RALEIGH, N.C. (seminoles.com) – A resounding offensive performance combined with flawless outings from pitchers Lacey Waldrop and Monica Perry allowed the Florida State softball team to win both games of Saturday’s doubleheader at NC State at Dail Stadium in Raleigh, N.C.
Florida State defeated the Wolfpack (11-7-1, 0-2) 4-0 in game one, then earned its eighth mercy-rule win of the season in game two, 11-1 (6).
“Everything worked well for us today. I’m very proud of the way we played,” head coach Lonni Alameda said. “Our pitching was fantastic, our hitting was great, we made great decisions out there in the field. Today was a day where everything clicked for us and it comes at a crucial point in the season when conference play begins. Our pitchers were extremely effective; we had several hitters take charge at the plate and in the end when you execute like that you get two big W’s.”
The Seminoles (16-8, 2-0) won on ACC opening day thanks to an opportunistic offense that scored runs in bunches. In both games combined, Florida State recorded four three-run home runs and five round-trippers altogether. Game one starter Monica Perry pitched her third shutout of the season in game one, while sophomore pitcher Lacey Waldrop came within one final strike of delivering her third career no-hitter in game two.
For the day, junior centerfielder Courtney Senas finished 6-for-8 with two home runs, four RBIs and 12 total bases. The Wahiawa, Hawaii native went 4-for-4 with four runs scored and three RBIs, as her four base hits marked a career high. Senas entered the doubleheader having recorded three base hits in a game seven times in her career. She is now the third Seminole this season to notch four base hits in a game, joining Tiffani Brown and Stephanie Hartness.
Junior Kelly Hensley was also torrid at the plate, going 4-for-6 with one home run, four RBIs, two doubles and nine total bases in both games. Florida State totaled 10 extra base hits, and made the most of its chances by finishing 7-for-22 with runners in scoring position throughout the day.
Waldrop and Perry had exceptional performances in the circle. Waldrop started game two and struck out a career high 12 batters in 5.2 innings. The Chester, Va. native’s first nine outs recorded were strikeouts, giving her nine K’s through her first three innings pitched.
With Florida State leading 11-1 with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, NC State’s Chelsea Tate spoiled Waldrop’s second no-hit bid of the season by hitting a 1-2 pitch into the left center gap for a double. Reliever Jessica Nori would finish the game for the final out.
Waldrop recorded a five-inning no-hitter in her last outing entering Saturday’s start against Troy. Right before she allowed a base hit to Tate, she had not surrendered a hit in her last 11 innings pitched.
Perry was aided by early run support in game one, but the Whitesburg, Ga. native did an excellent job stranding the Wolfpack runners throughout the game. Perry pitched a complete-game seven innings and tied her season high with 10 strikeouts, which she also recorded this season against Tulsa and Troy. NC State left eight runners on base.
Perry surrendered just five hits, allowing the Wolfpack to reach base on leadoff at-bats in the first four innings. However, the redshirt senior pitcher made smart pitches and got herself out of several jams. All game, Perry jammed NC State hitters and forced a lot of foul balls as the Wolfpack found it hard to string together quality at-bats against the Seminoles.
In the top of the first inning in game one, Florida State struck early when Hensley saw a 2-2 pitch up in the letters and cranked her seventh home run of the season, a three-run shot to left center. The Niceville, Fla. native scored Victoria East, who started the game with a double and Senas, who singled up the middle.
Perry allowed a double to the right center gap by Caitlin Dent to start the second inning, then advanced to third base on a wild pitch. However, Perry managed to strike out three consecutive batters and get out of the inning unscathed.
Senas added a crucial insurance run in the top of the seventh, hammering a solo home run to centerfield for her sixth round-tripper of the year to make it 4-0.
In game two, Hensley’s RBI double through the right side drove in Senas to give Florida State another early cushion at 1-0.
In the top of the third, catcher Celeste Gomez recorded a three-run home run to centerfield to plate Senas and Hensley and give the Seminoles a 4-0 lead. Gomez’s home run was her fourth of the season, another line-drive shot that got out of the ballpark in a hurry.
Gomez’s home run off NC State starting pitcher Emily Weiman (10-6) was her third given up on the day. Weiman entered Saturday’s doubleheader having only given up one home run in her first 15 appearances this season.
In the top of the fourth in game two, Kaitlin Allen drew a walk and advanced to second base on a single by Victoria East. Senas then swung at the first pitch she saw from reliever Chelsea Stanfield and delivered another three-run home run to push the Florida State advantage to 7-0. Senas and Hensley are now tied for the team lead with seven home runs apiece.
Shortstop Maddie O’Brien added to the scoring in the top of the sixth, lacing a run-scoring double to the opposite field in left for an 8-0 lead.
Kirstin Austin continued Florida State’s three-run home-run onslaught, hitting another first-pitch offering over the right centerfield wall to extend the Seminole lead to 11-0. Austin’s second home run of the year drove in O’Brien and Macey Cheatham.
Florida State hopes to earn a series sweep over NC State as both teams square off in a noon game on Sunday at Dail Stadium. Fans can follow the game on CBS GameTracker and through in-game updates on the @FSU_Softball Twitter handle.