Tallahassee - In the longest game played by Florida State since 2009, the No. 3-ranked and No. 8-seeded Florida State Seminoles (52-6) battled for 10 scoreless innings against USF before pushing across two runs in the 11th to take a 2-0 win over the Bulls on May 17 on JoAnne Graf Field at the Seminole Softball Complex.
“What an outstanding game,” said head coach Lonni Alameda. “(USF starter) Nevins pitched a gem today. That was a hard-fought game and you know that is what you are going to get this time of year. You put your mentality and toughness to the test as a pitcher, a hitter and a defender.
“You don’t know when your moment is going to be called upon. I think Lacey did outstanding today and the defense played tremendous behind her. AK was hot today and swinging the bat really well so it was really cool that her moment came up in a big chance for us.”
USF (42-16) opened the bottom of the first with two singles but the runners would not advance any further as Lacey Waldrop and the Noles got out of the inning on two groundouts and a strikeout.
The Bulls would again put two runners on in the third inning but would be held scoreless as Victoria East ended the threat with a nice defensive play on a grounder to first.
USF starter Sarah Nevins had a no-hitter through the first 4.0 innings as the winners bracket game of the NCAA Tallahassee Regional turned into a great pitcher’s duel. Nevins allowed five walks before giving up an infield hit to Alex Kossoff to lead off the fifth inning.
Kossoff was moved over to third later in the frame on two illegal pitches by Nevins but would be stranded there on a pop out to the catcher to end the inning.
Waldrop scattered six hits over the first 3.2 innings but settled in to retire the next 10 batters as the game headed into extra innings. She allowed a base hit to the leadoff batter Kristen Wyckoff in the eighth inning and also gave up an intentional walk to Kourtney Salvarola but left both runners stranded. The intentional walk ended Waldrop’s streak of 21.2 innings without allowing a walk over her last four games.
USF threatened in the 10th inning as Courtney Goff led off the inning with a single to third and a throwing error allowed her to move all the way to third base with nobody out. It marked the first time in the game that a USF runner had reached third.
After a groundout to first, Celeste Gomez made two amazing defensive plays to get Florida State out of the inning. On a ball in the dirt, the Lake City, Fla. native made a great stop and immediately grabbed the ball and gunned it down to Briana Hamilton at third to pickoff Goff for the second out of the inning. The next pitch was a grounder in front of the plate and Gomez fired out of her stance to scoop and throw the ball to first to end the inning.
The Noles carried that momentum into the top of the 11th inning. Maddie O’Brien walked to open in the frame, followed by a base hit to center by Kelly Hensley off reliever Erica Nunn. USF’s starter Nevins reentered and loaded the bases with a four-pitch walk to Bailey Schinella before Kossoff drove an 0-2 pitch into left field scoring two runs to give Florida State a 2-0 advantage.
“I just came up to bat with a plan,” said Kossoff. “I was sitting inside and got a pretty good swing on the first two and on the third one I just hacked at it and it dropped in.”
“My family is awesome,” added Kossoff. “I have been working for that moment through the offseason and the whole season. Usually getting pinch-hit for, I finally get my shot and I got to make the most of it.”
Waldrop came back out to finish the game in the bottom of the 11th and after a leadoff single was able to retire the next three batters to improve to 35-4 on the season. The junior is now tied for the school record for victories in a season and has 78 in her career, sixth most in FSU history.
The Chester, Va., native tossed a career-high 11.0 shutout innings, allowing nine hits and recording seven strikeouts. She gave up two walks but both were intentional.
Nevis got the loss and moved to 28-9 on the season. She recorded 11 strikeouts and allowed four hits, one run and nine walks over 11.0 innings.
The game lasted three hours and 45 minutes and was the longest game since a 12-inning contest against Oklahoma State in the Tallahassee Regional on May 16, 2009
Florida State will next play on Sat., May 18 for the chance to reach the NCAA Super Regionals for the second straight season. The game will begin at 12:00 p.m. and will air on ESPN2.
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