TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – An effective pitching performance by left-hander Ellen Weaver prevented the Florida State University softball team from taking the Garnet and Gold Tournament championship as it fell to No. 24 Kentucky, 7-2, on Sunday afternoon at JoAnne Graf Field.
A day after earning a quality win over the nationally-ranked Wildcats (8-2), FSU was unable to get much going from the plate as the combination of Weaver (2-0) and staff ace Chanda Bell held the Seminoles (7-4) to seven hits and two runs scored. The duo also never allowed a walk as FSU looked to stay aggressive early in the count.
Weaver allowed all seven hits and two runs with two strikeouts in 5.1 innings pitched. FSU starter Sarah Hamilton (3-3), who earned the victory over Kentucky yesterday, took the loss.
FSU reliever Morgan Bullock continues to improve in the circle this season. Bullock battled a potent offensive lineup and surrendered just one earned run on six hits in four innings pitched. Senior Lauren Varsalona also came in for the final two innings and allowed just one hit while striking out one and allowing no runs.
Unlike last game, Kentucky was able to put some runs on the scoreboard early. Third baseman Brittany Cervantes launched a two-run home run on a 2-2 delivery from Hamilton to give the Wildcats the early lead. Hamilton then loaded the bases with just one out in the inning, but proceeded to strike out the next two batters to escape the jam.
FSU inched back in the bottom half. Tiffani Brown reached base on a single to the pitcher, then stole her eighth base of the season before reaching third on Robin Ahrberg’s left-side grounder. Senior Ashley Stager drove in FSU’s first run on a nice piece of hitting – going with an outside fastball to right field with two strikes to make the deficit 2-1.
Kentucky added two important runs in the third inning, then pulled away with three more in the sixth frame. In that inning, Kara Dill recorded an RBI groundout, and Cervantes came up and delivered an RBI single on a 3-2 offering. Cervantes led the Wildcats by going 4-for-4 with three RBIs.
FSU sophomore Briana Hamilton recorded her first career RBI as a Seminole when she drove a double to right field to plate Brown. Bell then entered the game and retired the next five FSU batters in the sixth and seventh innings to close out the contest.
Brown and Stager recorded two hits apiece for FSU, while Jen Lapicki, Briana Hamilton and Mallory Borden were responsible for one base hit apiece.
The Seminoles spend the early portion of next week preparing for the Cathedral City Classic in Palm Springs, Calif. FSU will first take on 23rd-ranked BYU at 1 p.m. ET on Thursday, followed by a 3:30 p.m. matchup against Oregon State. FSU then faces Northwestern at 6 p.m. ET on Friday before wrapping up with consecutive nightcaps against Long Beach State and San Diego State at 9 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.