Kistler's solo homer, Rothrock's 2-hitter lead Florida past Oklahoma State in World Series

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Katie Kistler hit a solo homer for the game's only run and Keagan Rothrock threw a two-hitter as No. 4 seed Florida defeated No. 5 Oklahoma State 1-0 on Thursday night in the Women's College World Series opener for both teams.

“What a great game,” Florida coach Tim Walton said. “Kind of a good old-fashioned softball game. Something we haven’t seen in a long time.”

Rothrock, a freshman, struck out three and walked two. She threw just 94 pitches to claim the win for the Gators (52-13). It was her 31st victory of the season, which ties her for the nation's lead.

Oklahoma State’s Lexi Kilfoyl, a first-team National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-American and a top-three finalist for USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, took the loss. She allowed just two hits and struck out five in six innings. It was just her fourth loss in 30 decisions this season.

“I really think it was a good softball game,” Oklahoma State coach Kenny Gajewski said. “We just came up on the wrong end. They had the one big blow. It felt like a dogfight right from the start. I thought both pitchers were extremely sharp.”

Kilfoyl took a no-hitter into the fifth before Kistler's blast. Kistler immediately raised her right arm and pointed her index finger to the sky after connecting. It was just her fifth homer of the season.

“All I felt was just straight joy looking at my teammates, everybody jumping up and down,” Kistler said. “I was happy to do it for my team and Keagan, as well, pitching her butt off that game.”

Florida will play No. 1 seed Texas on Saturday, with the winner heading to the semifinals.

Oklahoma State will play No. 8 Stanford on Friday in an elimination game. The World Series is a double-elimination tournament in bracket play before it shifts to a best-of-three format for the championship series.

“Got our work cut out for us here,” Gajewski said. “But I like what this team has always done, and that’s respond. That’s all we can do at this point.”

Oklahoma State had a chance to possibly produce some offense with the game still scoreless. With the bases empty and one out in the fifth, Oklahoma State's Lexi McDonald got a hold of a Rothrock pitch and drove it to the wall. Florida's Kendra Falby caught it and ran into the fence, where Korbe Otis immediately hugged her. Oklahoma State did not score in the inning.

“Just going out there and being like, ‘I’m going to catch every ball,’” Falby said. “That’s all I was focused on. Like everything kind of just went, sound, and then it was just me and the ball. All I thought about was catching at that moment. I wanted to keep the game 0-0 again for Keagan because she was pitching amazing.”


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