BOCA RATON, Fla. – A day of terrific pitching by Sarah Hamilton helped the No. 18 Florida State softball team stay undefeated at the FAU Miken Classic in Boca Raton, Fla.
Hamilton picked up a tough save and then tossed a two-hitter in FSU’s (19-2) victories over Connecticut and Michigan State Saturday on the campus of Florida Atlantic University.
After coming on in the seventh in a high-pressure situation to stave off pesky UConn by a score of 5-4 earlier in the day, the Tallahassee native allowed just two hits – both of which occurred in the final inning – in the ’Noles’ 3-1 win over MSU.
The save was Hamilton’s first and the triumph was her ninth of the season.
“I thought Sarah had a great day,” FSU head coach Lonni Alameda said about the ACC’s reigning Pitcher of the Year. “It’s always a bummer to have a no-hitter broken up in the seventh inning but Michigan State swings the bats real well and she did a good job all day keeping them down.”
Offensively, Tory Haddad had two RBIs and Tiffani Brown had one for FSU. The Seminoles had just five hits against the Spartans.
Senior Terese Gober moved to 10-1 on the season against Connecticut, pitching six innings and allowing four runs. She struck out eight batters and walked three before being replaced by Hamilton in the final inning.
Carly Wynn, Brown, Jen Lapicki and Kristie McConn each had an RBI. Jackson, who has hit safely in every game but two this season, was 3-for-4 on the day.
Lapicki garnered her fifth RBI of the weekend when her single scored Jackson from third base in the top of the third inning against UConn. Jackson had reached base with a triple to right field.
UConn nearly got that run back and then some but Gober and the Seminoles were able to avoid some heavy Huskies damage in the bottom of the third. With the bases loaded and just one out, an Ashley Stager-Brown double play consequently ended the inning and kept the game at 1-0.
Stager then reached base in the next inning with a single up the middle. One batter later, McConn pushed the lead to 3-0 with a two-run homerun over the left-center wall. The shot was McConn’s first of the year and third of her three-year collegiate career.
The Huskies finally got on the board in the fifth inning, scoring one run on back-to-back two-out hits.
A half-inning later, Brown plated Morgan Bullock with a two-out single to make it a 4-1 ballgame. Wynn was able to reward Brown for her clutch hitting by sending her home a few minutes later. On the play, Wynn punished a ball to deep center field for an RBI double.
The two-baser was Wynn’s team-best 10th of the season.
But a 5-1 lead quickly evaporated in the bottom of the seventh as Connecticut scored two runs with no outs before Gober was replaced by Hamilton with runners on second and third.
Hamilton forced the first batter she faced into a five-three put-out but a run came across to cut FSU’s lead to just 5-4. She then followed that up with a magnificent play in which she fielded a grounder and threw the runner from third out at home for the second out.
Hamilton then nabbed the save of the year by striking out the final batter and preserving the 5-4 win.
The ’Noles got two runners in scoring position in the bottom of the first against Michigan State and Haddad made sure the team had something to show for it.
Standing in the box with a one-one count, Haddad bashed a double to right field that plated Jackson and Robin Ahrberg for a 2-0 lead.
After Monica Montez and Stager reached base in the bottom of the fourth, Brown came to the plate and nailed an RBI single to center field. The hit sent Bullock, who pinch-ran for Montez, all the way home from second for a 3-0 score.
It appeared as though Hamilton would toss her third no-hitter of the season but a homerun in the seventh by Michigan State’s Lindsey Hanson changed that.
The Seminoles continue play at the FAU Miken Classic against Miami (Oh) on Sunday at 9 a.m.