OKLAHOMA CITY — For the second time in three seasons, former Lynnwood High School star Maddie Morgan and the University of Alabama were one win away from playing on college softball’s biggest stage.
But once again, the Crimson Tide fell just short.
No. 3 seed Alabama saw its national championship dreams come to an end with an 8-5 season-ending loss to No. 10 seed Florida State on Monday at the Women’s College World Series.
Florida State (48-11-1) advanced to face top-seeded Oklahoma in the best-of-three championship series that will determine the sport’s national champion.
After winning their first two games at the eight-team Women’s College World Series, the Crimson Tide (52-9) had two chances to earn one win over Florida State and punch their ticket to the finals.
But the Seminoles blanked Alabama 2-0 on Sunday, which snapped the Crimson Tide’s 20-game win streak and forced another game between the two teams. Florida State then raced to an 8-0 third-inning lead in Monday’s deciding game and held off a late Alabama rally to advance to the championship series.
Alabama starting pitcher Montana Fouts, who was coming off a perfect game Friday night against UCLA, gave up six earned runs to the Seminoles on Monday in just 2 2/3 innings. Morgan went 0-for-3 in the loss.
Morgan, a left-handed-hitting third baseman, started 48 of the Crimson Tide’s 61 games this season as a senior. She went through some rough stretches at the plate earlier in the year, but heated up down the stretch and was a steady contributor during Alabama’s postseason run.
Morgan batted .313 over her final 18 games, with at least one hit in 14 of those contests. In the Crimson Tide’s nine NCAA Tournament games, she went 7-for-24 with one home run, one double and four RBIs. She finished the season with a .254 batting average.
During the super regional stage of the NCAA Tournament, Morgan came through with a pair of big hits in Alabama’s two-game sweep of Southeastern Conference rival Kentucky.
In the opening game of the super regional, Morgan lined a run-scoring single to give the Crimson Tide a 4-2 lead in the fourth inning. That proved to be the deciding run in Alabama’s 4-3 win.
And the following day, Morgan hit her first home run of the year, launching a two-run blast in the fourth inning to give the Crimson Tide a three-run cushion. Alabama went on to earn a 4-1 victory, which secured the powerhouse program’s 13th trip to the Women’s College World Series.