The Florida State Seminoles only needed one win against the Tennessee Lady Volunteers on Monday night to advance to the final series of the Women's College World Series (WCWS).
They got it done. Now, they will face the two-time defending champion Oklahoma Sooners to determine this year's WCWS champion.
YOUR FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES ARE GOING TO PLAY FOR A NATIONAL TITLE‼️‼️‼️ pic.twitter.com/KfFzW7dxUv— Florida State Softball 🥎 (@FSU_Softball) June 6, 2023
The Vols got off to a quick start, grabbing a 1-0 lead in the first inning but that was it from their bats in what amounted to be a disappointing performance from Tennessee. FSU's pitching shut the door — even after an inning that featured four illegal pitch calls against freshman Makenna Reid.
In the end, the Vols went quietly into the Oklahoma City night, and the 'Noles got some contributions from some unlikely heroes with home runs from Bethaney Keen and Hallie Wacaser, as well as Michaela Edenfield — who deposited one into Area 51.
Terrific defense from FSU, notably Josie Muffley — who is known for her web gems — kept the Vols off base. Then, Kathryn Sandercock shut the door with three dominant innings in relief.
Although the win was certainly a reason to celebrate, the 'Noles will have to move on quickly. They have a step up in competition coming on Wednesday night when they meet the Sooners in the final series of the WCWS.
It's a rematch of the 2021 WCWS final, which Oklahoma won with a decisive Game 3.
𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐍𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐥 𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐦𝐩𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐡𝐢𝐩 𝐢𝐬 𝐒𝐞𝐭 🏆— NCAA Softball (@NCAASoftball) June 6, 2023
(1) @OU_Softball 🆚 (3) @FSU_Softball
📅 Wednesday, June 7
⏰ 8 PM ET
📅 Thursday, June 8
⏰ 7:30 PM ET
📅 Friday, June 9 (if necessary)
⏰ 8 PM ET
📺 ESPN#WCWS pic.twitter.com/TK5O3jqOad
The Sporting News tracked live updates and highlights from the FSU vs. Tennessee Women's College World Series semifinal game. Follow below for highlights as the action unfolded from USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium.
FSU vs. Tennessee softball score
FSU vs. Tennessee softball live updates, highlights
(All times Eastern)
9:33 p.m. — AND THAT'LL DO IT! Puni lines out to (who else?) Muffley and FSU is going to the finals against Oklahoma!
9:32 p.m. — That's two. Tennessee is down to their final out.
9:31 p.m. — That's one out for Sandercock, who notches a strikeout to begin the inning.
9:29 p.m. — Sandercock is back out for her third inning of relief. She will try to shut the door on Tennessee and end their season. Only three outs separate FSU from a matchup with Oklahoma in the finals.
Bottom of seventh inning: FSU 5, Tennessee 1
9:24 p.m. — CLOSE CALL AT THE PLATE! Mudge tries to catch the Vols napping and attempts to steal home but is called out after video review. Koutsoyanopulos got the tag down just in time. Last chance for the Vols now, who need four runs to keep their season alive.
9:23 p.m. — Gottshall gets a big out and now faces Edenfield with the hopes of putting a zero on the board after a threat from FSU.
9:21 p.m. — Kerr drops down a bunt and reaches first safely. Mudge gets to third, which set up FSU with runners on the corners. Kerr steals second without a throw and now FSU has two in scoring position with only one gone.
9:19 p.m. — Tennessee can't get the double play and Mudge makes them pay with a stolen base. Gottshall can't let another run cross the plate.
9:17 p.m. — The 'Noles will look to add on to begin the inning and Muffley gets them started with a leadoff hit. Gottshall is back in the circle for the Vols, who surrendered two runs earlier in the game.
Top of seventh inning: FSU 5, Tennessee 1
9:13 p.m. — And that will do it for the Vols threat in the sixth. Sandercock gets Koutsoyanopulos to chase, which will end the inning. Tennessee only has three outs left to play with as we head to the final frame.
9:11 p.m. — Now Tennessee might have something cooking. Two on and two out for the catcher Giulia Koutsoyanopulos.
9:09 p.m. — It's been an uneventful inning so far for the Vols. They got a runner on, but haven't done anything with it. Two outs with a runner on first.
Bottom of sixth inning: FSU 5, Tennessee 1
9:04 p.m. — That'll do it for FSU in the sixth but a four-run deficit is looking like 400 right now. Rocky Top has quite the mountain to climb if they want to get back into this.
9:01 p.m. — AND WORK AROUND IT SHE CAN'T! NOW HALLIE WACASER GOES YARD! A two-run shot for the seventh place hitter gives FSU a 5-1 lead over the Vols! Unlikely heroes continue to carry the 'Noles in OKC.
