TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – The 25th-ranked Florida State softball team lost two close ballgames on Friday, falling to Southern Miss and Troy in day one of the Renegade Classic at JoAnne Graf Field.
The Seminoles (10-8) were hurt by their inability to take advantage of run-scoring chances, going 4-for-33 with runners on base and 3-for-22 with runners in scoring position. Florida State left seven runners on base against the Golden Eagles and eight runners were stranded against the Troy Trojans (7-8). Florida State lost to Southern Miss, 2-1, and fell to Troy, 6-3.
Overall, Florida State batted .245 (13-for-53) and was paced by the hitting of redshirt sophomore Maddie O’Brien. After recording her big grand slam in Thursday night’s win over Troy, O’Brien finished 2-for-4 on the day with one double, one RBI and two walks. Freshman Victoria East went 3-for-7 with a double, including a multiple-hit performance against Southern Miss.
Against Troy, Florida State lost its first game of the season when leading after six innings. The Seminoles surrendered five runs in the top half of the seventh in its 6-3 loss. Versus Southern Miss, Florida State tried to battle back from its one-run deficit with a rally in the seventh, but went three up and three down to fall late.
Southern Miss crossed the plate first in the top of the fourth inning in game one. Leadoff batter Caroline Walker led off with a slicing triple to left field, and Morgan McKeever followed with an RBI groundout to second baseman Kaitlin Allen to give the Golden Eagles a 1-0 lead.
Morgan Bullock had a big at-bat with two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning. She came to the plate with runners on first and second base and pulled a 1-0 pitch for a double to the right center gap to bring home Alex Kossoff and tie the game at 1-1. Kossoff reached base on a fielder’s choice bunt and Kaitlin Allen added a walked, but was thrown out by shortstop Caroline Walker on the relay of Bullock’s hit to end the inning.
The Golden Eagles responded with a big two-out hit of their own in the top of the fifth when Walker recorded another big base hit, a run-scoring single through the right side to make it 2-1 Southern Miss.
In game two, Troy notched a run in the top of the second inning when Caitlin Ortiz hammered a 1-2 pitch over the right field wall to give the Trojans an early 1-0 lead. Two errors by the Seminoles in the same inning nearly gave Troy more runs, but Monica Perry (6-5) struck out Ebony Wright to end the frame with runners on first and third base.
Florida State missed a golden opportunity for runs against Troy in the bottom of the second, loading the bases with no outs. O’Brien started the inning with a double to left center and advanced to third base on a single from Celeste Gomez. After Kossoff walked to load the bases, the Seminoles recorded three consecutive fielder’s choice grounders that all went to home plate.
Gomez came through in the bottom of the second with a two-out, two-run lining double to the right center gap to put the Seminoles back on top at 2-1.
Troy loaded the bases in the top of the fifth off Perry after she walked dangerous hitter Hannah Renn with two outs. With Ortiz to the plate, Perry made a few smart pitches and jammed the hot-hitting first baseman into a pop-out to East at third base to keep the lead at 2-1.
O’Brien provided an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth when she recorded a sacrifice fly to left field to advance the Seminole lead to 3-1. O’Brien’s fly ball scored Courtney Senas from third base, who led off the inning with a single through the left side.
The Trojans battled back and mounted five runs off Perry and the Seminoles in the top of the seventh. With the bases loaded and one out, Renn recorded a line-drive double to right field that landed just over the glove of right fielder Erika Hoffner to score two runs and tie the game at 3-3. Two batters later, Amanda Winters had the game-winning two-run single to right center to help the Trojans to victory.
Florida State looks to get back on track with a 12:15 p.m. matchup against Appalachian State on Saturday. Tournament play will then proceed with the No. 1 and No. 4 seeds playing at 2:30 p.m., followed by the second and third seeds at 4:30 p.m.