Tallahassee, FL - Senior pitcher Sarah Hamilton struck out 15 while going nine innings strong in the first game of a doubleheader, but the Florida State University softball team ultimately lost both contests to UNC Greensboro and St. John’s in the season-opening Seminole Kickoff Classic on Friday afternoon at JoAnne Graf Field.
The Seminoles (0-2) lost to the Spartans (1-1), 1-0, in a nine-inning affair before falling to St. John’s by an 11-5 score. In the first contest, Amateur Softball Association watch list member Hamilton allowed just five hits, one earned run and two walks while facing 33 batters. The game-winning base hit occurred in the top of the ninth when Kaitlin Merkt laced a two-out RBI single to right center.
Equally impressive was Greensboro’s Cory Mattson (1-0), who pitched a no-hitter and struck out two while walking three.
FSU had its opportunities to make a mark on the scoreboard against the Spartans, but a talented UNC Greensboro infield seemingly swept up everything in its path. Throughout the contest, several hard hit balls were snared by a fine defensive opposition.
In game two, FSU was guided by the offense of sophomore Tiffani Brown, who finished 3-for-4 with a triple. It was the 18th multiple-hit performance of her young career, including the sixth time she has finished with three hits in a contest.
Against the Red Storm, senior Robin Ahrberg and junior Shayla Jackson led FSU with two RBIs apiece. After St. John’s took a commanding 5-0 lead in the second frame, the Seminoles struck back in the fifth with three of their own. After Brown hit an infield single to the shortstop, Ahrberg came up two batters later and hit a line-drive two-run home run on a 1-0 fastball to left field to trim FSU’s deficit to 5-3. Shortly before, Jackson hit a liner to left field that resulted in a sacrifice fly, scoring Mallory Borden.
FSU returns to JoAnne Graf Field with a matchup against Hofstra at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday. After the Hofstra contest, all four teams will be re-seeded, with No. 1 vs. No. 4 playing at 2:45 p.m., followed by the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds. On Sunday, the consolation game is played at 10 a.m., followed by the championship game.