Championship Series in Oklahoma City, OK.
Florida State was designated as the visiting team for this game. Nicole May started in the circle for Oklahoma. Kaley Mudge continued her red hot hitting with a single up the middle. Sydney Sherrill hit a grounder to short but the flip from Grace Lyons got away from Tiare Jennings and both runners were safe. Elizabeth Mason hit a liner to left field and Mackenzie Donihoo made a great play in left field to snag the ball. She then threw out Mudge at second who was caught leaning and couldn’t get back to the base in time. Dani Morgan grounded out to end the inning. Danielle Watson took the ball for Florida State. Watson set the Sooners down in order in the bottom of the first.
May retired the Seminoles in order in the top of the second. Nicole Mendes reached base in the bottom of the second when Devyn Flaherty had trouble fielding a grounder. Mendes then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Grace Lyons then flied out to Kalei Harding in right field. Mendes tried to tag up and move to third. Harding gunned her down at third with an absolute hose of a throw to complete the double play.
Donihoo then grounded out to end the inning.
Anna Shelnutt started the third with a nine pitch walk. Harding came up and slammed a 2-0 pitch over the left field wall to give the Noles a 2-0 lead.
Mudge tried to bunt for a hit and was thrown out by half a step. Sydney Sherrill worked a walk but May beared down and got the last two outs to end the inning, In the bottom of the third Watson kept cruising setting down OU 1-2-3.
The fourth inning was good to FSU. Cassidy Davis beat out a one out single to second base. Josie Muffley walked. Carson Saabye came in to pinch run for Davis. Saabye advanced to third on a throwing error by Sooner catcher Kinzie Hansen. After an Anna Shelnutt strikeout, Harding delivered the timely hit stroking a two run double to right centerfield scoring Saabye and Muffley.
But the Noles weren’t done in this inning. Mudge then singled up the middle advancing Harding to third. After Mudge stole second, Sherrill singled to right scoring Harding and Mudge. Hansen actually tagged Mudge out but the OU catcher was called for obstruction and Mudge was awarded the base which in this case was home plate so the Seminoles had another run.
Sherrill advanced to second on the throw home. Mason then singled through the left side scoring Sherrill.
Mason advanced to second on the throw home. That hit chased May and she was replaced by Olivia Rains in the circle. Rains hit Dani Morgan with a pitch. Flaherty then singled through the right side. Mason was thrown out trying to score from second to end the inning. However, FSU had taken a 7-0 lead courtesy of the five runs scored in the fourth inning.
Watson continued her excellent pitching to start the fourth setting down the first two batters. However, Hansen came up and launched a shot over the centerfield wall to break the ice for the Sooners. Mendes followed and hit the first pitch she saw over the left field wall to cut the lead to 7-2. Grace Lyons popped up for the third out.
Davis started the fifth in fine fashion with a double. However, she was stranded as Rains set the Seminoles down in order after the hit. In the bottom half of the inning, Jayda Coleman delivered a one out single up the middle for OU. Watson then struck out Jana Johns. Lynnsie Elam then hit an infield single but Watson got out of the jam after Tiare Jennings lined out to end the inning.
Mudge started off the sixth inning with a single (because of course she did). She then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Sherrill then worked a walk. Mudge and Sherrill then executed a perfect double steal to get to second and third with no outs. However, Rains stranded them there as she induced the Noles into three straight unproductive outs. Jocelyn Alo started the sixth with an infield hit for the Sooners. Rylie Boone pinch ran for Alo and promptly went to second on a wild pitch. Hansen lined out to Mason on a hot shot to first. Mendes was hit by a pitch and the Sooners had runners on first and second with one out. Mendes and Boone advanced to second and third courtesy of another wild pitch. After a Grace Lyons strikeout, Donihoo came up with the clutch single to right scoring two runs. Head coach Lonni Alameda visited the circle and inserted Kathryn Sandercock into the game. Coleman reached when her grounder to first went through Mason’s legs. However, Grace Green ended the threat with a ground out. But the Sooners had chopped the lead to 7-4.
If all that wasn’t enough the seventh inning happened. Muffley worked a one out walk. Shelnutt followed with a walk of her own. Harding then singled to left field. Muffley rounded third but was held up at the last minute. Shelnutt thought Muffley was going to continue home so she went for third. When Muffley retreated back Shelnutt was hung up between second and third. Shelnutt tried to get back to second but was thrown out. Muffley tried to go home on the throw to second. She was tagged out (actually she was basically tackled by the catcher) but the catcher was called for the second obstruction of the game and Muffley was awarded home plate. Therefore, FSU now had an 8-4 lead.
Muffley was shaken up on the play and stayed down for several minutes as the training staff tended to her. She would eventually leave the field under her own power. Mudge ended the inning with a flyout.
Muffley was not cleared to re-enter the game after the collision at home plate. The Noles were forced to make several changes. Harding went to third from right field. Sherrill went to second from third and Flaherty went to short from second. Kiersten Landers replaced Harding in right field.
Jennings hit a one out single up the middle for Oklahoma. Alo followed with a double to the centerfield wall. Morgan fielded it off the wall and made a perfect throw to Sherrill who was the cutoff woman in shallow centerfield. Sherrill has a bazooka for an arm and she showed it off delivering a perfect strike to Shelnutt at the plate who delivered the tag on Jennings without obstructing the plate. It was just a great display of defensive teamwork from Florida State.
Hansen ended the game with a pop up to second base. The Seminoles walked away with a huge upset victory and are now one win away from their second World Series title in program history.
Danielle Watson pitched 5.2 impressive innings against the best lineup in college softball. She gave up 6 hits, 4 runs (all earned) with no walks and 5 strikeouts to earn the win. Kathryn Sandercock came in relief and pitched 1.1 innings giving up 2 hits and no runs with no walks or strikeouts.
Kaley Mudge continued her hot streak with a 3 for 5 performance. Kalei Harding was 3 for 4 with 4 RBI and 2 runs scored. The other RBI came from Elizabeth Mason and Sydney Sherrill who had a pair.
I’m almost out of adjectives for this team. They have several players who are capable of stepping up at any time. They are the opposite of scared of the moment. They jumped on the number one team in the nation who was basically playing a home game and they didn’t look back. Of course the Sooners didn’t quit and they came back but the Noles weren’t fazed and never got rattled. It was a mature performance from a team that just may be hitting their stride at the best possible moment.
It goes without saying that it won’t be easy to close out OU. They are dripping with talent in that clubhouse and they are going to be highly motivated to get back into the series. It will be hard to hold that offense down but the Seminoles just may have the personnel to get it done. We will find out tomorrow night.
Florida State will meet Oklahoma in the second game of the Championship Series of the College World Series on Wednesday night at 7pm. If FSU wins they will be national champions. If OU wins the series will go to a third game which will be played Thursday afternoon. All games of the Championship Series will be broadcast on ESPN.