TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A record crowd of 1,420 fans came to JoAnne Graf Field on April 9 and were treated to a great game between the No. 7/8 Florida State Seminoles and the No. 8/6 Florida Gators. The Gators (35-8) would outlast the Seminoles (38-5) and win by a score of 4-2 in a tight back-and-forth game. It was the first home loss for FSU this season and the first regular season home loss since facing Florida on April 17, 2013.
“It was a hard fought game. I think Hannah pitched really well today. You know, we had chances. That’s one thing we had, we had runners in scoring position and that’s all you can ask for is an opportunity to score runs. We out-hit them, but they came up with some timely hits at certain times.”
The game started out as a pitcher’s duel between Florida State’s Lacey Waldrop and UF’s Hannah Rogers. Neither pitcher allowed a runner until Rogers gave up a walk to Kelly Hensley with one out in the bottom of the second and Waldrop was perfect through her first 3.1 innings, surrendering a walk to Briana Little in the top of the fourth.
Florida added another walk and two singles in the inning to take a 2-0 lead after their half of the fourth inning.
The Seminoles started to put together a rally in the bottom of the fourth, leading off the inning with a walk to Bailey Schinella and a hit-by-pitch to Hensley. However, a pair of nice defensive plays by UF first baseman Taylor Schwarz retired pinch runner Bella D’Errico at third and then Victoria East at second before Rogers got out of the inning with a comebacker to the circle.
Waldrop kept the Gators at bay in the fifth with two strikeouts and Celeste Gomez ended the inning by throwing out Kelsey Stewart trying to steal second.
FSU once again put two runners on base in the fifth but were unable to push across a run despite singles by Tiffani Brown and Maddie O’Brien. The base hit by O’Brien extended her streak of reaching base to 43 games as she has reached in each game of the 2014 season.
Florida State broke into the scoring column in the bottom of the sixth with an RBI single from redshirt freshman Alex Powers. Hensley led off the inning with a walk and was pinch run for by Alex Kossoff. After a walk to East, Powers laced a single off the wall in right, scoring Kossoff from second. Powers was thrown out at second trying to stretch it into a double.
That left East at third with only one away but pop outs by Gomez and Hamilton stranded the tying run on base and left Florida with a 2-1 lead after six innings.
Waldrop came out to pitch the seventh and hit the first batter of the inning. Briana Hamilton saved an extra-base hit with a great sliding stop and strong throw to first to retire Schwarz which advanced Stephanie Tofft to second. After recording her eighth strikeout of the game, UF pinch hitter Bailey Castro hit her fifth home run of the year to left to make it 4-1 Florida.
That would end Waldrop’s outing as Jessica Burroughs would come on to close out the inning with a strikeout. Waldrop (25-3) ended with 6.2 innings pitched and allowed three hits, four runs, three walks and eight strikeouts in the loss. She allowed three or fewer hits for the ninth time in her last 10 appearances.
The ‘Noles mounted a comeback in the seventh as Courtney Senas reached on an error by the catcher after a strikeout and ended up on second. Senas would move up to third on a groundout to the second baseman and would come in to score after an infield RBI single by Maddie O’Brien to cut the lead to 4-2 with one out. It was O’Brien’s 64th RBI of the season to extend her NCAA lead.
That’s all Florida State would get as Schinella popped out to third and Stephanie Hartness grounded out to the pitcher to end the game.
The Seminoles hit the road for their final road trip of the 2014 regular season as they wrap up ACC play with games at Notre Dame and Pitt. FSU will be in South Bend for a doubleheader against the Irish on Sun., April 13 that begins at 12:00 p.m., and close out the series on Mon., April 14 at 7:00 p.m. Sunday’s games will be available on WatchND.tv and Monday’s game will be broadcast on ESPNU.
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