OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — 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.

The pair outdueled one of the nation’s most accomplished pitchers in Alabama’s Montana Fouts.

Vawter allowed one hit in 5 1/3 innings. Canady, a freshman, 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.

Canady put the Crimson Tide down in order in the last inning, striking out the first two batters before getting the final hitter to line out to center.

Fouts delivered a gutsy performance in her final game for Alabama (45-22). She wore a brace over the left knee she hyperextended during the Southeastern Conference tournament. The nation’s strikeout leader and National Fastpitch Coaches Association first-team All-American collected four more Ks while tossing a five-hitter.

She wasn’t ready for her college career to end.

“These people are my everything,” she said. “They really are. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to spend my dream. This has always been my dream. I will have people for the rest of my life. I don’t even have the words. I don’t know if I ever will. I don’t know if I’ll ever have the words for what this place, Murph (Alabama coach Patrick Murphy), and the coaches, and these teammates mean to me. I have a home.”

Fouts has been a USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year finalist three times and threw a perfect game against UCLA in the 2021 World Series. She has been drafted by both the Women’s Professional Fastpitch and Athletes Unlimited softball leagues.

“She’s just an icon in the sport,” 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.”


Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: twitter.com/CliffBruntAP