Florida State rallies to eliminate Arizona at Women’s CWS

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Florida State rallied to beat Arizona 4-3 in a Women’s College World Series elimination game Saturday.

The Seminoles advanced to play No. 5 seed Oklahoma State in an elimination game Saturday night.

With the score tied at three heading into the bottom of the seventh, Florida State’s Kaley Mudge led off with a single. She advanced to second on a fielder’s choice and third on a throwing error by Arizona second baseman Reyna Carranco. Mudge scored the winner on a sacrifice fly by Cassidy Davis.

“Our whole season is, you know, situational hitting and passing the bat,” Florida State coach Lonnie Alameda said. “Usually trying to really live our core value of being smart and being able to make adjustments later in the ballgame.”

Arizona’s Malia Martinez opened the scoring with a solo homer in the third inning. Dejah Mulipola scored on a sacrifice fly by Carlie Scupin in the fourth to push the Wildcats’ lead to 2-0.

Arizona starter Alyssa Denham threw 3 2/3 shutout innings before Mariah Lopez replaced her.

Lopez struggled with control, and it finally caught up with her in the sixth, when she walked a batter and hit a batter. Dani Morgan then took one of her pitches just over the left field fence to give Florida State a 3-2 lead. It was Seminoles’ only hit of the inning.

“I made sure I took my deep breath,” Morgan said. “Tried not to let the moment get bigger than what it was and just go in there with the pass-the-bat mentality and try to get my swing off for the team.”

Florida State pitcher Kathryn Sandercock tried to close the deal in the top of the seventh, but Carranco’s double scored Janelle Meono to tie the score.

Lopez then gave up the final run in the bottom of the seventh to get the loss. Sandercock got the win in 3 2/3 innings of relief.

Mike Candrea, who has led Arizona to eight national titles and is the winningest coach in Division I softball history, said he’s not ready to make a decision about retirement. He’s 65 and has coached at Arizona since 1986.

“At the end of every year, once you get to my age, you kind of evaluate life and things, and the only thing I can tell you is when that day comes, I will do it on my own terms and make that decision,” he said. “But right now, I’m not in any position. Right now I feel bad for these kids, and we’ve just busted our butts to try to keep playing. So I will let it all absorb and go from there.”

___ Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP.

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