Luna strikes out 14, Texas ousts Florida out of tournament with 3-0 victory
OKLAHOMA CITY -- After playing a 15-inning marathon to stave off elimination, second-seeded Florida ran into a quick turnaround at the Women's College World Series. To make matters worse, the Gators had to go up against NCAA strikeout leader Blaire Luna.
Luna struck out 14 in a one-hit shutout, Kim Bruins hit a three-run home run and fourth-seeded Texas beat Florida 3-0 Sunday to eliminate the Gators.
Luna (32-6), the nation's strikeout leader, gave up only a one-out single to Taylore Fuller in the fourth inning that zipped right down the left-field line. The Gators (58-9) were playing just more than 12 hours after prevailing 9-8 against Nebraska in the fifth World Series game ever to go 15 innings or longer.
''I really don't think that had anything to do with [Sunday]'s performance,'' Gators coach Tim Walton said. ''I think Blaire Luna had everything to do with [Sunday]'s performance more than anything. She was very good.''
Luna threw a no-hitter in the super regionals for fourth-seeded Texas (51-9), but didn't make it out of the third inning during the Longhorns' 10-2 loss to rival Oklahoma on Saturday. She was in command against Florida from the start, earning the Longhorns the chance to play Tennessee on Sunday night.
''I was really proud of how I did and just bouncing back. It's the World Series. That's what it's about,'' Luna said. ''[Sunday], I did a lot better job of mixing and it worked to my advantage.''
Hannah Rogers (33-7) gave up five hits and walked four, but couldn't match Luna's performance.
''She had a really good backdoor curve ball that was just getting the corner,'' Gators cleanup hitter Lauren Haeger said. ''The umpire was calling it, so the whole game it was very consistent, so we needed to make adjustments to it.
''She was mixing her pitches really well. She is a great pitcher, and she did what she needed to do.''
Bruins provided the Longhorns' only offense with a drive that just barely cleared the left-field fence in the top of the fourth inning. Taylor Hoagland and Taylor Thom drew walks before Bruins' three-run shot, which went to almost the exact spot she hit a home run in the Longhorns' World Series opener against Arizona State.
Bruins also had another fly ball that Sun Devils left-fielder Elizabeth Caporuscio jumped and caught just over the fence in the same area.
''That's just my spot right now,'' Bruins said. ''I'm just seeing the ball very well and I'm just trying to be more selective with the pitches I'm swinging at. I can't even explain it. I guess that's just my spot.''
Bruins had hit only three home runs in her first 57 games this season before going deep twice at the World Series.
''I guess just being a senior and this is the World Series. This is my last shot at it. I've just got to step up, and I guess I've just been saving them all for right now.''