OKLAHOMA CITY – No. 1 Florida held off a late rally from No. 3 Michigan to earn a 3-2 win in game one of the Women’s College World Series championship series in front of 8,329 spectators Monday evening at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
After Michigan got on the board with two in the sixth, the Wolverines (59-7) put runners on the corner with no outs against relief pitcher Delanie Gourley (pictured). The sophomore southpaw buckled down against the heart of the Michigan order as she sandwiched a strikeout between a pair of grounders to shortstop to stop the threat and earn her fifth save of the season.
The victory for the Gators (59-6) puts them one win away from a second straight title. The defeat for the Wolverines snaps a 28-game winning streak and is their first defeat since April 3 at Minnesota.
Lauren Haeger (2-for-3, 2B, HR, 3 RBI) knocked all three runs for the Gators. She launched her third home run of the WCWS, a two-run bomb, to give Florida a 2-0 lead in the first. The senior drove in what proved to be the game-winning run with a double to the centerfield wall for a 3-0 advantage in the third.
Freshman Aleshia Ocasio (18-3) picked up the win in her first WCWS appearance. She started and went the first six innings. The rookie right-handers allowed two runs on five hits with three strikeouts and four walks.
Abby Ramirez closed the Michigan gap to 3-2 with a clutch two-out, two-run single in the top of the sixth. Her hit knocked in pinch runner Nikki Wald and Kelsey Susalla with the Wolverines’ first two runs of the contest.
A walk, passed ball and single put runners on the corners with no outs for the Wolverines in the seventh. However, a hard grounder up the middle was snagged by Kathlyn Medina, which prevented the runner on third to even attempt making a dash for home. Gourley fanned Lauren Sweet and then induced a routine grounder to Medina for the final out.
Kelly Christner (2-for-4) recorded a third of Michigan’s six hits.
Megan Betsa (31-5) struggled early for the Wolverines and was dealt the loss. In 2.2 innings of work, she allowed three runs on four hits with three punchouts and two walks. Haylie Wagner came in and posted 3.1 innings of scoreless and hitless relief. She struck out one and only one runner reached (error), giving her squad a chance at the attempted rally.
The teams return to action tomorrow, June 2 at 8:00 p.m. ET
-- Image courtesy of @SportsCenter