OKLAHOMA CITY — Tennessee moved past a lopsided loss and focused on the opportunity at hand.
Ashley Rogers threw a complete game, and the fourth-seeded Lady Vols defeated No. 6 Oklahoma State 3-1 on Sunday to qualify for the Women's College World Series semifinals.
Tennessee's ace gave up one run on four hits and struck out four. She returned to the circle after not playing in a 9-0 loss to Oklahoma on Saturday that put the Lady Vols on the brink of elimination.
“We don’t think that was us on the field yesterday,” Rogers said. “Just knowing who we are as a team and just playing Tennessee softball and just flushing it, turning the page — it’s a new day, it’s a new game.”
Rogers threw 136 pitches.
“I feel like I’m pretty conditioned to throw that,” she said. “I’ve probably thrown over 100 pitches most of my games. Trusting my preparation, trusting the defense, continue to fight and fight every single pitch.”
Tennessee (51-9) advanced to play No. 3 Florida State (57-9) on Monday. It is the Lady Vols' best World Series showing since finishing as runner-up to Oklahoma in 2013.
It is a double-elimination bracket, and Florida State is unbeaten while Tennessee has a loss, so the Lady Vols will need to win twice on Monday while Florida State will need to win just once to advance to the best-of-three championship series.
Rogers’ effort allowed the Lady Vols to save Payton Gottshall for Monday. Gottshall has a 16-1 record with a 1.57 earned run average.
Oklahoma State (47-16) made its fourth straight World Series appearance but hasn’t reached the championship series. The Cowgirls reached the semifinals last year.
“We’re just going to keep kicking the shins of our opponents, and we’ll eventually break this door down, and we’ll look back to teams like this,” Oklahoma State coach Kenny Gajewski said.
No. 1 Oklahoma (57-1) will play No. 9 Stanford (47-14) in the other semifinal. Stanford will need to win twice, while the two-time defending champion Sooners will need one victory to move on.
Kiki Milloy got the Lady Vols going against Oklahoma State starter Kelly Maxwell when she walked, stole second and scored on a double by Zaida Puni. Rylie West's RBI single made it 2-0, and Maxwell was replaced.
Oklahoma State threatened in the fourth but failed to score. Tallen Edwards doubled, but Tennessee second baseman Destiny Rodriguez threw Micaela Wark out at home to end the inning.
In the fifth, Puni got on with an error, then scored on a throwing error to make it 3-0.
Morgan Wynne cranked a solo shot just inside the left foul pole in the sixth to get Oklahoma State on the board, but that's all the Cowgirls could produce.
Maxwell took the loss for the Cowgirls. Lexi Kilfoyl did not allow a hit in 3 2/3 innings of relief.
Oklahoma State lost 11 of 13 before the NCAA Tournament but went undefeated through regionals and super regionals, allowing just three runs in five games to qualify for the World Series.
“It was mainly people on the outside who doubted us, and I think we stayed calm and the coaches helped us stay calm within each other,” Kilfoyl said. “We needed to look at the past and see what we’ve done and kind of take that and look at all the good stuff and use that to our advantage.”
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