TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – A decisive 9-1 victory over Arkansas in its second game of the day helped the No. 25/21 Florida State softball team split day one of the Unconquered Invitational on Friday at JoAnne Graf Field.
The Seminoles (5-1) won in mercy-rule fashion over the Razorbacks (7-2) in their second game of the day after falling to Tulsa, 3-2, in eight innings in their first game. While Florida State was no-hit through the first seven innings against the Golden Hurricane (5-2), its offense clicked in its win over Arkansas with 11 base hits.
“We’ve got three quality teams in here and this is a great chance for us to be tested,” head coach Lonni Alameda said. “It’s early in the season and for us to be tested this early by good pitching is a good thing for us, just to see what we’re made of and how we can manufacture runs.”
In their game two win, the Seminoles received a boost in the circle behind sophomore starter Lacey Waldrop (2-0). The Chester, Va. native delivered a complete-game performance and allowed one run on four hits and three strikeouts.
Waldrop was helped by an early four-run cushion made possible by redshirt sophomore Maddie O’Brien’s lining three-run double to the left center gap. With two outs and facing two strikes, O’Brien received a high and away fastball from Arkansas starter Chelsea Cohen (3-1) and went with the pitch to ignite the Seminole scoring. Freshman Victoria East then picked up the rest of the slack in the inning with a run-scoring single to centerfield to score O’Brien.
Arkansas third baseman Chloe Oprzedek’s fielding error with two outs kept the third inning alive for more Florida State runs. Following the miscue, junior Courtney Senas singled through the left side to plate O’Brien, and senior Kirstin Austin followed with a two-run lining single to centerfield.
Two runs in the fifth inning sealed the mercy-rule win for Florida State. Senas recorded her first home run of the year on a towering fly ball to left field that barely left the park, and Tiffani Brown ended the game by scoring on a wild pitch from third base.
Brown, O’Brien, Celeste Gomez, Austin and Senas each recorded two hits for the Seminoles against Arkansas. O’Brien picked up her third multiple-RBI game of the season in the second game of the twinbill.
Senior Briana Hamilton’s third home run of the season highlighted Florida State’s opening-game loss to the Golden Hurricane (5-2). In the eighth inning trailing 3-0, East broke up the no-hit bid by Tulsa pitcher Aimee Creger (3-0) by hitting a single to centerfield with one out. Hamilton then followed with a two-run roundtripper to centerfield to trim Florida State’s deficit to 3-2.
Morgan Bullock then stepped to the plate and hit a single through the right side, but Creger struck out her next two batters to wrap up the win. Florida State starter Monica Perry (3-1) took the loss despite striking out 10 of her 33 batters faced. Her lone blemish came with two outs in the top of the eighth when she surrendered a three-run home run to Haley Henshaw. Perry, however, delivered her fifth double-digit strikeout performance as a Seminole.
Florida State is back in action on Saturday in day two of the Unconquered Invitational. The Seminoles play in a nationally-ranked matchup against No. 21/25 Hofstra at approximately 12:15 p.m. After the completion of the first two games on Saturday, tournament play begins and will pit the No. 1 and 4 seeds at around 2:30 p.m. and the No. 2 and 3 seeds 30 minutes afterward.
The championship game of the Unconquered Invitational is on Sunday and follows the 9 a.m. consolation game.