8:57 p.m. — Rogers will have to work around that leadoff walk. She's got one out in the inning now, but cannot afford to let another run score with how ineffective the Vols bats are now.
8:56 p.m. — Amaya Ross, who is pinch running for Edenfield, quickly swipes second and sets up FSU with a runner in scoring position with no one out.
8:53 p.m. — Edenfield gets us started in the sixth with Rogers back to work for the Vols. The FSU catcher gets aboard with a leadoff walk.
Top of sixth inning: FSU 3, Tennessee 1
8:50 p.m. — Just a dominate, shutdown inning from Sandercock. It wasn't even competitive. The 'Noles are six outs away from a date with Oklahoma in the final series of the Women's College World Series.
8:48 p.m. — Five pitches, five strikes from Sandercock who mows down the first two hitters of the inning.
8:46 p.m. — It's Kathryn Sandercock time for FSU and danger time for the Vols. The 'Noles ace might be on to close this game out.
8:44 p.m. — Before the bottom of the fifth gets started, check out this fun tidbit about Muffley — who wants to become a firefighter — from the ESPN broadcast.
Bottom of fifth inning: FSU 3, Tennessee 1
8:42 p.m. — Kerr knocks in a run with a shallow hit to center, but that's all Rogers surrenders in the fifth, who escapes with only allowing a single run. Tennessee needs at least two runs in their final nine outs to keep their season alive.
8:37 p.m. — That'll do it for Pickens. She departs for the senior, and Lady Vols ace, Ashley Rogers — who comes in with two on and one out. She just threw 136 pitches on Sunday, which will be worth monitoring.
T5: FSU with one out and two on. Ashley Rogers coming on to pitch.— Tennessee Softball (@Vol_Softball) June 6, 2023
Lady Vols 1, Seminoles 2 pic.twitter.com/NjTy4WZguA
8:36 p.m. — Muffley is hit by a pitch and FSU is threatening in the fifth — first and second with only one gone in the inning. As expected, she didn't flinch.
8:34 p.m. — Keen strikes again, this time recording another hit. Coming into tonight, she only had 17 hits on the season. So far, she's added two more to that total.
8:32 p.m. — Another inning of work for Pickens, who will have to face Keen in the fifth inning. Keen stands to be the unlikely hero for FSU at this point — the difference on the scoreboard.
Top of fifth inning: FSU 2, Tennessee 1
8:30 p.m. — It was a fairly lifeless inning from the Vols, who need to get the bats going. They haven't put together many competitive at-bats to this point in a win-or-go-home game in Oklahoma City.
8:25 p.m. — Two quick outs from Reid and it seems the freshman has settled in nicely. Tennessee's offense will need to figure it out quickly.
8:23 p.m. — Reid returns for the fourth inning and her footwork will garner plenty of attention in this half inning.
Bottom of fourth inning: FSU 2, Tennessee 1
8:19 p.m. — A 1-2-3 inning for Pickens keeps this game at 2-1. It's getting late early for the Vols, can they muster up some offense in the fourth?
8:17 p.m. — Hard hit contact from Edenfield again but Milloy runs it down in center to record the first out of the inning.
8:16 p.m. — Pickens returns to the circle for the fourth inning, meaning we now have a freshman pitcher running the show for each side.
Top of fourth inning: FSU 2, Tennessee 1
8:11 p.m. — Four illegal pitches in the inning for Reid, but a strikeout strands the runners with no change on the scoreboard. A missed opportunity for the Lady Vols and some miracle work from Reid.
8:08 p.m. — Reid's footwork is becoming a problem. The third illegal pitch of the inning sees a base hit into center field, putting runners on the corners with two gone with Reid clearly rattled.
8:05 p.m. — Another illegal pitch from Reid gets FSU a warning from the umpires because she's not keeping her left heel on the rubber. It'll be something to monitor now from the freshman, whether she can adjust.
8:04 p.m. — Reid gets Puni right away, so nothing comes of that incident.
8:02 p.m. — Reid fans Puni, but an illegal pitch brings her back into the box.
8:01 p.m. — The lefty Reid gets Milloy to strike out to begin her night. Now she'll try her luck at Puni, who already put one in the seats tonight.
7:59 p.m. — Makenna Reid gets the ball to begin the second time through the Vols order. The bullpen keeps warming for FSU, but it's the freshman Reid's game for the time being.
Bottom of third inning: FSU 2, Tennessee 1
7:55 p.m. — Pickens strikes out Jahni Kerr and then gets Kalei Harding to ground out — stranding Mudge at third to limit the damage.
7:54 p.m. — The freshman comes in and Mudge takes advantage, swiping third on the first pitch from Pickens. FSU is threatening to tack on another run now.
7:53 p.m. — And that is the end of the road for Gottshall. Karlyn Pickens will take over in the circle for Tennessee. She comes in with a runner on second and one out.
