LIVE UPDATES: Seminoles 0 - Bruins 4 (Final)
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (WCTV) - For the third time in the last five NCAA Tournaments, Florida State is one of the last eight softball teams standing as the Seminoles begin their run to a second-ever program title against the reigning champion UCLA Bruins.
It’s a matchup featuring the two most recent champions of the Women’s College World Series, with UCLA taking the 2019 title and FSU winning the championship in 2018.
Tonight marks the eighth WCWS meeting between the two programs, with FSU leading the series in the WCWS all-time, 4-3, including winning back-to-back games over the Bruins in 2018 (3-1, 12-6). UCLA has the all-time series edge, 10-8.
The Seminoles have won three of the last four OKC meetings against the Bruins, dating back to the 2016 season.
UCLA dropped the first game of the Los Angeles Super Regional to Virginia Tech but proceeded to shut them out and allow just three hits in the final two games to complete the comeback and return to OKC in search of defending their now 700-day old crown.
Tonight’s game has all the makings of a strength vs. strength affair, as both of these teams have gotten to this point, primarily, through their pitching staffs: FSU is led by Kathryn Sandercock (24-2, 1.09), who one-hit the Tigers in Game 1 of the Baton Rouge Super, while the Bruins have a one-two punch of Megan Faraimo (19-3, 1.10) and Rachel Garcia (17-1, 0.95), who have combined to throw all but 77.1 innings for the Bruins this season and have combined to allow just 37 earned runs over 250 combined innings of work.
The Bruins also boast a powerful lineup: Four players (Delanie Wisz , Briana Perez, Maya Brady , Rachel Garcia ) have hit double-digit home runs this year and the UCLA lineup as a whole has combined to slash .320/.409/.561.
For more on UCLA and what to expect from them tonight (and all weekend, if things go well for either or both of these squads), be sure you check out the Q&A I did with The Mighty Bruin’s Joe Piechowski to further break things down from the Bruin Blue side of this matchup.
Below will be a running a live blog of tonight’s game. We’ll have score updates, analysis, stray observations and thoughts. For up-to-the-minute updates and analysis, be sure you’re following myself and WCTV Sports on Twitter.
FINAL: UCLA 4 - FLORIDA STATE 0
FSU falls in their first game of the 2021 Women’s College World Series, 4-0. A complete game for UCLA’s ace, Rachel Garcia.
Tonight’s gamer is here. A ton of early-game opportunities for the Seminoles squandered and they’ll now have to face off against Arizona Saturday in a win-or-go-home game.
But, the fun doesn’t stop tonight! We’ll be back tomorrow afternoon for game one of the Oxford Regional. See you then!
End of 6: 4-0, UCLA
Far, far from ideal for Florida State as the Bruins tack on three more runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Aaliyah Jordan singled with one out into left-centerfield and scored on a Delaine Wisz two-out RBI double, making it 2-0.
Kathryn Sandercock was taken out for Danielle Watson, who surrendered a two-run home run on the second pitch she threw, giving the Bruins a 4-0 lead.
It’s the bottom third of the order - Dani Morgan, Ana Shelnutt, Josie Muffley - to try and keep this game alive for the Seminoles.
Middle 6: 1-0, UCLA
Elizabeth Mason worked a one-out single into left field but is left stranded at second base on Garcia’s 10th strike out, as she gets Davis and Flaherty to chase to end the inning.
One last chance at the plate for FSU but, first thing’s first, Sandercock has to keep this a one-run ball game.
End of 5: 1-0, UCLA
That was a tough inning for Devyn Flaherty defensively at second base for FSU.
Kinsley Washington chopped a ball to her deep at second base, she made a great recovery to keep the ball in the infield but rushed the throw to Elizabeth Mason at first - which was late anyway - and gets away from Mason, allowing Washington to move to second.
Infield single, error on the throw.
After an infield pop up from Julie Rodriguez, pinch-hitting for Alyssa Garcia, Anna Vines chopped another ball to deep second, this one at the second base bag, and the throw is again late at first. Washington never slowed at third base, and the throw home from Mason was wide.
1-0, Bruins, after five.
Middle 5: 0-0
For the first time tonight, the Seminoles are retired in order.
End of 4: 0-0
Sandercock issues her first free-pass of the evening - a two-out walk to her opposite number in Rachel Garcia - but a fielder’s choice ends the frame.
Muffley, Mudge, Sherrill - the Noles’ 9-1-2 hitters - due in the fifth.
Middle 4: 0-0
FSU continues to force Rachel Garcia to throw pitches but have yet to break through. Garcia strikes out the side in the fourth, but allows a two-out infield single (that, if I were the official scorer, I’d have ruled an error) and issues a two-out walk before ending the frame.
FSU has put a runner on base in each inning and has left five runners on base so far. UCLA hasn’t allowed a run in 18 innings as a pitching staff.
End of 3: 0-0
Sandercock records two more strikeouts and had a stretch of striking out three in a row and four of the last five hitters she faced but allows a two-out infield single that got stuck in the glove of Josie Muffley at shortstop.
The base runner doesn’t get past first and we are scoreless after three complete.
Middle 3: 0-0
For the second-straight inning, the Seminoles put a runner in scoring position. However, for a third-straight inning, FSU can’t break the scoring open.
If there’s a silver lining in being shutout for three innings, it’s that the Noles are making good contact - only one out has been recorded on the ground - a fielder’s choice hit to second base - and that nearly became an error and led to two base runners being on.
Sandercock is set to face the 7-8-9 hitters for UCLA in the bottom of the third.
End of 2: 0-0
Nothing doing for the Bruins against Sandercock, who - like her counterpart in the top of the inning - bookends the bottom of the second with strikeouts.
Middle 2: 0-0
FSU gets their first hits of the game - singles into right field from Cassidy Davis and Dani Morgan - but bookend strikeouts by Elizabeth Mason and Ana Shelnutt end the frame.
Rachel Garcia has had to labor a bit and hasn’t been able to find the strikezone consistently, but hasn’t allowed a run over the first two frames.
End of 1: 0-0
Kathryn Sandercock works a perfect top of the first, including a strikeout and a pair of groundouts.
Middle 1: 0-0
Kaley Mudge started the game off in a 10-pitch battle, ultimately earning herself a leadoff walk.
That’s...as good as it got for FSU. Mudge was thrown out trying to swipe second, Sydney Sherrill struck out on the very next pitch nd Kalei Harding made good contact on a 1-2 pitch, but flew out to center.
Line ups are in and its the same lineup the Noles have sent out all postseason.
Arizona tried to make things interesting in the seventh against Montana Fouts and Alabama, but the Crimson Tide prevailed and we have ourselves a new start time.
All things considered, a 14-minute delay isn’t the worst thing.
Anyway, Alabama’s win means if FSU wins tonight, they’ll face the Crimson Tide tomorrow night. An FSU loss, and they’ll take on Arizona Saturday afternoon.
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