Washington softball's season came to an end Sunday afternoon after a 5-2 loss in the semifinals of the Women's College World Series to No. 1 seeded Florida at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium. They will now advance to the winner's bracket and will face the victor of Thursday's game between UCLA and LSU.
Nicole Pendley tacked on an RBI double for good measure, and that two-run cushion was all the Sooners needed.
OR right fielder Danica Mercado homered to break a scoreless tie in the top of the fifth inning before 10th-seeded Oklahoma (59-9) rallied, the first come-from-behind victory in the 12 tournament games.
And through three games, Florida has scored more runs and allowed fewer runs than any other team in Oklahoma City - and has only allowed runs based on a failure to field the 21st out at first base. Barnhill said the runs helped her relax.
"It's just going to come down to players if they can handle this moment, and I thought our players came out and handled this moment very well", Florida Coach Tim Walton said.
Florida, the designated "home" team, scored in all four innings, taking a 2-0 lead after the first inning adding a pair of runs in the second, another in the third and three in the fourth on a three-run home run by Aleshia Ocasio. But no, I just think our kids have to make sure that they trust themselves in any situation, whether it be against a No. 1 team in the country or whether it be against a four-seed at regionals."On the tight strike zone". The Huskies will have to defeat the Gators twice to advance to the championship series, which begins Monday.
The University of Florida won back-to-back College World Series titles in 2014 and 2015 but only seven of the current 18 players on the roster remain from the most recent of those championship teams.
"There was a lot of parity in the regionals and supers, and it kind of created great drama for TV", she noted.
"My Dad (Chris) took me the last time A&M played here", Sartain said. For us to be able to come out of this one game, really proud of just the overall effort of the whole Gator softball program.
Following multiple stellar defensive plays from both teams through the initial five innings of the game, Washington finally broke a scoreless tie in the sixth thanks to a solo home run off the bat of Ali Aguilar that gave the Huskies a 1-0 lead they would not relinquish. Jenna Lilley was hit by a pitch to put two on with no outs. No. 1 Florida and No. 10 Oklahoma earned their semifinal spots on Friday and get to enjoy the day off.
But by the time the bottom of the fifth rolled around, the Sooners were ready to roll. The senior was happy with Florida's win in her first World Series start.
Baylor will play OR in an elimination game Saturday. No. 6 Washington vs. UCLA OR Texas A&M, 7 p.m.