Tallahassee - The No. 8 Florida State Seminoles (37-4, 14-2) wore new pink jerseys but the result was the same as they took two games from Maryland (3-27, 2-8 ACC) on Sat., April 5. Game one was a five-inning affair with FSU winning, 10-2, while game two lasted six innings with the Seminoles emerging with the 14-6 win. The ‘Noles have won 16 straight games overall and 11 consecutive ACC games.
Both games were part of FSU softball’s Paint it Pink weekend and the team wore special jerseys to support breast cancer awareness that will be auctioned off on Seminoles.com soon. Pink T-shirts were also sold with all the proceeds benefiting the Sharon Ewing Walker Breast Health Center at Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare.
“Unfortunately as the years go on, you meet more and more people who are impacted by cancer,” said head coach Lonni Alameda. “This is a nice day to honor the fighters who are a lot stronger than we are. You know, we are just out here playing a game and they are fighting everyday whether in the hospital or their bed, or a lot of them are out here and have beat cancer and are supporting us. It is really cool to see. It gives us strength, but it is a great day to honor them.”
The Seminoles scored early in game one, plating four runs in the bottom of the first. Courtney Senas extended her lead in the ACC with her 29th walk of the season and came into score on an RBI double by Maddie O’Brien to center. It was O’Brien’s 13th double of the season.
After a Bailey Schinella walk, Victoria East laced a two-run double to right center to make it 3-0. Two batters later, Kelly Hensley rounded out the scoring for the ‘Noles with an RBI single up the middle to score East. The four runs scored marked the 10th time FSU has plated three or more runs in the opening frame.
The Seminoles added a run in the second from Senas as she reached after the right fielder dropped her pop fly and she ended up on third. The senior outfielder would score in the next at bat when ball four to O’Brien went to the backstop on a wild pitch.
Maryland brought in two runs in the third after leading off the inning with a walk and two bunt singles. A two-RBI single to right by Shannon Bustillos made it 5-2 Florida State.
Corey Hendrickson extended FSU’s lead in the bottom of the third with a pinch-hit RBI single to score Alex Kossoff. RBIs from Briana Hamilton on a sac fly and Tiffani Brown on a single opened up an 8-2 lead after three innings.
Lacey Waldrop closed out Maryland in the fourth to end her game one outing. The junior tossed 4.0 innings in the win, allowing three hits, two runs, four walks and striking out six.
O’Brien continued to swing with power as she led off the fifth with a solo home run to right center. It was her 15th of the season which set a new FSU single season record. The Palm Harbor, Fla., native now owns Florida State single-season records for home runs (15) and RBI (62) and also holds the career home run mark (33) and is in second for the all-time mark in RBI (152 – nine away).
Schinella followed O’Brien’s home run with a double and was brought in to score on an RBI ground out by Hensley to complete FSU’s scoring at 10-2 after four. Jessica Nori would pitch the final inning for the Seminoles and sent the Terrapins down in order in the top of the fifth as Florida State grabbed the game one mercy rule win.
Maryland started off game two on a better note as they scored a run in the first and added three more in the second as FSU starter Jessica Burroughs had trouble finding the strike zone. Nori came on to relieve her in the second as Burroughs finished with 1.0 innings and allowed three hits, a career-high four runs and three walks.
Florida State scored two runs in the bottom of the first with sacrifice flies from Schinella and East. It was the 20th time in 2014 that FSU had scored in the first inning.
The Seminoles chipped away at the Maryland lead in the third as Tiffani Brown led off the inning with a walk. A fielder’s choice by Senas and a walk by O’Brien allowed Schinella to add her second RBI of the game on a single up the middle. FSU trailed Maryland 4-3 after three innings.
The Terrapins added another run in the top of the fourth with a solo home run to left center by Lindsey Schmeiser to make it 5-3 Maryland.
FSU answered back in the bottom of the frame and took the lead after loading the bases by singles from freshman Victoria Daddis and senior Kelly Hensley as well as a walk from redshirt freshman Alex Powers.
Senas came to the plate two batters later and knocked a two-RBI single up the middle. The Maryland centerfielder, Kylie Datil, in trying to make a play on Tiffani Brown as she advanced to third threw the ball away allowing Brown to score easily and make it 6-5 FSU after four full innings.
Waldrop entered the game for Nori in the fifth inning and allowed Maryland to tie the game at 6-6 with a pair of singles and an RBI fielder’s choice to short. Waldrop pitched the final 2.0 innings to get the win and improve to 25-2 on the season, scattering two hits and a run as she faced eight batters.
The Seminoles retook the lead for good in the bottom of the fifth with an RBI single by Hensley and back-to-back home runs by Hendrickson and Hamilton. It was Hamilton’s fourth home run in five games and Hendrickson’s two-run home run was the first home run of her career. Hendrickson finished the doubleheader 2-for-2 with two runs scored and three RBI.
Florida State would close out the game with four runs in the bottom of the sixth, all scored with two outs. A bases loaded walk to Stephanie Hartness made it 11-6, and Celeste Gomez’s two-RBI double to left put FSU on the verge of a mercy-rule victory with a 13-6 lead. Hamilton’s pop fly to third which should have ended the inning was dropped and allowed Hartness to score and end the game.
“So excited for Maddie and she’s worked really hard to take this team to the next level,” added Alameda. “We’ve been using our bench in a lot of situations and it was great to see them get some hits and Corey was swinging the bat well. We are going to need a bench in the postseason and where we want to go, so that is important.”
Sunday’s final game against Maryland is scheduled for a first pitch at 11:00 a.m. Following the game, there will be a free clinic open to all members of the FSU Kid’s Club as well as any child in 8th grade or lower.
Follow Florida State softball on Twitter (@FSU_Softball) and Instagram (fsusoftball), and like our Facebook page (Facebook.com/FSUsoftball) to keep with everything about Seminole softball throughout the 2014 season.