OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma (WCTV) – The Florida State Seminoles are within one win of the program’s second Women’s College World Series title after beating Oklahoma in the Championship Series opener, 8-4, Tuesday night in Oklahoma City.
Since Saturday’s three-run homerun against Arizona by Dani Morgan late in the sixth inning, the Seminoles have outscored their opponents 26-12.
For the fourth game in a row, the Seminoles opened the scoring, this time late in the third inning thanks to a two-run homerun from nine-point hitter Kalei Harding, tackling and Anna Shelnutt, who opened the frame with a market.
The Seminoles opened the game in the next set, scoring five points against Sooner starter Nicole May (L, 15-2).
The rally started with a single from the infield from Cassidy Davis and Josie Muffley, followed by a walk to put two for FSU.
After Shelnutt’s strikeout for the second outing of the set, Harding came out on top again, scoring a brace in right field to tackle Davis and Muffley and double the FSU’s lead to 4-0.
Kaley Mudge kept the line moving with an infield single to put the runners in the corners, setting the stage for Sydney Sherrill’s two-run single to give the Seminoles a 6-0 lead.
Sherrill came in to score on a shot produced to Elizabeth Mason’s left field to make it 7-0.
FSU sent 10 batters home in the start of the fourth, scoring five runs on six hits and knocking May out of the game.
Oklahoma responded in the bottom half of the inning, hitting back-to-back home runs with two strikeouts from Kenzie Hansen and Nicole Mendes to reduce the FSU’s lead to 7-2.
OU had another pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth, on a two-run single from Mackenzie Donihoo to score Jocelyn Alo and Mendes, who established the table with an infield single and stroke-to-stroke, respectively, to bring the Earliest in the three at 7-4.
FSU recorded an insurance run early in the seventh inning on a wild streak from Kalei Harding’s stick.
Harding hit a single – his third hit of the game – in left field, but Josie Muffley rounded the third too wide and retreated into the sack. Shelnutt was halfway through third and started to pull out at second, but she was hit while trying to come back.
On the pitch on the second, Muffley escaped the house and was hit at home plate in a collision with wide receiver Lynnsie Elam, but an obstruction was flagged and a point awarded to the Noles, giving them an 8-4 lead.
The Sooners tried to rally late in the seventh, securing a single with a withdrawal from Tiare Jennings to set the table for an Alo brace in right center field, but a fantastic throw from Kiersten Landers to Sherrill at Shelnutt cut Jennings at the plate for the second out of the inning, making it a four-point ball game.
Kathryn Sandercock (S, 2) induced a pop-up at Sherrill at second base to end the game.
The FSU got a good start from Danielle Watson (W, 12-1) who dispersed six hits in 5.2 innings, allowing four runs and striking out five. She did not issue a walk.
Sandercock completed the last 1.1 innings of work for the Noles, not allowing a run and allowing only two hits.
Three Seminoles have recorded multi-hit matches: Kaley Mudge, who is tied in the sixth single in WCWS history with single-hitting count (13), Cassidy Davis and Kalei Harding, who also finished the day with four RBIs and two RBIs. marked, going 3-by-4 to the plate overall.
Only one victory separates the Noles from their second title. FSU and OU will face off again on Wednesday evening, with a first pitch at 7 p.m.
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