Tallahassee, FL - Florida State softball redshirt senior pitcher Monica Perry had everything working on Saturday afternoon as she tied her career high with 13 strikeouts in the Seminoles’ 4-0 victory over Georgia Southern at the Sunshine Classic at JoAnne Graf Field.
Perry’s 13 K’s matches her career-best performance set last season at Hawaii when she produced the same amount against the Rainbow Wahine. On Saturday, the Whitesburg, Ga. native overpowered the opposition and showed excellent control as she hit her spots nicely both inside and outside.
“Monica pitched another strong game for us and was real dominant out there,” head coach Lonni Alameda said. “She has some good pitches in her repertoire and is not afraid to go after hitters, and that was her mindset tonight. We needed a big performance in the circle and she gave us one.”
Perry fanned more than half of her 25 batters faced and notched double-digit strikeouts for the fourth time this season. In 2013, she has recorded 10 strikeouts against Tulsa, Southern Miss and NC State before cracking double figures again on Saturday. Perry’s shutout was her fifth of the season and she also recorded her eighth complete game, allowing just three hits.
Aiding Perry in the victory was redshirt sophomore shortstop Maddie O’Brien, who finished 1-for-2 with three RBIs and one walk. O’Brien’s two-run blast in the bottom of the fifth inning was the biggest hit of the game for the Seminoles (21-9), who rebounded nicely after having their 10-game win streak snapped on Friday night against Minnesota.
Georgia Southern featured a talented starting pitcher in Sarah Purvis (7-7), who took the loss after allowing four runs on six hits in six innings pitched while striking out eight. Florida State drew six walks to its advantage, giving it chances for runs in a game that had the makings of a pitcher’s duel.
However, the Seminole batting order had virtually no pressure on Saturday thanks to Perry’s command in the circle. Perry did not allow an Eagle runner to reach scoring position. Meanwhile, Florida State's leadoff batters reached base in five of six innings and created immediate chances for the Seminoles to manufacture runs.
Georgia Southern finished 3-for-25 at the plate, while Florida State batted 6-for-24. Seminole senior outfielder Kirstin Austin extended her hitting streak to 13 games with a single up the middle in the fifth inning, but junior Kelly Hensley’s 10-game hit streak came to an end.
Courtney Senas’ streak of reaching base safely was extended to 16 games following a 1-for-3 day at the plate. Both Austin and Hensley have reached base in 13 consecutive games.
Florida State showed its patience at the plate in the top of the fourth, loading the bases with one out on walks from Victoria East, Senas and Celeste Gomez. Maddie O’Brien stepped to the plate and pulled an RBI groundout to the right side, resulting in a 1-0 lead for the Seminoles. With two outs, Austin’s ground ball was mishandled by second baseman Lindsey Wilcox to bring in another run.
O’Brien brought in two more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning when she hit a towering two-run home run to right field that barely left the park, putting the Seminoles ahead 4-0. Senas was driven in on O’Brien’s third home run of the season after she led off the inning with a single through the left side and stole second base.
In the bottom of the seventh, Perry mowed down Georgia Southern’s hitters as she struck out the side to record her 12th win of the season.
The Seminoles finish the Sunshine Classic on Sunday afternoon when they face Minnesota at noon, followed by a matchup against Georgia Southern at 2 p.m. The first game of the day features Georgia Southern and Minnesota at 10 a.m.