By CLIFF BRUNT
AP Sports Writer
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Stanford’s NiJaree Canady outlasted Washington’s Ruby Meylan in a battle of Pac-12 freshman pitchers to push the Cardinal into the national semifinals.
Canady threw a one-hitter, and No. 9 seed Stanford beat No. 7 Washington 1-0 on Sunday in a Women’s College World Series elimination game.
Canady, the National Fastpitch Coaches Association’s Freshman of the Year, struck out nine and didn’t allow a walk. She credited her coach for helping her stay relaxed.
“Coach (Jessica) Allister always talks about slowing the game down, especially in this atmosphere, just trying to slow the game down,” Canady said. “I try to take a lot of deep breaths and just throw each pitch the best I can.”
Meylan gave up four hits, struck out five and walked one. No earned runs were scored in the game.
“It’s an old fashioned pitchers’ duel that we don’t see much of, but it was going to be whoever bent first,” Allister said.
Kylie Chung’s RBI single in the sixth scored Taylor Gindlesperger for the game’s only run. It was unearned because it came after a throwing error with two outs.
“I feel like our at-bats got better throughout the game,” Chung said. “I feel like we all had confidence, if we just kept sticking with it, that something was going to fall.”
Chung, a sophomore left fielder, was only starting for the 15th time this season.
“I couldn’t be more proud of Kylie and just her stick-to-itiveness,” Allister said. “It’s easy to think, I’m never really going to hit, but she continued to prepare, continued to prepare, and to see her get paid off now, it’s fun.”
Washington (44-15) had an opportunity in the sixth after two errors by Stanford put runners on first and third with two outs, but a pop-up to center ended the threat.
It will be Stanford’s program’s third trip to the semifinals and first since 2004. The Cardinal got there by scoring three runs in three games.
Stanford (47-14) will play two-time defending champion Oklahoma (58-1) on Monday. It is a double-elimination bracket and Oklahoma is unbeaten while Stanford has a loss, so the Cardinal will need to win twice on Monday while Oklahoma will need to win just once to advance to the best-of-three championship series.
Oklahoma is on a 50-game win streak and leads the nation in scoring, batting average, earned run average and fielding percentage. The Sooners defeated Stanford 2-0 on Thursday.
Stanford had a chance to score in the third against Washington on Sunday. Gindlesperger singled up the middle with Ellee Eck on second, but Washington centerfielder Brooklyn Carter threw Eck out at home to end the inning.
Washington nearly didn’t make it this far. The Huskies scored seven runs in the seventh to beat McNeese State 7-6 in the decisive regional game, then beat a strong Louisiana-Lafayette squad to qualify for the World Series.
Meylan said Washington fans have a lot to look forward to.
“The future is really, really bright,” she said. “We have some amazing, amazing girls, and I know we have a really good class coming in.”
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: twitter.com/CliffBruntAP