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Canady leads Stanford past UCLA to advance to CWS Women’s Semifinals

OKLAHOMA CITY — The last Pac-12 softball game ever played was the first between No. 6 seed UCLA and No. 8 Stanford in the Women’s College World Series.

Sunday night’s playoff game at Devon Park proved to be a showcase for Stanford pitcher NiJaree Canady, who threw a complete-game three-hitter in a 3-1 win that sent the Cardinal into the semis. final.

Canady, America’s collegiate softball player of the year, struck out eight times, including UCLA All-American Maya Brady three times. She improved to 5-0 in playoff games during the postseason.

Stanford (50-16) made things interesting in UCLA’s final at-bat. Canady retired the first two batters, then hit Savannah Palo in the hand to put a runner on first. Thessa Malau’ulu hit a single to put runners on first and second, but pinch hitter Ramsey Suarez grounded out to shortstop to end the game and the season for UCLA.

Stanford faces No. 1 Texas on Monday at 4 p.m. PDT and will need to defeat the Longhorns twice to reach the best-of-three championship series. If Stanford wins the first game on Monday, the teams would meet on the same field soon after.

Stanford and UCLA had played dozens of times before Sunday, but never on this stage. UCLA (43-12) had won seven straight against Stanford, including three in a row this season.

The Pac-12 is disbanding, with Stanford heading to the Atlantic Coast Conference and UCLA to the Big Ten.

Canada gave up a second-inning home run to Megan Grant to make it 1-0. But the Cardinal scored twice in the third on a double by Taryn Kern against Bruins starter Kaitlyn Terry, who was relieved, and on a single by Ava Gall against reliever Taylor Tinsley.

In the fifth, Stanford’s Emily Jones and Kaitlyn Lim had safely reaching hits to put runners on first and second with no outs. The next batter, Kern, moved runners in with a groundout, then pinch hitter Allie Clements hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score Jones and make the score 3-1.

Brady, Tom Brady’s niece who struck out three against Oklahoma starter Kelly Maxwell on Saturday, struggled again Sunday against Canady.

California Daily Newspapers

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