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Women's College World Series - Double Elimination Round - Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

No. 14 Florida falls to No. 7 Oklahoma State in WCWS

115 days ago
SEC Network
Photo: AP Photo/Alonzo Adams

Fourth-year junior Kelly Maxwell held the Gators to just three hits, at one point going four straight innings without allowing a UF baserunner, and the seventh-seeded Cowgirls won Saturday night's winner's bracket matchup at the NCAA Women's College World Series at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.

Maxwell, the first-team All-American from Friendswood, Texas, was even better than she was two nights earlier in a first-round victory over Arizona. She went a complete seven innings, allowed just three UF runners into scoring position, struck out nine and walked two. She was the story of the night, for sure, but OSU catcher Julia Cottrill, who transferred back home to Stillwater from UF last summer, fashioned a pretty good one of her own.

Against her former team, Cottrill went 3-for-3 at the plate and accounted for both her team's runs. She had a leadoff single in the third and scored the Cowgirls' first run of the game, then added an RBI single in the fourth to push OSU ahead 2-0.

Cottrill's first hit came against UF starter Lexie Delbrey and was followed by a couple infield bunt singles got OSU on the board. After taking their 1-0 lead, the Cowgirls, with just one out, got the bases loaded with clean-up hitter Miranda Elish stepping in. Gators coach Tim Walton pulled Delbrey in favor of red-hot reliever Natalie Lugo, who proceeded to get Elish to ground into a double play and keep the Cowgirls' damage to a single run.

Cottrill made it 2-0 an inning later with a two-out RBI single that represented the only run given up by Lugo during the NCAA Tournament (a run of six appearances, 17.1 innings).

Florida managed three threats during the game, but Maxwell snuffed each one.

UF started the game with a bunt single from Kendra Falby and walk by Hannah Adams, but the next three Gators (Skylar Wallace, Charla Echols, Reagan Walsh) were set down in order.

Florida had runners at first and second with one in the sixth, but Maxwell got Wallace to pop out and Echols to ground out.

In the last-chance UF seventh, pinch-hitter Sarah Longley stroked a one-out single, with pinch-runner Cheyenne Lindsey (in for Longley) moving to second on a wild pitch. Maxwell, though, got Katie Kistler to ground out then ended the game when pinch-hitter Bryn Thomas popped up in foul territory down the right field line.

PLAY OF THE GAME: Cottrill's RBI single with two outs doubled that 1-0 lead in the fourth. The way Maxwell was dealing, it was going to be tough for the Gators to answer back with a couple runs.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Maxwell has been the best player not wearing an Oklahoma Sooner uniform at OKC this week. She struck out 14 Arizona batters and walked only two in Thursday night's 4-2 win, so in her two games here she's logged 14 innings (that's two complete games), allowed only two runs, eight hits, struck out 23 and walked just four. Her season's numbers now show a 22-4 record, a 1.11 ERA, 302 strikeouts and only 62 walks.

STAGGERING STATISTIC: The Gators came into the game hitting .405 and scoring 7.7 runs a game for the NCAA Tournament, so being shut out and held to just three hits -- and having 15 consecutive batters set down from the first through fifth innings -- was an awfully impressive feat by Maxwell. Florida's Nos. 2-5 hitters were a combined 1-for-12, including 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. Maxwell has done that to a bunch of teams this year.

Notables:

  • Freshman Kendra Falby led off with a bunt single for her 85th hit, which is second most by a freshman and third in the nation. It moved her hitting streak to 12 games and on-base streak to 15 games.
  • She has knocked a hit in every postseason game for a total of 12
  • The bunt single was her 55th on the year.
  • The inning ending double play in the third marked the 7th of the tournament and 31st overall for the Gators for a single-season program record
  • It also marked the 14th consecutive batter in a row Natalie Lugo had retired as she previously retired Oregon State in order four straight innings (4-7) after giving up a two-out single in the third

UP NEXT: Florida (49-18) dropped into the loser's bracket, setting up a Sunday elimination game against fifth-seeded UCLA (49-9) at 3 p.m. The winner from the Gators-Bruins matchup gets No. 1-ranked and top-seeded Oklahoma (56-2), which along with Oklahoma State (50-12) remain the lone unbeaten teams left in the field, in a matchup that will have elimination ramifications for the Gators or Bruins.