TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – It was a record-setting offensive performance by the No. 25/24 Florida State softball team as it defeated Bethune-Cookman, 20-0, before beating Jacksonville, 8-0, to cap off the Panhandle Invitational on Sunday afternoon at JoAnne Graf Field.
The Seminoles’ (4-0) 20-0 victory over Bethune-Cookman in five innings marked a school record for runs scored in the NCAA fastpitch era, breaking the team’s former record of 18 runs against Florida A&M both in 2002 and 2008. Overall, Florida State’s 20 runs scored are tied for the sixth-most in a game in school history, trailing the 1982 team’s record-setting 39-run output against Georgia Southern.
“Before BP today we talked about being aggressive swinging the bats, so to see what we did today feels great,” head coach Lonni Alameda said. “I know it’s early in the season, but we played much better today compared to the first couple games of the season. I think a lot of players set the tone today and it was important to follow that and finish up. Hitting can be one of the most difficult things to do in this sport and we are starting to prove that we can do that as a team and as individuals.”
Eight Seminoles finished with multiple hits overall on Sunday, led by freshman Stephanie Hartness’ 6-for-7 performance with a team-best six RBIs and two doubles. Senior Tiffani Brown continued her hot start by going 4-for-6 in both games combined with two stolen bases and five runs scored.
Three home runs were provided by the Seminoles, including two from top power threat Briana Hamilton. The senior from Woodruff, S.C. hit a three-run shot to right center against the Wildcats (0-4) in what was a 15-run first inning for the Seminoles. Hamilton then delivered a two-run home run to centerfield to defeat Jacksonville in another mercy-rule five-inning affair.
Junior Kelly Hensley added a 3-for-5 performance, hitting a towering home run to left field in a momentum-building seven-run fifth inning against the Dolphins (3-1). Freshman Victoria East displayed her talents at the designated player position by going 3-for-7 with three RBIs and three runs scored.
Junior catcher Celeste Gomez and redshirt sophomore Maddie O’Brien each added two hits on the day. O’Brien’s two-run double off the left field wall against Jacksonville helped break open the game after Florida State clung to a 1-0 lead through four innings. O’Brien’s two RBIs were her second multiple-RBI game this season.
As a group, Florida State batted .519 (28-for-54) today against Bethune-Cookman and Jacksonville with 10 extra base hits and 28 base hits overall. For the four-game invitational, Brown led the Seminoles with a .692 batting average (9-for-13) while Hartness produced eight RBIs to lead the team.
Hidden behind the proficiency at the plate was the weekend put together by pitcher Monica Perry. Against Jacksonville, she tossed another shutout with nine strikeouts against her 18 batters faced. The Whitesburg, Ga. native did not surrender a walk against the Dolphins and escaped a few minor jams when JU runners were put in scoring position.
For the weekend, Perry (3-0) was dominant by pitching 14.1 shutout innings and recording 19 strikeouts. Sophomore starter Lacey Waldrop (1-0) got her first win of the season against Bethune-Cookman by allowing no runs in three innings. Redshirt junior Jessica Nori relieved Waldrop and pitched two shutout frames.
Florida State prepares for its first mid-week game of the season when it hosts Troy on Tuesday, Feb. 12 at 6 p.m. on ESPN3.com.