OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — Single-season and career records for the school and conference were matched or set throughout the night for the Seminoles, but the individual game on Thursday night was not as celebratory as No. 6 Florida State (52-12) dropped the first game of the 2018 Women’s College World Series by a score of 7-4 to No. 3 UCLA (57-5)
The Bruins scored six runs in the bottom of the sixth, including five runs with two outs, to earn the come-from-behind win. It is the eighth time that the Noles have lost the first game of the WCWS and FSU will now play No. 7 Georgia (48-12) in an elimination game on Saturday, June 2 at 2:30 p.m. ET.
“I don’t know if you could script it any better for our hitters to come out and score some runs off one of the best pitchers in the country,” said FSU head coach Lonni Alameda. “Garcia was slinging it tonight and we got after her. It was just one of those things. Meghan did a good job and it was my decision to bring Kylee in, and Kyle got us out of the inning and that was good stuff too. Then UCLA kind of went to another level with their swings and got after some miscues on our part and made a big inning for themselves.”
UCLA threatened in the bottom of the first inning, loading the bases with two outs on singles by Kylee Perez and Bubba Nickles and a walk to Rachel Garcia, but FSU starting pitcher Meghan King got out of the jam with a strikeout to keep the game tied at 0-0.
Garcia, UCLA starting pitcher and 2018 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, limited the Seminole offense and recorded five strikeouts through the first two innings. Cassidy Davis led off the FSU third inning with a walk and was pinch-run for by Deja Bush. An intentional walk to Jessie Warren put runners on first and second with one out, but the inning ended on a strikeout by Carsyn Gordon and Bush getting caught stealing at third.
The Seminoles opened the scoring in the top of the fifth inning to take a 4-0 lead. Cali Harrod led off with a walk and a stolen base along with a UCLA throwing error allowed her to move to third on the play. Dani Morgan recorded FSU’s first hit of the game, knocking an RBI single to center to score Harrod.
Another intentional walk to Warren and a two-out walk to Gordon loaded the bases and Sydney Sherrill emptied them with a double into the left field corner to put the Noles on top 4-0. It was Sherrill’s 28th double of the season, which tied the ACC record set by Emilee Koerner (Notre Dame – 2014) and is tied for second in NCAA history, trailing only Fresno State’s Nina Lindenberg, who hit 29 doubles in 1996.
Warren’s run scored on the play was also significant as it was her 224th career run scored, surpassing Shamalene Wilson (1993-96) for the FSU record in the category.
King retired 10 of 11 batters before UCLA got each of its first two hitters on base in the bottom of the fifth on an FSU throwing error and a single by Kinsley Washington. An RBI single by Briana Perez brought in a run for UCLA and Florida State made a pitching change to bring in Kylee Hanson to replace King with two outs in the inning. The redshirt senior struck out Garcia to end the inning.
King gave up one unearned run over 4.2 innings, scattered five hits and one walk and recorded six strikeouts and did not factor in the decision.
Korina Rosario led off the Seminole sixth inning with a double to center, marking FSU’s 105th double of the season, which extended FSU’s school record in the category and tied Liberty for the most doubles hit in the NCAA this season. The Noles put runners on the corners after Morgan reached on a dropped third strike, but a pair of strikeouts left them both stranded on base.
UCLA loaded the bases in the sixth with one out on a walk and a pair of singles and cut the lead to 4-2 with a sacrifice fly to center by Julie Rodriguez. Kylee Perez put the Bruins in front with a two-out, three-run home run to right center and an RBI triple later in the inning by Aaliyah Jordan made it a 6-4 UCLA lead.
Davis entered to pitch for the Seminoles and an FSU throwing error allowed another Bruin run to score before a fly out to right ended the inning.
Warren tried to start seventh inning rally for the Seminoles with a single to left, but the next three FSU hitters were retired to end the game.
Hanson (28-6) took the loss and surrendered six runs, five earned on five hits with one walk and one strikeout.
Saturday’s elimination game between the Noles and Bulldogs will be broadcast live on ESPN and links for live stats and FSU Softball Radio available on the softball schedule page of Seminoles.com.
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