Florida St. tops Alabama; rematch to determine WCWS finalist

OKLAHOMA CITY — Caylan Arnold and Kathryn Sandercock combined for a shutout and Florida State beat Alabama 2-0 on Sunday in a Women’s College World Series semifinal.

Alabama was unbeaten in the double-elimination format and Florida State had a loss, so Florida State’s victory forced a winner-take-all rematch to determine who will play in the best-of-three championship series. Because of a weather delay that pushed the start back 2 1/2 hours, the NCAA pushed the deciding game from Sunday to Monday.

Top-seeded Oklahoma will play unseeded James Madison in the other semifinal Monday. The Sooners beat the Dukes 6-3 earlier Sunday, avenging a loss Thursday. Their winner-take-all game also was moved back to Monday. The championship series was moved back a day and will begin Tuesday.

Third-seeded Alabama (52-8) reached the semifinals on the strength of two dynamic performances by pitcher Montana Fouts. Lexi Kilfoyle stepped in on Sunday and pitched admirably, but it wasn’t enough as Alabama’s 20-game win streak was snapped.

The 10th-seeded Seminoles (47-11-1) beat Arizona on Saturday afternoon, then played until after 2 a.m. on Sunday to eliminate Oklahoma State because a weather delay pushed an earlier game back. The Seminoles were back on the field 13 hours later, then faced the delay on Sunday.

Still, the Seminoles had just enough to win.

Alabama’s best chance came in the fifth inning. Maddie Morgan singled with one out, then advanced to second on a passed ball. Alabama’s Taylor Clark was hit in the helmet so hard by Arnold’s pitch that it knocked her helmet off and left the bill cracked. Florida State escaped without allowing a run.

Florida State loaded the bases with two outs in the fifth for Sydney Sherrill. On a full count, Sherrill walked to score Dani Morgan for the game’s first run. The Seminoles left the bases loaded and scored just once in the inning.

Morgan tripled with two outs in the sixth, then Josie Muffley singled to score Morgan and make it 2-0.

Sandercock, who entered the game in the fifth in relief, got the win.

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