7:51 p.m. — Gottshall is getting picked on here in the third inning as Mudge puts one just inside the line for an easy double. The hard contact might mean a quick hook is coming soon for the Lady Vols starter in a must-win game.
7:48 p.m. — That was Keen's first home run since May 2021 and her first as a Seminole — and quite the time for it.
7:46 p.m. — GOODBYE SOFTBALL! The first home run of the year for Bethaney Keen is a rocket to right center field to give Florida State the lead! The eighth place hitter gets the job done with a loud beginning to the third inning.
Top of third inning: FSU 1, Tennessee 1
7:41 p.m. — Leonard walks another, but is able to navigate out of the inning — a quiet one at the plate for Tennessee.
7:36 p.m. — Leonard returns to the circle for FSU to start the bottom half of the second. Can she settle in after a rocky first?
Bottom of second inning: FSU 1, Tennessee 1
7:33 p.m. — Gottshall bounces back to retire the next three batters, but the damage is done. We'll see whether that trip to Area 51 haunts the Lady Vols as the action progresses.
7:28 p.m. — And just like that, THIS BALL GAME IS TIED! The Lady Vols lead vanishes just as quickly as it appears, after Michaela Edenfield launches a no-doubter to left-center field.
Top of second inning: FSU 0, Tennessee 1
7:23 p.m. — Leonard limits the damage to only one run. Gottshall is staked to the early lead, but if Tennessee's bats continue to make noise, it'll be a long night for FSU.
7:20 p.m. — Following the blast, a walk and another hard hit ball against Leonard gets the FSU bullpen cranking early in the first inning. The 'Noles have the luxury of having to win only one game to advance, but they are making sure it doesn't get out of hand.
7:17 p.m. — IT'S OUT OF HERE! Just like that, more hard contact against Leonard and Zaida Puni puts one in the seats. It's 1-0 Lady Vols.
7:15 p.m. — Kiki Milloy laces one that was seemingly destined to find the outfield, but FSU's shortstop Josie Muffley is having none of that with yet another web gem. Hard contact off Leonard might spell doom against this Tennessee lineup though. Something to watch.
7:14 p.m. — Mack Leonard is now taking the mound for FSU. It's only her fourth start since March.
Bottom of first inning: FSU 0, Tennessee 0
7:12 p.m. — Gottshall is dealing in the first inning, setting down the 'Noles 1-2-3 with relative ease. Nice start for the senior in a must-win game.
7:07 p.m. — And we're off in Oklahoma City. Gottshall makes quick work of the leadoff hitter, Kaley Mudge, to get things started.
Top of first inning: FSU 0, Tennessee 0
7:05 p.m. — Only one commercial break separates FSU and Tennessee from getting started, which means ESPN had one more chance to get you hyped up. Take a look.
6:52 p.m. — Starting lineups are out with the action starting just moments from now. The Lady Vols start Payton Gottshall, who hasn't pitched since Thursday — a win for Tennessee. FSU counters with Mack Leonard in the circle, a senior that pitched 4.1 innings against Georgia on May 26 — a 4-2 win for the 'Noles.
6:45 p.m. — We are only 15 minutes away from first pitch, which means there is still plenty of time to enjoy some of the pregame content from both teams.
It just means more. pic.twitter.com/e8fLCFuz6x— Tennessee Softball (@Vol_Softball) June 5, 2023
How to watch FSU vs. Tennessee in NCAA softball semifinal
- Start time: 7 p.m. ET
- TV channel: ESPN
- Live stream: ESPN+, Fubo
The action between Florida State and Tennessee gets started at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. For those without cable, you can catch the game on ESPN+ or Fubo, which comes with a free trial for new subscribers.
Beth Mowins, Michele Smith, Jessica Mendoza and Holly Rowe will have the call for ESPN from Oklahoma City.
Women's College World Series schedule 2023
Monday, June 5
|Matchup||Time (ET)||TV channel|
|No. 1 Oklahoma 4, No. 9 Stanford 2 (9 inn.)||Noon||ESPN, Fubo|
|Game 13: No. 3 Florida State vs. No. 4 Tennessee||7 p.m.||ESPN, Fubo|
|Game 14 (if necessary): Florida State vs. Tennessee||9:30 p.m.||ESPN, Fubo|
Wednesday, June 7
|Matchup||Time (ET)||TV channel|
|WCWS finals Game 1||8 p.m.||ESPN, Fubo|
Thursday, June 8
|Matchup||Time (ET)||TV channel|
|WCWS finals Game 2||7:30 p.m.||ESPN, Fubo|
Friday, June 9
|Matchup||Time (ET)||TV channel|
|WCWS finals Game 3 (if necessary)||8 p.m.||ESPN, Fubo|