Tallahassee - Florida State scored two runs in the first inning and that’s all that would be needed for the No. 3-ranked and No. 8-seeded Seminoles as they defeated USF (43-17) by a score of 2-1 on May 17 on JoAnne Graf Field at the Seminole Softball Complex. With the victory, Florida State (53-6) wins the Tallahassee Regional and moves on to the NCAA Super Regional round for the second year in a row.
“Again, it was battle with Sarah Nevins and USF,” said head coach Lonni Alameda. “She pitched a great game. She threw a lot of innings yesterday and for her to come out and fight for her team like that was pretty awesome.”
“For our program, we knew we would be battling her and made some adjustments and jumping on after they scored in the first was huge for us,” added Alameda. “It was a complete team win and a complete team effort. Obviously, Lacey was giving us quality innings in the circle and pitch-by-pitch battled for us. An outstanding win for the program and we are really excited about next weekend.”
USF got out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first after leading off with a base hit up the middle by Juli Weber. She would be retired at second on a failed sacrifice bunt by Ashli Goff. Goff moved to second on a groundout to short and came into score a batter later on an RBI single by Stephanie Medina.
The Noles would take the lead right back in the bottom of the first as Tiffani Brown led off the inning with a base hit to left. Walks to Maddie O’Brien and Alex Kossoff and RBI singles from Kelly Hensley and Bailey Schinella gave Florida State a 2-1 lead after the first inning.
The Bulls got a runner to third base with one out in the top of the third inning, and much like the game on May 17, great defensive plays by Florida State kept USF off the scoreboard. A slap to O’Brien at short was quickly fielded and fired home and Celeste Gomez was able to apply the tag on Kristen Wyckoff for the second out of the inning. Victoria East ended the inning with a backhand grab on a ball in the hole and outran the runner to first.
The game settled in as FSU’s Lacey Waldrop and Sarah Nevins again proved that they are two of the top pitchers in the country. After allowing two runs in the first, Nevins would retire 14 straight until issuing a four-pitch walk to O’Brien to start the sixth inning. That would be the final blemish on her scorecard as she retired the next three batters to end the frame.
Nevins (29-10) tossed 6.0 innings, allowing just three hits, two runs and three walks while striking out six in the loss.
Waldrop sent USF down in order in both the second and the fourth inning, but the Bulls continued to fight. USF tried to mount a comeback in the sixth getting two runners on base before a groundout to the circle by Veronica Gajownik ended the inning.
The Noles would also be tested in the seventh inning as USF led off the inning with a base hit by Courtney Goff and was followed by a reaching on a fielding error by East. After a conference in the circle, Waldrop recorded two huge strikeouts and then induced a grounder to Briana Hamilton at third to end the game.
Waldrop improved to 36-4 on the season and is now holds the single-season record for wins by a pitcher in FSU history. The Chester, Va., native scattered seven hits over 7.0 innings, allowing just one walk and striking out four.
The Seminoles will host the NCAA Super Regional next weekend against either Arizona State or Michigan. Game dates and times will be announced later tonight.
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