And then there were four...
The Crimson Tide woke up early this morning to learn that their next opponent would be Florida State. Due to weather delays, the Seminoles did not wrap their elimination game in the Women’s College World Series with Arizona until 2:18 am local time.
It’s another familiar foe for Alabama, and another chance for redemption. You may recall last season, the Crimson Tide got off to a woeful start losing three of four games in a February Tallahassee tournament with FSU and UNC. Bama also split a pair with the eventual national champion ‘Noles in 2018 in Tuscaloosa. Elissa Brown, Kaylee Tow, Bailey Hemphill, and KB Sides were all part of these games.
- Feb 23, 2018: Bama 3, FSU 0
- Feb 24, 2018: FSU 3, Bama 1
- Feb 7, 2020: FSU 8, Bama 7 (8 Inn.) - Alabama blew a late 7 run lead.
- Feb 8, 2020: FSU 8, Bama 0 (5 Inn.) - two hits against Caylan Arnold.
The 10-seed Seminoles have had a pretty tough draw. UCF was a strong team in the Regional. Then, they topped 7-seed LSU in a pair of nail-biters.
- May 21, Tallahassee Regional vs Kennesaw State W 6-2
- May 22, Tallahassee Regional vs UCF W 3-0
- May 23, Tallahassee Regional vs UCF W 2-0
- May 27, Baton Rouge Super at LSU W 1-0
- May 28, Baton Rouge Super at LSU W 3-2 (9)
- June 3, WCWS vs UCLA L 0-4
- June 5, WCWS vs Arizona W 4-3
- June 5, WCWS vs Oklahoma State W 4-2
After two 20+ win seasons at Tennessee, Caylan Arnold (10-6, 1.73 ERA) transferred to FSU in 2019 but her good fortune has not followed her. The super-senior was expected to be the go-to pitcher for the ‘Noles, but she has been supplanted by Kathryn Sandercock (25-3, 1.11 ERA) in most of the big games. The second team All-American has five tournament wins but is also responsible for the first round loss to UCLA 0-4. In addition, Sandercock gave up two earned runs in the seventh inning to Duke for a 4-3 defeat in the ACC Tournament, earning a blown save and a loss.
Arnold got the surprise start against Arizona pitching 3.1 innings and allowing two earned runs. Sandercock relieved her, giving up one run in the final frame of a 4-3 victory.
Sandercock went the distance last night against the Cowgirls, throwing 111 pitches into the wee hours of the morning. It was a good outing as she struck out eight and allowed two unearned runs on five hits.
Coach Lonni Alameda’s gamble of starting Arnold barely paid off versus Arizona. With such a quick turnaround, might she roll the dice again?
Holy, Seminoly. Is Dani Morgan still around? She has been around as Hunter Renfrow! The senior is back for a bonus season but has not had such a super season (.264, 3 HR, 30 RBI). As a matter of fact, none of the ‘Noles have. Without going back and looking a 50 game highlights, it is hard to know how FSU has gotten this far. The team batting average is a anemic .259 - 177th in the nation. They have only three more team home runs than Alabama’s total of 40, but the Tide is hitting .314. FSU averages 4.88 runs per game (Bama = 5.93).
Sydney Sherrill is the only ‘Nole hitting over .300 at .301. Second-year freshman Devyn Flaherty is at .297. Kalei Harding leads the RBI category with 36. No FSU player has double digit home runs. But maybe that is the beauty of this team. It is a balanced team with no one player being leaned on for offense.
Another aspect could be that Florida State is the top Power team in stolen bases with 110 in 125 attempts. They have seven players in double digit steals. Bama is fourth in Power team steals but most of theirs come from two players, Alexis Mack and Elissa Brown.
FSU had two errors last night but ended the game on a double play. Fielding percentage is a solid .975.
A double play sends the Seminoles to the Semifinals! #WCWS x @FSU_Softball pic.twitter.com/T7K3kRcfml— NCAA Softball (@NCAAsoftball) June 6, 2021
Montana Fouts will get the start. Can she ignore the ESPN rat poison and continue on her epic roll? Lexi Kilfoyl will start Game 1 vs FSU.
If we are lucky Beth Mowins will oversleep.
- Okie vs JMU 12 pm CT ESPN
- FSU vs. Alabama 2:30pm CT ESPN
- If Necessary: Okie vs JMU 6pm CT ESPN
- If Necessary: FSU vs. Alabama 8:30pm CT ESPN
* The final two teams play a best-of-three series on Monday, Tuesday, and if necessary Wednesday.