OKLAHOMA CITY — One pitch mentality. It has been the Florida State motto all season long and one pitch proved to be the difference in game one of the 2018 WCWS Championship series as sophomore Anna Shelnutt launched a 3-1 pitch in the top of the sixth inning into the seats beyond the wall in left center to carry No. 6 Florida State (57-12) to a 1-0 victory over No. 5 Washington (52-9) on Monday night. It is the fourth home run by Shelnutt in the 2018 postseason and eight of her 11 career home runs have all come in the ACC or NCAA Tournaments.
The win moves the Seminoles one step away from the 2018 NCAA National Championship and FSU and UW will play game two of the best-of-three Championship Series on Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. ET.
“When Sydney Broderick went down at Oregon last year, Anna came in and was in big moments for us,” said FSU head coach Lonni Alameda. “She hit some home runs at the ACC Tournament and Regionals and that’s where her ‘Postseason Anna’ nickname comes from. Then this season, she’s catching every day and hitting everyday and grinding out the entire season, where teams are scouting you and know more about you and that was a challenge. But she’s learned to endure that. Anna is a tremendous catcher and for her to come in and put up good at bats for her team after everything she does behind the plate, it is outstanding.”
FSU starting pitcher Meghan King and UW’s Gabbie Plain combined for a strong start in the circle as the first hit by either team came from FSU’s Morgan Klaevemann as the senior lined a single to left to lead off the third inning. She quickly stole second and moved to third with nobody out on a Washington throwing error, but a pair of pop outs and a strikeout left her stranded on base.
Washington loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the third on singles by Trysten Melhart and Taylor Van Zee, along with Sis Bates getting hit by a pitch. King helped the Seminoles escape the jam with a pair of strikeouts to end the inning.
Anna Shelnutt drew a one-out walk in the FSU fourth inning and was pinch-ran for by Deja Bush. Bush stole second on the first pitch to Dani Morgan and increased FSU’s season total to 148, which is the third-most in school history. Walks to Morgan and Cali Harrod loaded the bases with two outs, but a groundout to short ended the inning.
Jessie Warren lined a double to left center with one out in the fifth inning and moved up to third on a groundout, but a fly out to left kept the game scoreless heading to the bottom of the fifth.
The Huskies opened their half of the fifth with an infield single by Kelly Burdick and she moved to second on a stolen base and advanced to third with two outs on a sacrifice bunt.Sydney Sherrill handled a ground ball to second to end the inning.
Shelnutt put the Seminoles in front with a solo home run to left center, her sixth home run of the year and third HR of the postseason. With the home run, all nine spots in the FSU batting order have hit at least one extra-base hit during the 2018 WCWS. Overall, the Noles have hit 10 doubles and seven home runs in their six games at the Women’s College World Series.
Morgan continued the inning and stole second for her sixth stolen base of the 2018 WCWS to set a tournament record, passing Alabama’s Brittany Rogers who has five SBs in 2009.
Warren lined a two-out double to left in the top of the seventh for her 51st double of her career, tying Alex Powers (2014-17) for the FSU record. It was the 113th double of the season for the Seminoles, moving FSU into a tie for 10th in NCAA single-season history (LSU, 1998).
Washington opened the seventh inning with a single by Taryn Atlee, but an amazing diving catch by Warren on a bunt attempt by Melhart started a double play to bring up the last chance for the Huskies. A single by Kelly Burdick extended the game, but a groundout to the circle secured the 1-0 Seminole victory.
King retired 14 of the final 17 batters she faced in the complete-game shutout. The redshirt junior improved to 25-6 on the season and gave up five hits and two walks and recorded six strikeouts. She has not allowed an earned run in all 27.1 innings of work at the 2018 WCWS and has not given up an ER in 34.0 total innings, dating back to the fifth inning against LSU on May 26, as she has lowered her ERA to 1.17 on the season.
Game two of the WCWS Championship Series will be on Tuesday, June 5 at 8:00 p.m. ET. If Washington wins, it will force a decisive game three on Wednesday, June 6 at 8:30 p.m. ET. Both games will be broadcast on ESPN and links for FSU softball radio and live stats throughout the WCWS Championship Series will be available on the softball schedule page of Seminoles.com.
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