WCWS National Semifinals Set
With another round of elimination contests completed, the national semifinal matchups are officially set. Day four of the 2022 Women's College World Series saw the field shrink from six to four, as two more teams were sent home after losing on Sunday.
UCLA and Texas fended off elimination and have set up rematches from the regular season against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, respectively. Both the Bruins and Longhorns will need to win twice on Monday to advance to the championship series. Florida and Arizona were unable to pick up a victory on Sunday, which resulted in the end of their incredible seasons.
Game Nine: UCLA 8, Florida 0
The second-ever WCWS game to air on ABC put two of the sport’s blue bloods against one another. UCLA and Florida battled to claim a semifinal spot, but the Bruins were able to take down the Gators behind terrific pitching from Holly Azevedo.
In her very first start at the WCWS, Azevedo was spectacular in the circle for the Bruins, as she went the distance, throwing a two-hit shutout against the Gators. Her spiny changeup kept the Florida offense off balance, and the Gators were unable to muster anything offensively.
UCLA scored first when Kelli Godin came through from the nine spot in the order with an RBI single in the second inning. It was just her seventh RBI of the season. It looked like the Bruins were going to add more runs then, but Florida's Katie Kistler robbed them of a home run.
UCLA was not going to be denied and came back to plate three runs on several Florida miscues. The Bruins ended the contest early, as Maya Brady and Savannah Pola brought in four runs in the sixth inning to secure the run-rule victory.
The season ends for Florida, while fifth-seeded UCLA will match up with top-seeded Oklahoma in the national semifinals. The game is set for Monday at 12 p.m. ET on ESPN. UCLA will need to defeat Oklahoma twice to advance to the championship series.
Game Ten: Texas 5, Arizona 2
The final elimination contest on Sunday featured two unseeded teams trying to keep their magical runs in the postseason alive. Arizona and Texas duked it out to secure the last semifinal spot, but it was the Longhorns who came out on top. Two home runs and a solid relief performance by Estelle Czech highlighted the evening for Texas.
The contest got off to a slow start, as starting pitchers Hanah Bowen and Hailey Dolcini kept the bats quiet. The Longhorns struck first when Courtney Day hit a home run to center field. Arizona had a rally going in the fourth inning and came right back to take the lead when Carlie Scupin singled to right field, which forced Texas to go to the bullpen to try to limit the damage.
Czech, who had not pitched since the first game of regionals, entered in relief and got two key strikeouts to end the threat. JJ Smith, who had hit just one home run all season, hit a key three-run blast on a 1-0 offering from Arizona reliever Devyn Netz to retake the lead. That was all Czech needed, as she was spectacular, tossing 3.2 scoreless innings and allowing only one hit.
Texas became just the second unseeded team ever to reach the semifinals, after James Madison did so last season. The Longhorns will face conference foe and No. 7 seed Oklahoma State on Monday evening, needing two wins to reach the championship series. The first game is set for 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.