OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Jordan Strickland hit a pair of two-run homers, Heather Stearns and Whitney Canion combined on a five-hitter and Baylor beat Florida State 7-2 on Saturday in a Women’s College World Series elimination game.
Baylor (48-15) advanced to play Kentucky later Saturday in another elimination game. Florida State (55-9) managed only two runs in its two WCWS games, losing 3-0 to Oregon in the first round.
Florida State’s national player of the year, pitcher Lacey Waldrop, struggled for a second straight game. After giving up 10 hits to Oregon, Waldrop (38-7) surrendered six hits to the Bears in four innings, including three in a three-run second inning highlighted by Strickland’s first homer. Clare Hosack and Linsey Hays hit sharp singles before Strickland’s shot over the left-center field wall.
Meanwhile, Stearns — making her first start since May 3 against Iowa State — struck out the side in the first inning and gave up four hits while striking out seven in 4 2/3 innings.
“Heather Stearns hasn’t thrown in a long, long time,” Baylor coach Glenn Moore said. “For her to come out and pitch a game like that against Florida State, a great hitting team, I can’t say enough good things about her. It was an exceptionally well-pitched game.
“Jordan swung the bat and really stepped up. I think our whole team was more relaxed this time.”
Robin Landrith’s RBI single keyed a two-run fourth that put the Bears up 5-0.
In the fifth, the Seminoles got a two-out, two-run double from Briana Hamilton off Stearns (14-4). But with the potential tying run at the plate, Canion — Baylor’s ace — retired Kelly Hensley and finished the game with her second save of the season.
Strickland followed in the sixth with her second homer. It was her third multi-homer game of the season, with the others coming in consecutive games against Oklahoma State on April 18-19.
“We had a completely different approach today,” Strickland said. “We knew it was one-and-done and we weren’t ready for this season to be done yet. We just came in with a lot of intensity today and just kind of were working to put it all together.
“For me, once I stepped to the plate in the seven-hole, it was more relaxed because the hitters in front of me had been doing their jobs and they were on base.”
Hays finished 3-for-3 with two stolen bases and three runs scored for Baylor.
Florida State was making its first WCWS appearance in 10 years.
“What an outstanding venture for our program,” Florida State coach Lonni Alameda said. “This senior class has been outstanding in guiding us to be relentless in the pursuit of being here. We’ve really enjoyed this. We’ve enjoyed the support.
“Everything we’re learning right now as a program is going to get us back here.”
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