TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – Buoyed by an offense that batted .340 in two games and produced seven extra base-hits and 18 RBIs, the Florida State softball team once again used its power-packed lineup to its advantage as it defeated FIU in a home doubleheader on Tuesday night at JoAnne Graf Field.
The Seminoles (19-8) beat the Panthers (16-13) 11-2 in five innings in game one. Florida State then dropped FIU in game two by a 7-4 score. The victories extend Florida State’s season-long win streak to nine games.
“It was another great offensive performance for us,” head coach Lonni Alameda said. “We executed in several situations and made the most of our chances with runners on base. It’s always good to come away with two wins in a doubleheader and we turn right back around and play another game tomorrow against Tennessee State.”
On Tuesday, junior Courtney Senas recorded two more long balls to bring her season total to nine. The number is already tied for ninth on Florida State’s single-season list, as the Wahiawa, Hawaii native and reigning ACC Player of the Week recorded a solo home run in each game. Altogether, she finished 3-for-4 on the day with four RBIs, one double, three walks and a sacrifice hit.
Senas now has 12 multiple-hit games this season after finishing 2-for-3 in game one, nearly double the amount of the next Seminole. She has reached base in 13 consecutive games and also leads the team with 10 multiple RBI games.
Overall, Florida State finished 16-for-47 at the plate. The Seminoles were pesky with two outs, going 9-for-19 against FIU while also finishing 8-for-14 with runners in scoring position. Junior Kelly Hensley was one of several Seminoles exploiting run-scoring opportunities, knocking out a three-run home run that gave the Seminoles their ninth mercy-rule win of the season in game one. Hensley went 3-for-8 with four RBIs in both games.
Freshman second baseman Kaitlin Allen recorded her first multiple-hit game as a Seminole in game one, going 2-for-3 with one RBI and one walk. The Seminoles worked the count in both games and forced 12 walks.
Florida State’s arms in the circle in Lacey Waldrop (8-3) and Monica Perry (10-5) each earned wins. Waldrop, named the ACC Pitcher of the Week on Tuesday, allowed one earned run on one hit in four innings. Over her last four starts, Waldrop has allowed just five hits, two earned runs and has struck out 35 batters in 21.2 innings pitched.
Perry was also effective in game two, tossing four innings and allowed one earned run with four strikeouts.
FIU scored two runs in the top of the first in game one, as Nicole Rascon’s bunt single resulted in a throwing error by Waldrop that allowed preceding runner Brie Rojas to score from first base. Aleim Lopez then brought in another run on an RBI groundout to second base to make the score 2-0.
Florida State fought back with two outs in the bottom of the first inning when Maddie O’Brien lined an RBI double down the right field line to cut the deficit to 2-1. After O’Brien reached third base on a stolen base, Celeste Gomez came through with a chopping single up the middle to score O’Brien and knot the game at 2-2.
The Seminoles scored two more runs in the bottom of the second, once again with two outs. With Kaitlin Allen on third base and Macey Cheatham on second base, Senas hit a two-strike offering into left center for a two-run bloop double.
Morgan Bullock added to the lead in the third inning when she lined an RBI single to right centerfield. Florida State then scored its fifth run of the game with two outs when Kaitlin Allen recorded an RBI single to centerfield to drive in Kirstin Austin, making the score 6-2.
Another two-run inning in the fourth was highlighted by Senas’ eighth home run of the season, a solo blast to centerfield. Austin eventually followed with an RBI single through the left side, extending the lead to 8-2.
Hensley provided Florida State its ninth mercy-rule victory of the season when she produced a three-run home run to right center in the fifth inning, effectively ending the contest at 11-2.
In game two, Hensley picked up where she left off by driving in the game’s first run on a slow-rolling single that snuck through the right side, bringing home Victoria East to make it 1-0.
With one swing of the bat, FIU responded as Aleim Lopez drove an 0-1 pitch from Perry over the centerfield wall in the top of the second inning to tie the game at 1-1.
Florida State batted around in the bottom of the third inning, scoring six runs on four hits. Senas led off the inning with her ninth home run of the season, and Allen and Alex Kossoff forced bases-loaded walks to bring the score to 4-1. East then produced a big three-run double to right field to add more insurance runs.
FIU notched two runs off a two-run single with two outs in the fifth, then scored another run in the sixth inning on an errant throw from the Seminoles to climb back into the game trailing 7-4.
Redshirt junior reliever Jessica Nori pitched the final 1.2 innings in game two and threw a scoreless seventh inning to record her first save of the season. Nori’s save gives her five for her career, putting her in sole possession of fifth place on the school’s all-time list.
Florida State returns to JoAnne Graf Field for a game on Wednesday night against Tennessee State. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.