FSU Softball tops Tennessee to advance to Women’s College World Series Championship Finals
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (Noles247) - No. 3 Florida State softball (58-9) advanced to the Women’s College World Series Championship Finals with a 5-1 win over No. 4 Tennessee (51-10) at Hall of Fame Stadium on Monday night. The Seminoles have advanced to the best-of-three championship series in three straight trips to OKC. FSU’s offense produced three homers to propel the Seminoles to a matchup with No. 1 Oklahoma. Redshirt senior Kathryn Sandercock tossed three scoreless innings to shut the door on the Vols and notch her 10th save of the season.
The Seminoles and Volunteers traded early solo shots. Mack Leonard made her 12th start in the circle for FSU. Zaida Puni opened the scoring with a solo homer to right-center. Michaela Edenfield had an immediate response. Edenfield blasted a leadoff homer over the left-center wall to square the game up at one.
Leonard worked a scoreless second as she worked around a two-out walk. She posted a line of 2 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 1 R, and 32 pitches.
FSU’s offense began the third the same way it did in the second. Bethany Keen crushed a home run to right-center to put the Seminoles ahead, 2-1. The homer was Keen’s first as a Seminole and her first since May 13, 2021, while she was still at USF.
Freshman Makenna Reid replaced Leonard in the bottom half. Reid was called for four illegal pitches in the frame as Tennessee put runners on the corners with two outs. The left-handed pitcher worked through the adversity and struck out Mackenzie Donihoo to strand both runners on base. The freshman worked another scoreless frame in the fourth.
An infield single and a hit-by-pitch put two runners in scoring position for the Seminoles in the fifth. With two outs, Jahni Kerr dropped an RBI single in center to plate pinch-runner Autumn Belviy and extend the lead to 3-1.
Kathryn Sandercock entered the circle in the bottom of the fifth with a two-run lead and the top of the Tennessee order due up. Sandercock needed just 10 pitches to set the side down in order, including two strikeouts.
Edenfield led off the sixth with a walk and was pinch-ran for by Amaya Ross. Ross promptly stole her 22nd base of the season. The clutch hitting continued for the Seminoles with two outs. Hallie Wacaser smoked the Seminoles’ third homer into the left-field bleachers to extend the lead to four. The two-run blast was her fourth homer of the season.
Sandercock stranded a pair of Tennessee runners in the sixth with her third strikeout. Kaley Mudge was called out at the plate after review as she tried to steal home to end the top half of the seventh. Sandercock returned to the circle for the bottom half with a four-run lead.
The redshirt senior began the frame with her fourth strikeout. Kiki Milloy flew out to center for the second out. A lineout to short ended the game and sent the Seminoles to the finals.
Up Next: FSU will take on No. 1 Oklahoma in a best-of-three series to determine the National Champion. Game one is on Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. ET. Each of the games will be on ESPN.
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