USF, Tennesee eliminated from WCWS

USF, Tennesee eliminated from WCWS

OKLAHOMA CITY – The field of teams in the 31st annual Women’s College World Series was reduced to six with the elimination of South Florida and the University of Tennessee in elimination games Saturday at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.

A session record crowd of 8,504 watched as LSU scored the game’s only run to eliminate the USF Bulls in the first game, with Oregon sending the Lady Volunteers home with a 3-1 win in the second game. After stranding three runners through five innings against USF losing pitcher Sara Nevins (31-8), LSU scored the winning run without the benefit of a hit in the bottom of the sixth inning when A.J. Andrews tagged up and scored on Allison Falcon’s pop sacrifice to shortstop. Andrews reached base when she was hit by a pitch and moved to third on a fielding error by USF centerfielder Janine Richardson. The RBI was Falcon’s 23rd of the season, second most on the LSU team.

Asked about scoring the winning run, Andrews said she was told not to go on the play. “She said ‘tag,’ but I guess that doesn’t mean do. But really, I think, because she was facing backwards, so my instinct is just to try it. It was a really close game. So I knew that it would come down to something really close, like a close play.” Andrews didn’t have a thought of being thrown out. “I just wanted to be safe. I just thought about how I could get safe.”

Falcon, who hit the pop fly, didn’t think Andrews would score.” Absolutely not. I had already stopped running. I was like, dang, I popped it up. But yeah, A.J. completely bailed me out of that one. Thanks A.J.” Said Andrews: “Anytime.”

Brittany Mack went the distance to get the win for the Tigers, who advance to play Arizona State Saturday evening. Mack allowed two hits, walked four and fanned eight in improving her record to 16-12 and getting her 15th career shutout, moving her into a seventh place tie on LSU’s career list. USF’s Sara Nevins took the loss and completed her season 31-8, hurling 5.2 innings, allowing two hits and one run, while walking one and striking out six. USF finished 0-2 in the WCWS and was 50-14 for the season in its first appearance in the WCWS. It was the first time USF was shutout since May 10 when the Bulls lost to DePaul, 6-0. USF tallied two hits in the game, tying its lowest hit total this postseason. USF also had just two hits in its 1-0 win over Central Florida in the first round of the Gainesville Regional.

In the second game, Tennessee had the same problem it had in its opening game loss to Alabama-unable to score runs after falling behind. Tennessee fell behind 2-0 in the first inning when Samantha Pappas opened the game with a solo homer on the second pitch of the game to right center—her 10th of the season-off Tennessee pitcher Ellen Renfroe. After the homer by Pappas, Kaylan Howard doubled and scored on Kailee Cuico’s RBI single. Oregon (45-17) added another run in the fourth inning when, after an out, Christie Nieto was hit by a pitch and trotted home on Alexa Peterson’s double to left field, which bounced off the fence.

Jessica Moore went the distance to get the win, (33-14), allowing four hits and one run. She walked one and fanned four. It was the 73rd win of her career tying the school record held by Katie Wiese (1989-91). Moore is now 11-6 in her postseason career and has 16 wins against top-25 ranked teams this season.

Tennessee closed the season 52-14 and fell to 12-10 all-time in the WCWS. Tennessee went 0-2 in the WCWS for the first time in its five appearances. In her last game at Tennessee, senior catcher Ashley Andrews scored the Lady Vols lone run on an RBI single by outfielder Tory Lewis in the second inning. Ellen Renfoe took the loss and finished 27-5 for the season. Her sister, Ivy, replaced her and finished the game, going five innings, allowing three hits and one run. Tennessee co-head coach Ralph Weekly said following the elimination game. “Well, first of all, I'd like to thank the host, the NCAA and ESPN, for a tremendous tournament once again. We lost two very close ballgames. Our kids gave it everything we had. We just couldn't hit in the clutch. And we're hitting the ball pretty good in BP and hitting the ball pretty good yesterday, and that happens at times. And it's really not anybody's fault. There was no lack of effort out there. And we just got beat both times. And I have to give credit to Oregon.  They had a great game plan, and their pitcher did well. We hit a lot of ground balls.”

Oregon Coach Mike White was pleased with his team’s performance to say the least. “Well, it's great to get a win. I know it took us three years to get our first Super Regional win, so getting a win here after our second game in the College World Series meant a lot to the ladies. And they've worked, definitely, very hard. We played a very class team in Tennessee. The Weeklys run a great organization. Knew it'd be a tough game. They had a couple of good pitchers. They've got some players that can really make something happen in a hurry. I thought Jess (Moore) did a great job of neutralizing them when we couldn't turn a couple of double plays, which were big in the context of the game.”