Florida State beats Alabama to advance to WCWS championship series

Sports

Alabama’s Taylor Clark (9) slides safely behind Florida State catcher Anna Shelnutt (13) to score in the third inning of an NCAA Women’s College World Series softball game Monday, June 7, 2021, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – The Sooners and Seminoles also know a little something about coming up big in tense situations.

Oklahoma and Florida State will meet in the best-of-three championship series starting Tuesday. The top-seeded Sooners (54-3) are going for their fifth national title. The 10th-seeded Seminoles (48-11-1) won their only World Series championship in 2018.

Each school followed a similar path to the final. They lost their openers at the Women’s College World Series, then reeled off four straight wins in elimination games.

Mudge went 5 for 5 to help Florida State rough up Alabama’s Montana Fouts. The star right-hander threw a perfect game against UCLA on Friday, but she struggled against the Seminoles.

Elizabeth Mason connected for a three-run homer in the first, and Mudge’s single knocked in Josie Muffley in the second. Kalei Harding tacked on a two-run single in the third, making it 6-0 and chasing Fouts.

Fouts allowed one run in her first two World Series games and had 30 strikeouts without allowing a walk. Mason said patience was the key to solving her.

“Just trying to get the barrel to the ball, see it down,” Mason said. “She does spot a couple down in the zone. So just doing our best to lay off the rise ball, and when she does miss, to make sure we’re ready for that pitch.”

Third-seeded Alabama (52-9) closed to 8-5 with three runs in the fifth, including Bailey Hemphill’s two-run homer. But the Seminoles held on.

Hemphill was proud of the rally.

“It could have been a lot worse than 8-0,” she said. “We’re resilient and gritty. I think we showed that. It was a challenge coming back. I wish we could have came back and won it.”

Mudge entered the night with a .280 batting average.

“It’s amazing to see Mudge’s performance tonight,” Mason said. “She’s been one person on our team who has worked tirelessly day in and day out. She’s had it in her from Day One.”

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