Tallahassee, FL - After falling behind early, the 23rd-ranked Florida State softball team could not mount any sort of comeback against No. 4 Florida as it fell 8-0 in five innings in front of a record crowd of 1,199 on Wednesday evening at JoAnne Graf Field.
The loss for the Seminoles (34-15) marked their first mercy-rule defeat of the season, and also was their largest margin of loss in 2013. The Gators (42-5) improved to 18-13 all-time against the Noles and recorded multiple runs in the second, third and fourth innings to propel themselves to victory.
“Florida’s pitcher threw a good game in the circle, and we didn’t make adjustments as hitters,” head coach Lonni Alameda said. “We didn’t have the best day out there but the thing right now for us is to re-group and get back out there this weekend. UF is a dead-red hitting team and you have to mix speeds with them and not get behind in the count.”
Four UF players recorded multiple-hit games, as Florida State starter Monica Perry (16-8) took the loss after allowing seven runs on nine hits in four innings pitched with six strikeouts. Florida starter Alyssa Bache (8-0) maintained an undefeated record by tossing five innings and allowing just two hits.
Florida State senior Morgan Bullock recorded a single in the first inning and junior Celeste Gomez hit a pinch-hit double to right center in the fifth to account for the Seminoles’ two base hits. The Noles now have an 11-game losing streak to the Gators that dates back to 2007. Florida State last defeated Florida in both games of a doubleheader in Tallahassee in 2006.
Wednesday’s meeting was the fifth time since 2006 that both teams met as Top 25 squads. While nine of Florida State’s losses this season have come by two runs or less, Wednesday’s margin of defeat eclipsed the previous high of six runs in a 6-0 loss to No. 1 Oklahoma on Feb. 23.
Florida’s Taylor Schwarz launched a two-run home run to left center in the second inning to put the Gators ahead early 2-0. Perry got ahead of Schwarz in the count before she evened it up and turned on a pitch that plated Stephanie Tofft, who recorded a single up the middle with one out.
Schwarz’s two-run single up the middle in the top of the third inning helped break open the game. Kirsti Merritt started the inning and recorded a triple to centerfield before scoring on Kelsey Horton’s single down the left field line with one out. Florida recorded four hits in the inning to contribute to its 5-0 lead.
A hard-driven two-run single down the left field line by Horton in the fourth added to the Gator lead, scoring Merritt and Stewart to make it 7-0 Florida. The Gators tacked on another run in the fifth to put the mercy rule into effect.
The nationally-ranked Noles finish their conference schedule over the next two weeks with two daunting road series. Florida State heads to Virginia Tech this weekend and faces the Hokies in a doubleheader on Saturday, April 20 at noon and 2 p.m. The noon contest will air live on ESPNU. Florida State finishes the series on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Following the Seminoles’ trip to Blacksburg, Va., they finish the regular season at Georgia Tech on April 27-28. All three games will be shown on ESPN3.