Los Angeles, CA -- Despite not allowing an earned run in a seven-inning gem, redshirt junior pitcher Monica Perry absorbed a tough loss as the 20th-ranked Florida State University softball team fell to San Diego State, 1-0, in the opening game of the NCAA Regionals hosted by UCLA on Friday evening.
Perry (21-6) completed what was essentially a shutout performance, throwing seven stellar innings and allowing five hits with five strikeouts while allowing just one unearned run. The Aztecs’ (31-22) only run came in the second inning with two outs on an errant throw from third base on a routine grounder that would have ended the inning. Instead, the underthrown ball allowed Justeen Maeva to score what was the lone run of the ballgame.
The loss was Perry’s third this season when not allowing an earned run, as she also took undeserving losses against Radford and at nationally-ranked Hawaii. Facing a potent offense that entered the game batting .296 and had six .300 or better batters, the Whitesburg, Ga., native showed excellent command of her pitches and got herself out of a couple small jams with pinpoint control.
For the season, Perry lowered her earned run average to 1.58 and increased her strikeout total to 193. She also has a team-leading 10 complete games and held the Aztecs to just a 5-for-24 mark on the day.
“We didn’t get the bats going at the right time today. I thought Monica did a great job of keeping us in the ballgame,” head coach Lonni Alameda said. “When we went back to the dugout every inning she gave us a chance to win. I thought Mony also did a good job of stopping their leadoff hitter (Hayley Miles). We had opportunities and we just couldn’t capitalize today.”
Opposing Perry in the circle was San Diego State ace Bailey Micetich (16-7), who held FSU to four hits and fanned seven in a complete-game effort. With a crafty delivery, Micetich kept FSU off-balanced and also made big pitches when FSU threatened to score.
FSU will now have to face the loser of No. 12-seeded UCLA and Hofstra on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT. Should the Seminoles win that first contest, they would play in the succeeding game at approximately 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
FSU is now 1-2 all-time against San Diego State and 43-37 all-time in NCAA Regionals.
Junior third baseman Briana Hamilton was one of four Seminoles with at least one base hit, recording a bunt single in the second inning to extend her reached base streak to 12 games. Tiffani Brown, Morgan Bullock and Shayla Jackson also recorded singles for FSU.
The start of the second inning was a rough one for the Seminoles, as Maeva led off with a double down the left field line, then advanced to third base on a single by Patrice Jackson. Perry battled back and struck out Kristin May and induced an infield pop-up from Ashley Rose. The big play of the inning occurred in Katie Mathis’ at-bat when she hit a lazy grounder to third base that was underthrown, resulting in a run scored for the Aztecs. On the same play, Jackson tried to score from second base but was thrown out by first baseman Kelly Hensley to end the inning.
An opportunity was missed in the bottom of the third inning by the Seminole offense. Bullock led off with a chopping infield single, then stole second base with no outs. Following a foul-out by Brown, Jackson advanced Bullock to third base on an infield single to put runners on the corners. Maddie O’Brien and Celeste Gomez then recorded back-to-back groundouts to take away the scoring threat.
Brown tried to keep FSU’s inning alive in the fifth, hitting a single to left field with two outs. During Jackson’s at-bat, Brown stole her 43rd base of the season to solely take over the eighth spot on the FSU single-season list. However, she was stranded in scoring position at second base when Jackson fouled out to left field.
FSU’s last-gasp effort in the seventh inning ended when Micetich struck out the side.
Follow the rest of FSU’s trip to the UCLA Regionals on the team’s official Twitter handle at @FSU_Softball.