Women’s Softball World Series: Florida State beats Washington 3-1 to advance to the Final Four.

Florida State's Kathryn Sandercock pitches against Oklahoma State during the second inning of an NCAA softball Women's College World Series game Thursday, June 1, 2023, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Nate Billings)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Florida State is taking a different path this time.

The Seminoles lost their Women’s College World Series opener in 2018, then won six straight to win the national title. They lost their opener again in 2021, then rallied to reach the championship series.

This time, they have won their first two games. Kathryn Sandercock was strong in relief, and No. 3 seed Florida State held on to beat No. 7 Washington 3-1 on Saturday night and clinch a spot in the semifinals.

Sandercock allowed one run on six hits in 5 2/3 innings to claim the win, and now the Seminoles are in what coach Lonni Alameda jokingly called “uncharted territory.” It’s a good spot because Sandercock, a second-team National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-American, now has time to rest.

“It’s really important to keep her legs underneath her,” Alameda said. “We’re going to face really good teams, dogfights from here on out. We have to take care of the bodies as best we can. Earning days off is really big for us. We’ll see how it plays out.”

Devyn Flaherty had two hits and scored twice for the Seminoles (57-9), who will play the winner of Sunday’s Tennessee-Oklahoma State game on Monday. Florida State remained unbeaten in the double-elimination bracket and will need to win once on Monday to advance to the best-of-three championship series. The Seminoles would have to lose twice to be eliminated.

Washington freshman Ruby Meylan lasted just 1 1/3 innings and took the loss. Lindsay Lopez gave up just one run in 4 2/3 innings of relief.

Washington (44-14) will play its Pac-12 rival, No. 9 Stanford (46-14), in an elimination game on Sunday. Washington took two of three at Stanford in May.

“It’s another opportunity to play our game,” Washington coach Heather Tarr said. “We’ve got to come back. This is a tough loss for us. It hurts. You want to win this game. It’s like a big difference.”

Sandercock stepped in for freshman Makenna Reid in the second inning. Sandercock gave up a single and hit a batter before escaping a bases-loaded jam without allowing a run.

Josie Muffley’s single in the second scored Flaherty, and Kaley Mudge’s sacrifice fly scored Mack Leonard to give Florida State a 2-0 lead.

Washington trimmed the deficit to 2-1 in the sixth and had a runner on third with two outs but couldn’t get her across.

Washington trailed 3-1 before starting the seventh with two hits. The Seminoles snuffed out the threat when Muffley snagged a hard line drive by Madison Huskey and got the out at second for the double play.

“Josie is so athletic,” Sandercock said. “Athleticism for her to get up that high. To have the wherewithal to throw it to second base and get the double play, she’s just incredible athlete, great teammate, definitely has a great softball IQ. I have so much trust in her playing.”


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