Alabama’s softball season ends with 0-2 showing at Women’s College World Series

AP photo by Nate Billings / Alabama softball players watch from the dugout during the seventh inning of a Women's College World Series elimination game against Stanford on Friday in Oklahoma City. Stanford won 2-0, ending the Crimson Tide's season.

OKLAHOMA CITY — Alana Vawter and NiJaree Canady combined for a one-hitter, and No. 9 seed Stanford defeated No. 5 seed Alabama 2-0 in a Women's College World Series elimination game Friday night.

The Cardinal pair outdueled Alabama's Montana Fouts, one of the nation's most accomplished pitchers.

Vawter allowed one hit in 5 1/3 innings. Canady, a freshman, stuck out three batters in 1 2/3 innings for the save.

"I think they're exceptional off of each other," Stanford coach Jessica Allister said. "I think AV's dropball and changeup are as good as anyone's in the country. I think NiJa's riseball is as good as anyone's in the country. When you have the opportunity to use both of those things, it's foolish not to."

Sydney Steele hit a solo homer in the seventh and knocked in both runs to help Stanford earn its first WCWS win since 2004. The Cardinal (46-14) will play another elimination game Sunday, facing the loser of Saturday's matchup between third-seeded Florida State (56-9) and seventh-seeded Washington (44-13).

Canady put the Crimson Tide down in order in the last inning, striking out the first two batters before getting the final hitter to line out to center.

Fouts delivered a gutsy performance in her final game for Alabama (45-22), which went 0-2 in Oklahoma City, having lost 10-5 to fourth-seeded Tennessee in the WCWS opener a day earlier. The Tide were the first to be knocked out of the eight-team field in Oklahoma City.

Fouts wore a brace over the left knee she hyperextended during the Southeastern Conference tournament. The nation's strikeouts leader and National Fastpitch Coaches Association first-team All-American collected four more strikeouts while tossing a five-hitter.

She wasn't ready for her college career to end, thanking Alabama coach Patrick Murphy and others for her time with the Tide.

"These people are my everything," she said. "They really are. I couldn't have asked for a better place to spend my dream. This has always been my dream. I will have people for the rest of my life. I don't even have the words. I don't know if I ever will. I don't know if I'll ever have the words for what this place, Murph and the coaches and these teammates mean to me. I have a home."

Fouts has been a USA Softball collegiate player of the year finalist three times and threw a perfect game against UCLA in the 2021 WCWS. She has already been drafted by two leagues: Women's Professional Fastpitch and Athletes Unlimited.

"She's just an icon in the sport," Murphy said. "I hope to God that she gets to wear the USA uniform in 2028 in L.A. because I think that's the next time it will be in the Olympics. But she will be on the cover of every newspaper, every magazine, you name it, on the way up to the Olympics in '28, guarantee you, because she's not done with the sport by any means. You're going to see her for a long, long time."

Oklahoma State 8, Utah 0

Lexi Kilfoyl threw a three-hitter as No. 6 seed Oklahoma State beat No. 15 Utah in a WCWS elimination game shortened to five innings by the run rule.

Oklahoma State scored six runs in the second inning, including a two-run double by Morgyn Wynne. Katelynn Carwile had two hits and three RBIs for the Cowgirls (47-15).

Oklahoma State will play another elimination game Sunday, facing the loser of Saturday's matchup between No. 1 seed Oklahoma (57-1) and Tennessee (50-8).

The Cowgirls fell into the loser's bracket with an 8-0 loss in six innings to Florida State in the WCWS opener for both teams late Thursday night, but Oklahoma State is set up well for a run in the tournament. Kilfoyl threw only 53 pitches against Utah, and her complete game allowed the Cowgirls to save their other star pitcher, Kelly Maxwell.

Utah (42-16) was in the WCWS for the first time since 1994. The Utes lost to Washington earlier in the day, and ace Mariah Lopez used her energy to keep her team in that game.

Against the Cowgirls, Utah's Sydney Sandez gave up six runs in just one inning to take the loss.

Washington 4, Utah 1

Rylee Holtorf had three hits, including a two-run homer, as the Huskies beat the Utes in the WCWS opener for both teams.

Holtorf, who entered with a .263 batting average, went 3-for-3 with three RBIs in a game that was postponed Thursday night, when inclement weather delays in the preceding game led to what would have led to an extremely late start for the first round's fourth and final matchup. Instead, Utah and Washington met at midday Friday.

Washington's Lindsay Lopez won in relief of starter Ruby Meylan, allowing one hit in 3 2/3 shutout innings. Meylan gave up just one run and two hits in 3 1/3 innings.

Mariah Lopez went the distance for Utah. Kendall Lundberg's RBI double produced the Utes' only run.

Washington will play Florida State on Saturday, with the winner of that game one victory from advancing out of the double-elimination bracket and into the WCWS championship series.

Holtorf hit her fifth homer of the season, a two-run drive in the second, to give the Huskies the 2-1 lead. Her RBI single in the fourth made it 3-1, and Washington manufactured another run in the sixth.