OKLAHOMA CITY – The fourth-ranked Lady Vols punched their ticket to the national semifinals Sunday night, defeating sixth-seeded Oklahoma State 3-1 at OGE Energy Field.
Tennessee (51-9) advances to the semifinals at the Women’s College World Series for the first time since 2013. It will face No. 3 seed Florida State with a trip to the WCWS Championship Series on the line. UT will need to win twice against the Seminoles to move on.
Tennessee starting pitcher Ashley Rogers tossed her 13th complete game of the year in the victory, fanning four batters on the night. The righty held the Cowgirls to just one run on four hits and allowed just a pair of free passes.
Rogers picked up her second win at the Women’s College World Series and her 20th this season. It is the third time the Athens, Tennessee, native has won 20 or more games in a season.
Oklahoma State (47-16) gave the ball to Kelly Maxwell who went 2.1 innings against UT. She surrendered two runs on three hits, walking two and striking out three. Lexi Kilfoyl tossed 3.2 innings out of the bullpen, giving up one run – unearned – with a trio of walks and two strikeouts.
Zaida Puni put the Lady Vols on the board in the third with an RBI double to right that scored senior Kiki Milloy from second. Rylie West notched her fourth RBI in the WCWS and added a second run for UT as she singled home pinch runner Brylee Mesusan.
Oklahoma State threatened to score in the fourth as Micaela Wark knocked a two-out single to bring Tallen Edwards to the plate. Edwards powered a double to right and as Wark raced around for home, right fielder Katie Taylor rifled a perfect relay throw to second baseman Destiny Rodriguez.
Rodriguez then fired to catcher Giulia Koutsoyanopulos who caught the ball and laid a perfect tag on Wark to keep OSU off the scoreboard.
In the fifth, Puni reached on an error by the second baseman and came around to score on a throwing error by the Cowgirl’s catcher.
With two away in the sixth, Morgyn Wynne ended the shutout as she pulled a solo home run over the left field wall. Rogers responded by striking out the next batter to get out of the frame.
The graduate pitcher ended the contest with a ground out, fly out and finally a strikeout to send the Lady Vols into the national semifinals.
Tennessee plays Florida State on Monday night beginning at 7 p.m. ET. The game will air nationally on ESPN. A UT win would force a second game, which would begin approximately 35 minutes following the conclusion of game one.