College Park, MD - The Florida State softball team earned a split on Saturday afternoon at Maryland, falling in walk-off fashion in game one, 5-4, before defeating the Terrapins in game two, 13-1 (5), at Robert E. Taylor Stadium in College Park, Md.
The Seminoles (27-12, 6-2) earned their 13th mercy-rule win of the season in game two, pounding out 12 base hits in five innings of work to mark their 13th double-digit hit performance of the season. Four players in Victoria East, Courtney Senas, Kirstin Austin and Bailey Schinella finished with multiple-hit games, while Austin and Celeste Gomez drove in three runs apiece.
The split sets up an important rubber game on Sunday at noon. Florida State will be looking to win its first three ACC series for the second consecutive season.
Altogether, the Seminoles batted .370 (20-for-54) on the day but at times left too many runners on base. East and Senas each finished 4-for-6 in both games combined, while East, Austin and Gomez punctuated the offensive performance with home runs of their own.
The Seminoles are now 44-14 all-time against Maryland, including 30-14 as ACC members.
Sophomore Lacey Waldrop (13-5) got the win in game two but took the loss in game one. In the second game, Waldrop threw three innings and allowed one run on two hits with three strikeouts. In game one, however, she did not record an out in relief in the bottom of the seventh and was responsible for the walk-off run that crossed the plate.
Redshirt senior pitcher Monica Perry had a deceptive line in game one, showing four runs allowed in 6.2 innings pitched with three strikeouts. At one point, Perry did not allow a base hit to 14 consecutive batters faced but got into trouble in the seventh when she left the inning with the bases loaded. Perry left the game having allowed just one run.
The Terrapins delivered in the bottom of the first inning in game one with two outs when Lindsey Schmeiser lifted a pitch over the left center wall for a solo home run. Perry battled back to strike out Maryland’s Shannon Bustillos to end the inning.
The Seminoles received a little luck in the top of the second inning when Celeste Gomez’s pop-up to shortstop Schmeiser toward the outfield was dropped to score Morgan Bullock from second base. Bullock helped create the run-scoring play after hitting a double to the left center gap with one out in the inning.
Bullock sparked Florida State in the top of the fourth inning by reaching base on a leadoff walk, then stealing second base. Kirstin Austin then stepped up and singled up the middle, as Bullock stopped at third base to put two runners in scoring position. Gomez then recorded a sacrifice fly to right field to plate Bullock, followed by an RBI single up the middle from Bailey Schinella to extend Florida State’s lead to 3-1.
East led off the top of the fifth inning with a solo home run to right center, inside-outing a fastball from pitcher Maddie Martin and driving the ball to the top of the right center wall where it then skidded out of the park to give the Seminoles a 4-1 advantage.
Maryland missed a few scoring opportunities, including in the bottom of the sixth. The Terrapins started the frame with runners on first base and second base, but Nikki Maier then popped out to Maddie O’Brien at shortstop for the first out. Candice Beards followed with a long flyout to right field and on the play pinch runner Taylor tried to advance to second base but was thrown out by Hoffner for an important double play.
Florida State fell apart in the bottom of the seventh as it allowed Maryland to score four runs for the victory. With two outs, Perry loaded the bases after hitting Sara Acosta with a pitch. Waldrop then entered the game and walked consecutive batters to bring the score to 4-3.
Nori then came in for the save situation to face Lindsey Schmeiser and delivered a strike that bounced off the catcher’s glove for a passed ball. A run scored for the Terrapins and on Macey Cheatham’s throw to Nori the ball bounced off her glove and allowed the walk-off run to score. The Noles were hurt by a season-worst five errors in the first game.
In the second inning in game two, Florida State produced nine runs off seven hits in the third inning. The scoring barrage was highlighted by Celeste Gomez’s three-run home run to right center. Senas got the Seminoles started with a two-run single to left field, and an RBI single by East down the left field line capped the nine-run onslaught. Senas recorded two base hits in the inning.
A four-run inning in the top of the fifth was highlighted by Kirstin Austin’s two-run home run to centerfield, her third round-tripper of the season. Jessica Nori and Bailey Schinella provided the Seminoles quality relief in the fourth and fifth innings to end the ballgame.