Whitney Canion got the start, despite being roughed up in Oklahoma City this year. Would she be able to find her mojo again?
Florida led off the game hitting. One hit and one out gave Whitney Canion the early advantage. The next batter was walked, but Canion came back and struck out Lauren Haeger swinging. A short grounder from the fourth batter saw the Lady Bears end Florida's first inning in much better fashion than Thursday. Whitney Canion started off well. She pitched a tad slower than normal, but the control was there for her. An encouraging start from the Baylor defense. 0-0 all.
Ace Hannah Rogers, who has been phenomenal in this year's edition of the World Series, once again gets the start for the Gators. The first Baylor bat, Thumann, popped out on a nice play by the short stop. Ari Hawkins laid down an Oregon-esque bunt and beat the throw to first! Holly Holl crushes one down the right field line that went foul by mere millimeters. On the next pitch, Holl launched on deep to center field, but speed demon Hawkins beat the throw to second by the narrowest of margins! Hosack comes to bat next but lines one out to first, stranding Hawkins at second. 0-0 all.
Canion and her omnipresent black sunglasses took to the circle in the top of the second looking to continue the momentum from the first inning. Bailey Castro takes the play for the Gators hitting 4 for 6 with 4 RBIs and 2 runs in the two games Florida have played. Castro took her base as Canion walked her in seven pitches. Outfielder Briana Little knocked one deep over Linsey Hays in left field, who was unable to make the grab, allowing runners to advance to 2nd and 3rd. According to the broadcasters, Canion is still feeling pain in her surgically-repaired knee. Dang sports injuries. Schwarz puts one right down to Canion, who fakes the throw well enough to first so that runner Castro was able to be tagged out by catcher Hosack in a pickle situation. Schwarz stole second. Liz Paul warming up. Murno popped up to Hawkins in the infield, preventing any runs from being scored. Canion takes Kathlyn Medina to a full count before Medina grounded out to Strickland. Baylor somehow escaped that half inning unscathed. Canion is clearly feeling the injury, but she is still pushing through it and leading her team. 0-0 all.
The bottom of the second saw Linsey Hays up to bat first for the Lady Bears. She knocks just past the first baseman and were it not for a save by the catcher on the errant throw by the second basemen, would have taken second. A poor bunt pop up from Smith gave Baylor their first out. Shortstop Strickland grounded into a double play and the Gators end the inning. 0-0 all.
Kelsey Stewart popped up on the fourth pitch to Hawkins, who bobbled, but thankfully caught it. Merritt takes Canion to a full count and draw the walk on an inside pitch. One on one out. Canion's injury is causing her pitching motion to be out of sync. Haeger hit a roller down to Smith at third, who captured it and was able to make the throw to first from her knees! Unfortunately, the next batter, Tofft doubled to left center field and brought in Merritt from second. 1-0 Gators with Castro up, two outs. Canion strikes out Castro swinging to hold Florida to one run. 1-0 Florida.
Bottom of the third. Landrith popped out to second. Cargill lined out on a phenomenal diving grab by 3B Tofft. Thumann grounded out and nothing doing for the Lady Bears. That was quick. 1-0 Gators.
Briana Little hit a lead-off triple past Ari Hawkins. Shoot. Canion got a 62-mph riser past Schwarz to send her down swinging. A bunt from Munro causes Canion, who fielded it, to hesitate, sending Little home and Munro to first. A sacrifice bunt from Medina sent Munro to second with two outs. In similar fashion to the third, Canion caught the next batter with a change up to end the half inning. 2-0 Gators.
Bottom of the fourth and the Lady Bears are searching for runs. Hawkins lined out to 2B off the first pitch. Not a great start. Holl flied out and Baylor cannot seem to get anything going offensively. Too easy for the Gators; Hosack grounds out and to the fifth we go. 2-0 Gators.
Sarah Smith got Merritt out at first for a quick one up one down. Haeger flied out to Hays in left field. Two up two down. A bunt to the right caught Canion off-guard, who struggled to reach the ball on her injured leg. Tofft reached on the bunt. Castro HBP. Two on two out. Another HBP and the bases are loaded. Coach Moore comes out to talk. Schwarz hit one into the gap in right field and the bases clear. Schwarz is thrown out at third, but not before three runs score. No activity in the Baylor bullpen yet. 5-0 Florida.
One up one down as Hays flied out to CF. Lady Bears need some offense. Smith knocked in a single and Young in to pinch run. Strickland up to bat. STRICKLAND WITH THE SCREAMER DOWN THE LEFT FIELD LINE! Young makes it across for the score on an errant catch by the catcher and Strickland is safe at third! It's Water Buffalo time y'all! Robin Landrith took Rogers to ten pitches and drew the walk! Runners at the corners with Lindsey Cargill up to bat. She puts a dinker down the line, but gets Landrith to second. Runners at second and third with two outs. Can Thumann get another clutch hit? SHE DOES IT! TWO RUNS ACROSS ON THE HIT DOWN THE RIGHT FIELD LINE!!! 5-3!!! Hawkins flied out to SS to end the inning but we're not dead yet! 5-3 Florda.
Whitney Canion remains in in the top of the sixth. She got Aubree Munro on the pop out to Hawkins. One down. Canion got ahead, 0-2, on Taylore Fuller before Fuller was able to line one down the left field line that might have been foul but it fit the umpire and bounced back in. On at first. Stewart laid one down to SS and suddenly it's two on one out. Canion beaned Merritt and it's suddenly bases loaded with one out. Coach Moore is not moving to change pitchers. Flyout to Strickland by Haeger. Two outs bases loaded. Canion nailed the batter and it's 6-3. Twitter is currently ablaze with calls to pull Canion, but she got the strike out. 6-3 Florida going into the bottom of the sixth.
Holl started off on the wrong foot with a ground out to first. Baylor down to their final five outs. Hosack went down swinging on a pitch that curved wayyyy outside. Four outs to save the season. Hays flied out and we're down to the final inning. Still 6-3 Gators.
Canion still out in the circle. She's at 137 pitches. Hays made a nice grab to rob Little of a base hit. Schwarz grounded to Hawkins, who had the easy play a first, but Hawkins sent the throw high and the Gators placed one on. Hawkins redeemed herself by securing the following popup, Two outs for the Gators. another popup and it's miracle Water Buffalo time once again. 6-3 Gators.
Sarah Smith led off for the Lady Bears and went down swinging. Two outs to go. Strickland grounded out. One out. A pop out and that'll do it.
What an amazing season from the Lady Bears. Hurts to lose, but all credit to Florida. They are an extremely solid team and they are going to give whomever they play in the Finals fits.
Thank you to the seniors for four (or six) amazing years! Go forth and Sic 'em!