OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Taran Alvelo bounced back in a major way on Saturday.
Two days after losing to Arizona, she returned to being her usual dominant self. After getting a save against Minnesota in the first game, she struck out 16 in a complete-game shutout, and Washington defeated Oklahoma State 1-0 in a Women’s College World Series elimination game.
“Sometimes it’s easy to dwell on the loss or, ‘I should have done this to change the game,'” she said. “Instead of just being like, I get to wake up tomorrow and play two games. I get to play two games with my best friends at the end of the season. You just find the love for each other and for the game.”
Washington coach Heather Tarr called Alvelo’s effort against Oklahoma State one of her best. The senior allowed just three hits and didn’t walk a batter.
“One of the most mature games she’s thrown as a Husky,” Tarr said. “It’s great to see her be able to thrive, take all the things she’s learned, continue to stay tough and do it for her team and for this program.
Washington (52-8) advanced to play UCLA in the semifinals. The Huskies will need to win twice to advance to the best-of-three championship series, while UCLA will only need to win once.
UCLA swept Washington in a three-game series in March.
Washington looked as if it would get on the board in the second inning, but Chyenne Factor reached over the fence to grab Amirah Milloy’s blast to center field with a runner on to end the inning.
Milloy wasn’t done, though. Her single in the fourth scored Kaija Gibson for the game’s only run.
Oklahoma State (45-17) nearly got something going in the top of the sixth, but Washington’s Sami Reynolds caught Madi Sue Montgomery’s fly ball against the wall to end the threat.
“I hugged her,” Alvelo said. “Sitting there with open arms, she just ran into my arms. Making sure she’s OK. Then I can just shake her and be like, ‘You’re so freakin’ awesome.'”
Samantha Show pitched a complete game and gave up seven hits for Oklahoma State.
Oklahoma State defeated Florida on Thursday for its first World Series win since 1998. The 13th-seeded Cowgirls knocked off defending national champion Florida State to get to the World Series and were the lowest-seeded team to qualify.
“I couldn’t be prouder of this team, what we’ve done, how we’ve shown the whole softball world we’re a top-tier softball program,” Show said. “Getting here and showing people we don’t just let up easy, like we’re going to fight. That’s exactly what this program is about.”
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP