Eight teams will be vying for a national championship when the Women’s College World Series gets started on Thursday, and the Florida State Seminoles (53-8) have earned their spot among them.

Sweeping the Utah Utes (35-22) in their super regional in Tallahassee at JoAnn Graf Field over the weekend was the Seminoles’ ticket to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma where the WCWS will be played starting this week. Utah fought hard in game one, taking just a 2-1 deficit into the bottom of the sixth inning. It was there though that a four-run onslaught fueled by freshman shortstop Cali Harrod’s three-run home run put the game out of reach and gave the Noles their insurmountable lead.

Said head coach Lonni Alameda about Harrod, “Throughout the year Cali has been chipping away to be that player for us, and having that mentality to ‘water the bamboo’ has really shown throughout the year. She has been outstanding at making sure she is learning from the upperclassmen and she is right where we want her with our team at this moment.”

Game two saw the Utes struggle even more to get runs on the board against FSU’s star pitcher Meghan King (25-3), as she pitched a complete game, allowing just four hits. King struck out four batters while walking only one, needing only 72 pitches to down Utah in seven innings while facing just 22 batters. Her dominant performance sent Utah home for the rest of the season.

“I feel like we did everything we could,” Utah coach Amy Hogue said. “We were waiting for a break, we were waiting for a mistake and we never really opened the door for any of those things to happen. And you gotta tip your cap to them.”

The Seminoles now move on to the WCWS, where they will play in the first game of the tournament against Georgia at noon ET on Thursday. The 2016 bracket gets underway with other matchups on Thursday featuring Auburn vs. UCLA, Alabama vs. Oklahoma, and Michigan vs. LSU.

The WCWS will be played as a double-elimination tournament, with Thursday’s winners moving on to the “winners’” bracket and the losers playing each other in the “losers’” bracket in subsequent tournament games. FSU certainly has the wherewithal to win their third national championship, and the Seminoles have now appeared in nine WCWSs counting this season. Commanding pitching and timely hitting will continue to be their forte as they charge into the final stretch of the season.

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