TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – The 23rd-ranked Florida State University softball team came back strong with two dominant wins over Hofstra and UNC Greensboro on Saturday at the Seminole Kickoff Classic at JoAnne Graf Field.
The Seminoles (2-2) were boosted by two solid pitching performances from senior Sarah Hamilton (1-1) and sophomore Morgan Bullock (1-0). Hamilton got her first victory of the year by pitching seven strong innings and allowing just one run on five hits with seven strikeouts as FSU defeated the Pride (3-1), 5-1. Hofstra enters the season receiving votes in both the ESPN.com/USA Softball preseason poll and the USA Today/NFCA poll.
“I think the mark of a good program is to respond well to bad days and have short term memory,” head coach Lonni Alameda said. “We understand that we have a long journey, and to see them bounce back, make adjustments, and win both games and get to the championship game tomorrow is a good mark for us.”
Bullock threw a complete game in the second contest as FSU defeated the Spartans (2-2) by a 13-3 score. The Dacula, Ga., native pitched all five innings and allowed three runs as the Seminoles’ offensive display was out in full force as they utilized the eight-run mercy rule to end the game early.
“Our pitchers threw well today,” Alameda added. “It was also good to see our bats come alive.”
Freshman Courtney Senas led FSU with four hits on the day, adding a double and an RBI as FSU combined for 20 hits in both games. Robin Ahrberg and Shayla Jackson amassed three hits apiece, while Jen Lapicki led the Seminoles with five RBIs through both game. Tiffani Brown, Bullock and freshman Kelly Hensley contributed with two hits apiece as FSU compiled 20 hits in 50 at-bats.
The Seminoles and Hofstra will now meet once against on Sunday afternoon at JoAnne Graf Field at approximately 12:15 p.m. The contest is scheduled to start 30 minutes after the conclusion of the 10 a.m. consolation game between St. John’s and UNC Greensboro.
In the first contest against Hofstra, Ahrberg utilized her power to ignite the FSU offense. She hammered an inside fastball off the left field foul pole to give FSU an early 1-0 advantage in the first inning. The round-tripper was Ahrberg’s second in as many days.
Hamilton got herself out of a jam in the second inning, striking out leadoff batter Trisha Dreslinski with the bases loaded to leave the frame unscathed. With the bases loaded and just one out, Hamilton induced a key infield fly from Michelle Lavagnino before getting the inning-ending out.
A big hit was provided by Jackson in the sixth. With runners on first and second base, Jackson took a first-pitch fastball and slapped it the opposite way down the left field line, scoring pinch runner Briana Hamilton to give FSU an insurance run at 2-0. Ahrberg followed with a single to centerfield to plate Bullock, who recorded a single to get on base in the frame.
Adding to the four-run sixth inning was a long sacrifice fly to the warning track by Ashley Stager, scoring Jackson to put FSU ahead 4-0. Senas then connected on a line-drive double to right center, plating pinch runner Kristie McConn from second base for a 5-0 lead. The play capped an inning that included five of FSU’s seven overall hits.
Hofstra responded in the seventh when Dreslinski homered to left center, cutting the deficit to 5-1. Later, with the tying run on base, Hamilton induced a pop-up to third baseman Brown to end the game.
Pitcher Olivia Galati (1-1) took the loss for the Pride after allowing four runs in 5.1 innings pitched. The reigning Colonial Athletic Association Pitcher of the Year, who finished 26-7 last season, was consistent early but gave way to some hot Seminole bats late before being relieved with one out in the sixth.
Spartan pitcher Cory Mattson (1-1) endured the loss in game two against FSU, failing to repeat her previous performance. Mattson allowed eight runs in 1.2 innings pitched as the Seminoles exploded for eight hits off the talented right-hander.
Brown, Jackson, Senas and Lapicki had multiple-hit performances in the second contest. FSU scored eight runs in the second inning as Lapicki and Ahrberg each recorded two-run singles. In the third, Lapicki hit a three-run double to the left center gap, and Brown capped the onslaught with a line-drive two-run home run over the wall in right center to put the game out of reach.
FSU’s championship contest against Hofstra can be seen on CBS GameTracker by accessing the Seminoles.com softball page.