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WCWS Game 8: Florida State Staves Off Washington, Moves Into Driver’s Seat

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Washington fans probably have an eerie feeling after watching the 2018 Championship Series rematch play out on Saturday. Josie Muffley’s leaping grab to steal a base hit and turn the game-ending double play certainly gave the same vibes of Jessie Warren’s diving catch to kill the Huskies’ final rally years ago.

The Huskies battled and made Kathryn Sandercock work for each out. Nevertheless, Florida State took home the 3-1 and put itself one win away from its third championship series in the past five seasons.

Muffley’s teammates weren’t exactly shocked she made the play.

“I would say personally in that situation, I’ve seen it so many times,” Devyn Flaherty said. “Not like I would have been disappointed if she didn’t make it, but I knew she was going to make it. I was like, Throw it to me, we got to get the double play here.”

Makena Reid got the start, but Sandercock ended up carrying the Noles to the win. After Reid allowed a single in the second, Lonni Alameda turned to the veteran. Sandercock tossed 5.2 innings and scattered six hits. She threw 90 pitches because the Huskies continued to make her work with long at-bats.

Those long at-bats started to translate into hits late in the game. Madison Huskey, who started the miracle against McNeese, lead off with a double. Kelley Lynch proceeded to drive her in to cut the deficit to one. Washington put the tying run on third, but Sandercock was able to strand her there.

Sydney Stewart turned an eight-pitch at-bat into a single off that bounced off of Sandercock. Baylee Klingler followed with single of her own to put two on without an out in the seventh. Sami Reynolds flew out to left field and Huskey stepped up with another chance. She absolutely stung a ball that was headed for the gap, but it happened to meet Muffley’s glove.

Florida State didn’t need the power it displayed on Thursday. It was more of the typical station to station offensive attack we typically see from the Noles.

So of course the second inning started with one of they’re nation-leading doubles off the bat of Flaherty. After a Washington error and single from Katie Dack loaded the bases against Ruby Meylan. Muffley poked a single through the left side for an RBI single and end Meylan’s day.

Lindsay Lopez came in and settled things down for the Huskies. Florida State extended its lead to two with a sacrifice fly but Lopez limited the damage to that. The Arizona State transfer gave her team a great chance for one of its Pac-12 leading comebacks. She ended up throwing 4.2 innings, allowing three hits and a run in the sixth. As good as she was, her throwing error led to Florida State’s third run.

That insurance run was quite big for the Noles. It helped negate the momentum the Huskies had pick up earlier in the inning with its first run of the game. Though, Florida State gave it right back with a pair of base running mistakes in the sixth. Hallie Wacaser was only able to take on base on a single that squirted out of the glove of a diving Jadelyn Allchin. The next play, Huskey did make a diving catch and doubled up Bethaney Keen off of first. In the end, Huskey’s play was overshadowed by Muffley.

“Just what a great ballgame. Washington is a great ball club,” Alameda said. “Knew it was going to be gritty. That was so much fun to be a part of. Of course, on the winning side of it is super fun. Couldn’t be more proud of our team and the fight. Kat has been a rockstar for us. To see the momentum building in the defense, incredible plays. Inspiring and motivating. Just really proud of them.”

What’s next

Washington has a quick turnaround to meet Pac-12 foe Stanford on Sunday in an elimination game at 3 p.m. ET on ABC. The Huskies took the regular season series which included a run-rule win and giving NiJaree Canady her only loss of the season before Oklahoma. The winner will then take on the Sooners with the tough task of needing to beat a team that’s only lost once this season, twice in a day.

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