OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Kathryn Sandercock threw five scoreless innings, Kaley Mudge hit a three-run homer and No. 3 seed Florida State defeated No. 6 seed Oklahoma State 8-0 in six innings Thursday night in the Women’s College World Series opener for both teams.
A game that started late because of lightning was delayed another two hours in the third inning for lightning and rain. It was reminiscent of the previous World Series game between the teams in 2021 that ended at 2:20 a.m. local time because a rain delay pushed back the start time. Sandercock got the win in that game, too. This time, she gave up four hits and struck out four.
She was equally effective before and after the delay.
“She throws to all quadrants of the plate and hits her spots very well,” Oklahoma State second baseman Rachel Becker said. “I think you just never know what to expect when you’re going up to the plate against her. You can’t really ever sit on anything because she can throw a strike anywhere.”
The game between No. 15 seed Utah and No. 7 seed Washington that was supposed to follow the Oklahoma State-Florida State game was moved from Thursday night to midday Friday.
The Seminoles felt comfortable with the delays since they are so common in Florida.
“We had a lot of fun in the locker room playing some hacky, playing some Wordle, just making it fun, keeping each other energized,” Mudge said. “Obviously, we waited all day to play. It was getting late.”
It was a disappointing performance for Oklahoma State, which has reached the past four World Series but hasn’t reached the finals. Oklahoma State had allowed just three runs in five regional and super regional games with three shutouts. Now, the Cowgirls will face elimination Friday against Washington or Utah.
“Obviously not the way we drew this up,” Oklahoma State coach Kenny Gajewski said. “We didn’t play well in any facet of the game. We didn’t pitch well. We didn’t play good catch. We didn’t get enough good at-bats.”
Oklahoma State’s Kelly Maxwell, who like Sandercock was a National Fastpitch Coaches Association second-team All-American, started and threw two innings. She gave up one hit and two runs for the Cowgirls (46-15).
Michaela Edenfield’s two-run blast in the first off Maxwell gave Florida State (56-9) a 2-0 lead.
Gajewski decided to bring in Kyra Aycock to pitch after the delay.
“As the delay got longer, Kelly, her history, we know her history very well,” he said. “The more she sits, it doesn’t usually work out in her favor. We didn’t like the momentum that we didn’t have, and felt like, Hey, let’s get a changeup here, let’s get Kyra in there.”
Mudge’s shot in the fourth off Aycock after the delay made it 7-0, and the Seminoles closed it out in the sixth.
“When you’re playing teams like this here, the margin of error, it’s tiny,” Gajewski said. “We looked like a JV team at times. We took poor at-bats. We just weren’t clean. I don’t know why. I don’t have an answer.”
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