No. 10 Florida State (46-11-1) defeated No. 5 Oklahoma State (48-12) in the wee hours of the night by a 4-2 score to stay alive in the College World Series.
Oklahoma State was designated the home team. Kelly Maxwell took the ball for the Cowgirls. Sydney Sherrill singled and stole second with one out but she was stranded as Maxwell struck out the last two batters to end the inning. Kathryn Sandercock got the start for Florida State. Sandercock started out fast by retiring the side in order.
Maxwell really hit her stride in the second inning striking out the side. Sandercock issued a two out walk to Karli Petty but ended the inning by inducing a ground out from Reagan Wright.
Anna Shelnutt broke the scoring seal in the top of the third by hitting an absolute bomb just inside (or over) the left field foul pole. Shelnutt’s blast was estimated at 270 feet and is thought to be the longest home run hit so far at the College World Series. Shelnutt’s solo shot put the Seminoles up 1-0.
Josie Muffley followed with a walk. Kaley Mudge then doubled to left centerfield. Chyenne Factor had trouble getting the ball back to the infield as the wet ball slipped out of her hand. Muffley scored on the throwing error and Mudge went to third. Sherrill grounded out to first but Mudge scored on the play. Elizabeth Mason singled to centerfield chasing Maxwell. Logan Simunek came in to relieve Maxwell. Mason stole second but was stranded there when Devyn Flaherty grounded out.
Avery Hobson used her speed to beat out a grounder to second to start the bottom of the third. Chelsea Alexander moved Hobson to second with a sacrifice bunt. Kiley Naomi reached when Sandercock made an errant throw to first after fielding a bunt. Hobson scored on the error. Sandercock rebounded to get the final two outs to end the inning but the Cowgirls had cut the lead to 3-1.
In the fourth Kalei Harding reached on a fielding error from Naomi. Harding stole second when the ball got away from catcher Reagan Wright. It was scored a wild pitch but really the ball didn’t get away far it was mostly Harding’s speed and aggressiveness that allowed her to get to second base. However, she was stranded when Simunek got three straight outs to end the inning. Hayley Busby started the inning with a single but Sandercock beared down and earned three straight outs to end the inning.
In the fifth Sherrill worked a one out walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. But she was stranded after a pair of groundouts to end the inning. Hobson started the bottom of the inning with a strikeout. Alexander reached on a throwing error and then stole second. Naomi followed with a walk. Chyenne Factor singled through the right side to score Alexander. However, Naomi was caught trying to get home after Harding had trouble fielding the ball in right field. Naomi was tagged out by Shelnutt. Alysen Febrey ended the inning with a strikeout but OSU had cut the lead to 3-2.
Flaherty started the sixth with a single but was stranded after FSU made three straight outs. Sydney Pennington hit a hot shot down the first base line but was held to a single due to great hustle from Harding in right field. Sandercock stranded her at first with a strikeout and groundout to end the inning.
In the seventh, Muffley was thrown out trying to bunt for a hit. Mudge hit a double down the left field line but it was wrongly called a foul ball. Pennington actually nicked the ball with her glove in fair territory so Mudge should have been at second. However, the umpires missed the call and ruled that it was a foul ball. Undaunted, Mudge reached anyway when she hit a ball to third. Pennington tried to barehand it for some reason and that didn’t work. Carrie Eberle than replaced Simunek in the circle. Sherrill fouled out on a great catch by Alexander. However, Mudge very alertly tagged at first and made it to second on the play. Mudge advanced to third with outstanding baserunning when catcher Reagan Wright dropped a pitch. Wright tried to throw Mudge out at third but her throw went into left field and Mudge scored an insurance run to give the Noles a 4-2 lead. Mason grounded out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the seventh Hobson singled to start the inning. Alexander then struck out swinging after fouling off four pitches. Naomi ended the game by grounding into a double play.
Kathryn Sandercock continued her stellar work in the circle. The Seminole ace went 7 full innings for the huge win. She allowed 5 hits, 2 runs (both unearned) with 2 walks and 8 strikeouts on 111 pitches (79 strikes).
Kaley Mudge was 1 for 4 with an RBI and 2 runs scored. Sydney Sherrill and Anna Shelnutt had the other two RBI for the Noles.
The game was delayed over two hours due to rain. The game ended at 3:18 EST.
This team is ridiculously resilient. Sweeping a double header against two top teams and finishing in the wee hours of the morning is no mean feat. The Seminoles played FSU softball manufacturing runs (thanks Kaley Mudge) and not wasting the great effort from Sandercock in the circle.
Alabama awaits and the Seminoles have to beat the Tide twice to advance. Let’s be honest. This day went about as well as possible for Bama as FSU has had to play twice today and will be lucky to get back to their hotel rooms before 4:00 in the morning. Florida State will likely face Montana Fouts on a day’s rest after she pitched a perfect game in her last appearance.
In other words, the Seminoles have their work cut out for them. However, not many people thought that they could get this far. Let’s play the game (later today) and see what happens.
Florida State will meet No. 3 Alabama tomorrow at 3:30pm. The Seminoles will have to beat the Tide twice to advance to the Championship Series while Alabama only has to win once. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.