Blacksburg, VA - With No. 23 Seminole softball trailing 2-1 with two outs in the seventh, freshman Victoria East provided one of the biggest moments of the season when she lifted a two-run home run in game one to set the tone for a doubleheader sweep over Virginia Tech on Saturday afternoon at Tech Softball Park.
In front of an ESPNU audience in game one, the Seminoles (36-15, 15-2) were down to their last out and had sophomore Bailey Schinella on first base following a walk. East stared down a 1-2 pitch from Hokie pitcher Kelly Heinz (13-4) and delivered a two-run, game-winning home run to left center as Florida State took a 3-2 lead. East’s fourth and most important home run of the season was a pitch down and inside that she turned on.
Altogether, Florida State defeated Virginia 4-2 in game one and 11-0 in five innings in game two.
“For a freshman to stay in there like that with the crowd on their feet and she is down to her last strike, that was an incredible effort on Victoria’s part,” head coach Lonni Alameda said. “That homer set the tone for our offense the rest of the day and we took care of business from there. I’m very proud of the way we responded to a little adversity today.”
Following East’s big hit, Florida State’s offense produced well at the plate. In total, the Seminoles recorded 19 base hits on the day including four home runs. Florida State now has 52 home runs this season which breaks the school single-season record of 49 held by the 2007 team. The Noles have homered in 31 of their 51 games this season.
The Seminoles hold other impressive offensive marks: Their 305 runs scored are the most since the 2007 team totaled 337 runs. Florida State’s doubles (68) and triples (21) totals are its highest since 2010, and its 284 RBIs this season are the most since 2007 team had 296.
Senior Morgan Bullock and redshirt sophomore Maddie O’Brien led Florida State’s big offensive performances by going 3-for-7 apiece. Junior Kelly Hensley went 3-for-8 with one home run and two RBIs and led the Noles with eight total bases. O’Brien, East and Bailey Schinella had three RBis apiece.
In game two, every FSU position starter recorded at least one base hit in a game that lasted just five innings.
Florida State’s 11-0 win over the Hokies (27-14, 6-7) in game two marked its 16th mercy-rule victory of the season. The Seminoles’ sweep on Saturday also gives them another series win in ACC play, going a perfect 6-for-6 thus far in conference competition.
The Seminoles now hold a four-game lead over second-place North Carolina with four ACC games left. UNC plays host to Georgia Tech in a doubleheader on Sunday and the finale on Monday.
FSU pitchers Lacey Waldrop (18-7) and Monica Perry (17-8) both earned solid victories on Saturday. Waldrop pitched a complete-game seven frames and allowed two runs on four hits with three strikeouts. Perry was masterful in game two, throwing a five-inning shutout and allowing just three hits with eight K’s.
Virginia Tech’s Kylie McGoldrick recorded a big two-out, one-run single to right center in the first inning to put the Hokies on the scoreboard in game one. McGoldrick drove in Courtney Liddle, who kept the inning alive with a double to right center with two outs.
After getting a runner in scoring position in the first two innings, Florida State’s Bullock had her second good at-bat of the day in the third frame. Bullock worked the count before delivering a single to the left side for the Seminoles’ second hit of the day. Bullock, however, ended the inning when she was caught stealing at second base on a pinpoint throw from Virginia Tech catcher Courtney Liddle.
The Hokies threatened to add to the lead in the bottom of the third. Lauren Gaskill led off the inning with a walk and then stole second base immediately. Kat Banks then grounded out to Maddie O’Brien at shortstop, and pitcher Waldrop battled with Liddle until freezing her on a changeup for a strikeout looking. With two outs, McGoldrick hit a liner to left field that Kirstin Austin dove for and snagged to prevent a run from scoring.
Florida State’s first runner at third base came in the fourth inning. With one out, Kelly Hensley lined her 11th double of the season to the left center gap, then reached third base on a groundout by Courtney Senas. With two outs, Kirstin Austin hit a sharp grounder that was swallowed up at second base to end the scoring threat.
Another big two-out base hit for the Hokies in the fifth extended their lead to 2-0. With pinch runner Nina Compton on third base, Kat Banks hit a sharp grounder up the middle that was snagged by Maddie O’Brien at shortstop. O’Brien attempted to throw out Banks at first base but Victoria East had been off the bag, and by the team she reached back with the ball Banks had been safe for an RBI infield single.
Florida State fought back with one run in the top of the sixth. Hensley delivered a full-count, one-run double to right center to plate East from second base to cut the deficit to 2-1. With runners in scoring position and one out, the Noles weren’t able to tie the game as Courtney Senas lined out to first base and Kirstin Austin grounded out to shortstop to keep Virginia Tech in the lead.
Following East’s enormous home run in the top of the seventh with two outs, Bullock reached base on a single through the right side. O’Brien then provided an important insurance run when she lifted an RBI double to the right center gap to bring the lead to 4-2.
In game two, Bailey Schinella gave Florida State a 1-0 lead in the second inning when she recorded an RBI groundout to shortstop to plate Courtney Senas at third base. Senas led off the inning with a single to centerfield.
O’Brien laced a two-run double to left center, her second two-bagger of the day, to bring the Seminole lead to 3-0. Alex Kossoff led off the inning with a bunt single, then advanced to second base on Bullock’s single through the right side. On O’Brien’s gapper, Bullock hustled all the way from first base to score on the play.
Schinella’s two-run home run to right field in the fourth marked her first career home run as a Nole. The blast also gave the 2013 Seminoles the single-season school record for home runs, marking their 50th. Celeste Gomez added to the total with her eighth home run of the season, a solo shot to centerfield that made it 6-0 FSU. The Seminoles then added five more runs in the top of the fifth to put the game out of reach.
Florida State is now 16-15 all-time against Virginia Tech. The Seminoles try to complete the three-game sweep against the Hokies on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.