Pitching helps Stanford bounce Bama from WCWS; UW wins opener

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 on Friday night.

Vawter allowed one hit in 5 1/3 innings. Canady stuck out three 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 drop ball and changeup are as good as anyone's in the country. I think NiJa's rise ball 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 claim its first World Series win since 2004. The Cardinal (46-14) will play the loser of Saturday's Florida State-Washington matchup in an elimination game on Sunday.

Montana Fouts delivered a gutsy performance in the circle for Alabama (45-22). She wore a brace over the left knee she hyperextended during the Southeastern Conference tournament. The nation's strikeout leader collected four more Ks while tossing a five-hitter.

"She's just an icon in the sport," Alabama coach Patrick 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 to lift No. 6 Oklahoma State past No. 15 Utah 8-0 in five innings in an elimination game.

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

"We definitely had a game plan about picking the pitches that we wanted, being on time for our pitch," Wynne said. "I think that that's what made us most successful tonight was attacking early in the counts, hunting the pitches that we knew we could drive very well."

The Cowgirls (47-15) will play the loser of Saturday's game between No. 1 seed Oklahoma and No. 4 seed Tennessee in an elimination game on Sunday.

Oklahoma State is set up well for a run in the tournament. Kilfoyl only threw 53 pitches, plus her complete game allowed the Cowgirls to save their other star pitcher, Kelly Maxwell.

Utah (42-16) was playing in its first World Series 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. Sydney Sandez gave up six runs in just one inning to take the loss.

"We've tried so hard our past five years to get here," senior Haley Denning said. "It's just awesome to be here. We just wanted to try to win for our team. But obviously it sometimes doesn't happen like that."

Washington 4, Utah 1: Rylee Holtorf had three hits, including a two-run homer, to help No. 7 seed Washington win its World Series opener against Utah in the day's first game.

Holtorf, who entered the contest with a .263 batting average, went 3-for-3 with three RBIs against the Huskies' Pac-12 rival. She said she didn't approach the game any differently than usual.

"Every at-bat is kind of the same mindset," she said. "The stage is a little bigger, but it's the same -- getting in the box, same routine, all of that. Just competing the best I can."

The game was moved from Thursday night because of weather, and Washington coach Heather Tarr said the wait was difficult.

"It's tough to extend it another 15 hours," she said. "Nobody's fault or anything like that, but it was just a challenge. I thought we [handled] that well."

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

Washington's Lindsay Lopez won in relief of starter Ruby Meylan, allowing one hit in 3⅔ shutout innings. Meylan gave up just one run and two hits in 3⅓ innings.

The winner of Washington's game against Florida State on Saturday will move to the semifinals of the double-elimination bracket.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.