Florida, Bama to play for WCWS title
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Florida didn't dominate Baylor in the rematch, but the Gators' performance was good enough.
Hannah Rogers pitched a complete game and helped Florida defeat Baylor 6-3 on Sunday to advance to the Women's College World Series national championship best-of-three series. Florida will play Alabama for the title beginning Monday.
The Gators, who beat Baylor 11-0 Thursday on the opening day of competition, won Sunday with solid fundamentals. Florida had eight hits and three walks, but no home runs."The little things win games here in the College World Series," Florida coach Tim Walton said. "Just proud of our kids for believing in us and believing in themselves and in their abilities and not trying to do too much. Here we are getting a chance and an opportunity to play for a national championship."
Rogers allowed three runs on five hits and threw 96 pitches. She improved to 29-8 this season.
"I just want to continue to do everything and not overthink anything, and use my defense like I have all season," she said. "I mean, they've been doing a great job here and all year and I will continue to use them."
Florida (53-12), took a 5-0 lead Sunday in the top of the fifth inning before the Bears scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth to make it a game. The Bears, who came from 7-0 down to beat Kentucky on Saturday night, couldn't quite do it again.
"I'm extremely proud of my team," Baylor coach Glenn Moore said. "We came here to win this thing, and were dealt a big setback on the first day and had to recover from that. I thought we showed incredible fight, pride as we worked our way back to today and won an incredible comeback last night, of course. We didn't take the easy road to get here."
Stephanie Tofft walked with the bases loaded in the top of the sixth to score an insurance run. She had two hits and knocked in two runs and Taylor Schwarz knocked in three runs for the Gators.
Kaitlyn Thumann knocked in two runs and Jordan Strickland knocked in the other one for the Bears (49-16).
Whitney Canion fell to 31-12. She allowed six runs on eight hits and threw 151 pitches.
Walton said that rally against Kentucky might have sapped Baylor's energy.
"I can tell you that being on the other side of that coin, winning an emotional game yesterday, in the fashion that they did, I know how draining it can be," he said.
Alabama 2, Oregon 0
Jackie Traina threw a four-hitter to help Alabama beat Oregon 2-0 on Sunday and advance to the WCWS championship series against the rival Gators.
Alabama took two out of three from the Gators during the regular season.
"I think it's a very respectful rivalry," Alabama coach Patrick Murphy said. "Everyone respects the heck out of them. I don't think it's a nasty rivalry."
Alabama scored twice in the bottom of the fifth inning, and that was all Traina needed. She struck out eight and didn't walk a batter.
"For Jackie to shut out that offense is incredible," Murphy said. "You've got to tip your hat to Jack and our defense."
Haylie McCleney homered in the bottom of the fifth inning to break a scoreless tie, but the second run wasn't as clear. Molly Fichtner connected for a single with two outs, and Kaila Hunt went for home. Hunt made a move in an attempt to score, and it was ruled that she avoided a tag on a throw that got there first.
"I had a pretty good view," Oregon coach Mike White said. "I know the ball quickly beat her by a long way. Got the tag on her. If it was 50-50, she should be out in my opinion. If the ball beats you, you should be out, I don't care how close it was. It's just a shame it couldn't have been a one-run game going into the last inning."
Hunt believed the right call was made.
"There was no hesitation, and the catcher started to come across the plate, so I just tried to go to the inside," she said. "It was kind of awkward, because I usually try to go to the outside part of the plate. So I don't know, I haven't seen the replay, but it felt pretty awkward."
Alabama took that 2-0 lead into the top of the seventh, and the Ducks had one last shot. Oregon's Kailee Cuico hit a single that brought the tying run to the plate with no outs. Janelle Lindvall put one over the left-field fence, but it barely sailed foul, and she struck out looking on the next pitch.
Koral Costa singled with two outs to keep the Ducks alive, but Traina struck out the final batter.
"Jackie, she is throwing awesome," Fichtner said. "She is hitting her spots, doing everything we need her to."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.