OKLAHOMA CITY — Eighth-seeded Florida State, which led the ACC in stolen bases, swiped only one in Sunday’s game. The Seminoles, though, used speed to their advantage. They exploited the second-seeded Michigan softball team's weak defense behind the plate, scoring on a wild-pitch by junior right-hander Megan Betsa. Florida State tallied only one hit but centerfielder Morgan Klaevemann's rush to the plate in the third inning was all it needed, providing the game's sole run in the Seminoles’ 1-0 victory Sunday afternoon that eliminated the Wolverines from the Women’s College World Series. Sunday’s loss marked the first time all year that Michigan lost two games in a row.
“They got it done,” said Michigan coach Carol Hutchins. “They shut down a very good Michigan team, a very good hitting team. As I’ve said all week, Megan Betsa gave us a chance to win. She gave us every chance to win and did her part, and we just didn’t find a way to get it done.”
A mere 12 hours after she allowed five runs in 6.1 innings, Betsa held the Seminoles in check. She had some difficulties with her control — she walked four — but managed to pitch out of trouble, save for some slip-ups behind the plate in the bottom of the third.
Florida State left fielder Alex Kossoff led off the inning with a single and took second on a passed ball by Michigan sophomore catcher Aidan Falk. A fielder's’ choice and walk loaded the bases for Seminole catcher Sydney Broderick. Alex Powers stepped up to the plate. On an 0-2 count, Betsa threw a pitch that bounced in the dirt and skidded past Falk. Klaevemann — who led the ACC steals with 48 — came racing home with the game’s first and only run. Betsa walked Broderick, but pitched out of the jam by inducing a pop fly to the third base side.
“It was supposed be a changeup in the dirt,” Betsa said about her wild pitch. “It was just a little too much in the dirt and it got past (Falk), and the run scored, but I gave up too many free bases in that inning, and it hurt me.”
Michigan’s offense failed to get much going throughout the game. In the second inning, it had runners on first and second with one out but could not capitalize as sophomore designated player Amanda Vargas and junior third baseman Lindsay Montemarano both struck out.
In the sixth, the Wolverines again had runners on first and second but left them stranded as Kelly Christner flew out and Kelsey Susalla grounded out.
After the third inning run, Betsa settled down and retired nine straight batters. Aside from Falk, her offense couldn’t do much to help her. Falk went 2-3 with two singles but the rest of the lineup went a combined 1-19. In their last games as Wolverines, seniors Sierra Lawrence, Sierra Romero and Kelsey Susalla reached base only once on a Romero walk in the sixth inning. Romero and Lawrence, four-year starters during their time at Michigan, failed to win a WCWS championship despite reaching it in three of their four years.
“Ever since I stepped foot on campus, Michigan has done nothing but great things for me,” Romero said. “I’ve just tried my best to represent Michigan the best way I know how.”
“Playing for Hutch and Team 39 this year has been amazing. There’s no other place I’d rather be, no other uniform I’d rather wear and I love Michigan.”
The Wolverines threatened in the top of the 7th with a one-out single to the right-side by Falk but Montemarano popped-up a bunt and Vargas flew out to the second baseman. Florida State notched the victory despite being out-hit 3-1 in the game.
Seminoles right-hander Jessica Burroughs was masterful in her three-hit shutout. She struck out six batters and walked just two. Florida State advances to the semifinals when it will play against fourth-seeded Auburn.
One year after reaching the championship series of the WCWS, Michigan falls before the semifinals.
“I’ll always be proud of team 39,” Hutchins said. “They’ve had a great season and we had a great run, and unfortunately we just ran out at the end.”