Florida State softball to play Tennessee in Women's College World Series semifinals

The stage is set for the 2023 NCAA Softball Women's College World Series semifinals and No. 3 Florida State softball knows its opponent for Monday.

No. 4 Tennessee defeated No. 6 Oklahoma 3-1 behind a strong outing from Volunteer ace Ashley Rogers.

The Volunteers (50-9) and Seminoles (55-10) will play in the semifinals at 7 p.m. Monday at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium.

FSU, which is 2-0 for the first time in program history in the WCWS, needs just one win in two games to advance to the Championship Series against the winner of No. 1 Oklahoma (58-1) and No. 9 Stanford (47-14). The Sooners are also one win away.

UT bounced back from a 9-0 run-rule loss to Oklahoma on Saturday in the winner's bracket to be forced into the elimination game Sunday.

"I think just putting it behind us," Rogers said of how the Volunteers bounced back. "We don't think that was us on the field yesterday. 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. When we step on the field, we focus on Oklahoma State and focus on our opponent. Just learning from our mistakes every day and continuing to trust each other and trust our game."

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Ashley Rogers dominant in the circle

Rogers threw 126 pitches in a complete game effort, allowing one earned run on four hits, striking out four and walking two.

Of her 136 pitches, 85 went for strikes. She recorded 11 flyball outs and five on the ground against the 26 batters faced, lowering her season ERA to 0.84 to pick up her 20th win.

"I feel like I'm pretty conditioned to throw that," Rogers said following the start. "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."

The lone mistake of the game was a solo shot surrendered to Morgyn Wynne in the sixth inning.

"We knew that our game plan against Ashley Rogers was not to chase," Wynne said. "I think that's kind of what we did a little bit tonight was chasing that rise ball from the box. I guess it looked good tonight.

"So that's kind of where we fell short was chasing after those pitches that were intended for us to chase them. I kind of fell victim to that in my first two at-bats, and then I turned and looked to my hitting coach right before that last at-bat and said what did I do? She said, 'You just got long.'

"I knew the only thing I wanted to do was get short in my last at-bat. The first two strikes were too elevated for me. Those were the pitches I was chasing the first two at-bats. And the third one I hit out, that's the one I want. Stayed short to it and long through it."

Rogers' start saved Tennessee head coach Karen Weekly from having to use any other pitcher, including No. 2 starter Payton Gottshall.

Gottshall is 16-1 on the season with a 1.57 ERA with 130 strikeouts and 22 walks in 106 ⅔ innings.

"Once Ashley goes out there, it's really not going to do us a lot of good to pull her early and try to save anything. Plus she's so darn good," Weekly said.

"But I just felt like she got stronger and stronger. She threw a lot of pitches, like she said, she typically does. To get that kind of outing out of her today was fantastic. Really I'm happy that we didn't have to throw Payton today. We'll have a very fresh Payton for tomorrow."

Centerfielder and leadoff Kiki Miloy went 1-for-3, scoring a run and drawing a walk for the Volunteers. She leads the team with her 25 home runs and 86 runs scored leading the nation, to go along with a .416 average.

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Tennessee-FSU history

Florida State avoids seeing an Oklahoma State program it defeated to open the WCWS.

However, the Seminoles and Volunteers have a history of their own.

Tennessee won the SEC regular season champions and SEC Tournament before going 3-0 in the Knoxville Regional and sweeping Texas in Knoxville Super Regional.

The Volunteers opened the WCWS with a 10-5 win over No. 5 Alabama before the loss to the Sooners.

Tennessee is 5-3 all-time against the Seminoles but has lost three in a row in the series. FSU won the last meeting 9–3 in a meeting in Clearwater, Florida on Feb. 17, 2022.

Reach Ehsan Kassim at or follow him on Twitter at @Ehsan_Kassim. You can also follow our coverage on Facebook (NoleSports) and Instagram (tlhnolesports).

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This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: FSU softball: Ashley Rogers setups up matchup with Seminoles in WCWS