OKLAHOMA CITY – Facing elimination and a 4-0 deficit before recording an out, No. 7 Florida State (54-9) refused to give up and battled back, scoring eight unanswered runs to earn a 8-4 victory over No. 14 UCLA (40-16-1) on Saturday in the loser’s bracket of the 2016 Women’s College World Series. Alex Powers matched a career high with four hits – two singles, a double and a home run – and Morgan Klaevemann set a career mark with four runs batted in.
It is the first win for Florida State in the WCWS since a 2-0 victory over Washington on May 29, 2004. The Noles improve to 7-17 all-time in their nine appearances at the Women’s College World Series.
“First of all, just want to congratulate UCLA on an amazing season,” said FSU head coach Lonni Alameda. “That’s a pretty storied program and they’re a class act, so I always enjoy playing a true competitor in UCLA.
“Very proud of our team today. Obviously, excited about the win, but I think as a coaching staff I’m more proud of the process that they took today, pitch by pitch. And to have come-from-behind rallies there is huge. That’s just belief. And then we talked about, yesterday, the difference of us being able to come out and believe in our culture and the character of our program and it really showed today.”
UCLA got out to an early 4-0 lead in the first inning, scoring all four runs before making its first out. A pair of infield singles by Allexis Bennett and Kylee Perez and a hit-by-pitch to Delaney Spaulding loaded the bases and Mysha Sataraka emptied them with a home run to centerfield.
The inning continued with two more singles from the Bruins and a two-out walk by Zoe Shaw reloaded the bases for UCLA and ended the day for FSU starting pitcher Meghan King. Jessica Burroughs entered the game and induced a fly out to center to end the threat.
The Seminoles battled back in the second inning as Powers hit the first pitch of her at-bat for a leadoff home run to right to cut the lead to 4-1. A single by Sydney Broderick, a walk to Cali Harrod and a UCLA fielding error off the bat of Carsyn Gordon loaded the bases with one out, prompting a pitching change from the Bruins.
Paige McDuffee entered the circle to replace starter Johanna Grauer and she induced a fielder’s choice by Alex Kossoff to retire Broderick at the plate for the second out of the inning. Klaevemann followed with a walk to drive in her 16th RBI of the year and make it 4-2. That’s all the Seminoles would be able to produce as UCLA’s 2B Perez ended the inning with a diving catch.
Jessica Warren opened up the FSU third the exact same way that Powers did in the second, crushing the first pitch of her at bat for a solo home run, her 20th of the season, cutting the UCLA lead to 4-3.
A double from Powers and a single from Broderick put runners on the corners for Harrod with nobody out. The freshman shortstop placed a great bunt in front of the plate and Powers slid under the tag to tie the game at 4-4. Play continued as Broderick ran to third and Harrod toward second, and as UCLA threw down to retire Harrod in a run down, Broderick dashed home to give FSU a 5-4 lead.
UCLA made a pitching change to bring in Selina Ta’amilo, but after a walk to Zoe Casas and hitting Gordon with a pitch, Grauer re-entered to pitch the remainder of the game for the Bruins.
Florida State added to its lead in the fifth inning as Harrod opened the frame with a walk and stole second base for her 26th SB of the season. Gordon followed with a double over the head of UCLA CF Bennett, moving Harrod up to third base. Klaevemann brought them both in on a two-RBI single up the middle to give the Noles a 7-4 advantage.
Burroughs dominated in the circle for the Seminoles. She retired 13 batters in a row from the second inning until a one-out single in the sixth by Brianna Tautalafua. She would be left stranded after a pair of fly outs.
The Noles brought in another run in the seventh inning behind a leadoff walk from Gordon. The freshman stole second, and moved to third base on a groundout from Kossoff. Klaevemann placed a perfect bunt down the first base line to score Gordon and make it 8-4 FSU.
Burroughs closed out the game in the circle, tossing a perfect seventh inning. The redshirt junior moved to 28-5 after pitching 6.1 innings of shutout relief, scattering two hits with zero walks and two strikeouts.
Adding in her March 4 performance against UCLA earlier this season, Burroughs has given up just three hits to the Bruins in 13.0 shutout innings with one walk and seven strikeouts.
“I think the whole thing is that in any game me and Meg can both go at any time, and I knew if I came out it would be a big situation,” said Burroughs. “But I just stayed calm and know that to get the job done, there’s no need to come in and rush things. So take a breath, spin it, and let’s get back in the dugout and just scratch out some runs.
“To be able to pick up Meg was huge, and she will do the same for me at any time. And just to let her know that she’s got to learn from that really quickly, and we’re going to need her the rest of the time. And the team did great fighting back in that game. The energy, we never gave up, and I think it was huge.”
The Seminoles continue play in the 2016 Women’s College World Series against the loser of Oklahoma/Michigan on Sunday, June 5 at 1:00 p.m. ET, in a game that will be shown on ESPN. If they win that game, they will play another game on Sunday against the winner of Auburn/Georgia at 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
Tickets for the 2016 Women’s College World Series are available now at NCAA.com/WCWS, and there is also a ticket exchange available to buy and sell tickets from other fans.
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