OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (seminoles.com) — The No. 10-nationally seeded Florida State Softball team fell to top-seeded Oklahoma, 5-1, in the pivotal winner-takes-all third game of the Women’s College World Series on Thursday afternoon at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.
The loss ends the careers of four WCWS-winning champions from 2018 in seniors Cassidy Davis, Anna Shelnutt, Dani Morgan and Elizabeth Mason. The four veterans guided the Seminoles to unprecedented success, including two appearances in the championship series, along with Sydney Sherrill who is eligible to return.
The high-octane Oklahoma (56-4) bats finally struck early in the contest, this time making the Seminoles (49-13-1) play from behind after FSU got off to strong starts in game one and two. The Sooners scored in each of their first three innings, including a three-run third that made the comeback that much tougher for the Seminoles.
While no strangers to visiting Oklahoma City under the guidance of head coach Lonni Alameda, the Seminoles’ emphasis on manufacturing runs, timely hits, sound base-running and using a large dispersal of pitchers made them a quality watch in OKC. They nearly followed the same script from their last trip to the WCWS in 2018, falling in its opening-round game and overcoming several elimination contests.
Oklahoma’s Giselle Juarez (23-1) earned the WCWS-clinching victory in the circle, throwing a complete-game two-hitter. FSU’s Danielle Watson (12-2), who had the impressive Game 1 win, took the loss.
Seminole ace Kathryn Sandercock kept Oklahoma in check in relief, allowing just one hit in 3.1 innings pitched. She retired 10 of her 11 batters faced.
Kaley Mudge’s leadoff double to centerfield in the top of the first marked her record-setting 14th base hit in the Women’s College World Series. The Noles were unable to capitalize, however, as two shallow pop-ups and a strikeout ended their at-bat.
Mudge would finish 1-of-3 while Sherrill had FSU’s other base hit and also went 1-of-3 with a double.
The Sooners and their high-powered offense responded in the bottom half when Jocelyn Alo hit a 2-2 offering over the left wall for a solo home run and a 1-0 OU lead. In the second inning, they followed with another solo shot as Jayda Coleman hit an opposite field blast to create a 2-0 advantage for the Sooners.
The Noles got their first run across the plate on a two-out sun-ball double by Sherril in the third. She skied a pop-up that second baseman Tiare Jennings lost in the air, allowing Kalei Harding to score from second base to cut the FSU deficit to 2-1.
OU tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the third thanks to a wild pitch by FSU and a two-run double by Coleman to make it 5-1 Sooners. Sandercock entered the game with two outs in that third inning and induced a groundout, then followed with FSU’s first 1-2-3 defensive inning in the fourth.
FSU’s tremendous run came to an end in the top of the seventh, although Shellnutt finished her Seminole career with a walk before an FSU pop-up ended the game.
Mudge and Sandercock were named to the 12-member WCWS All-Tournament Team. OU’s Juarez collected the tournament’s most outstanding player.