Tallahassee, FL - The combination of seniors Morgan Bullock and Kirstin Austin at the plate and pitcher Monica Perry in the circle led the 25th-ranked Florida State softball team to a doubleheader sweep over Virginia on Sunday afternoon at JoAnne Graf Field.
The Seminoles (33-14, 12-2) maintained their first-place standing in the Atlantic Coast Conference by winning 3-2 in game one on a walk-off RBI single from Austin in the eighth inning. Florida State defeated the Cavaliers (18-21, 3-11) in game two by a 10-2 score in five innings, its 15th mercy-rule game of the season.
Honored before the game for their career-long achievements as members of the Garnet and Gold, the three seniors made their day worthwhile by contributing in big ways. Perry (16-7) earned victories in both games today, one as a starter and one in relief. The Whitesburg, Ga. native combined to allow two runs on three hits in 6.2 innings while striking out four.
“It’s kind of weird thinking about it being senior weekend since we have more softball left,” head coach Lonni Alameda said following her 200th win as Florida State’s skipper. “Our seniors have been great all season long and it’s nice to be able to honor them and win the games for them.”
Perry came through largely in the first game, entering the contest with Florida State and Virginia tied at 2-2 with one out and UVA runners on first and second base. Perry immediately induced a double play by Taylor Williams as Austin made a sliding catch in left field on a liner, then doubled off Heidi Velk at second base on a throw from her knees to end the inning.
Austin used a bevy of great defensive plays in the outfield to help spark her numbers at the plate. The Temple Terrace, Fla. native finished 3-for-6 on Sunday with a double, two RBIs and three runs scored. After leading the Seminoles last season with a .364 batting average in ACC play, Austin is batting .439 (18-for-41) this season against conference opponents.
Bullock finished 4-for-7 with one triple, an RBI and two runs scored. The Dacula, Ga. native went 3-for-4 in game one to record her 10th multiple-hit game of her career. It was the fourth time this season she has had at least three hits in a game.
Florida State is now 72-17 all-time against UVA, owning more wins against the Cavaliers than any other ACC opponent. The Noles improve to 25-7 at home. Florida State also raised its batting average to .313 as a team.
In game one, redshirt sophomore Maddie O’Brien led off the bottom of the fourth with a solo home run to left center, her sixth blast of the season. Bullock followed with a triple to right center to keep the momentum going, but she was doubled off on a shallow pop-out by Austin where Bullock left early tagging to home plate.
In the top of the fifth, Virginia scored an unearned run when Heidi Velk stole third base with two outs and scored on an errant throw by catcher Celeste Gomez on the steal attempt. Pitcher Lacey Waldrop came back to strike out leadoff batter Taylor Williams to finish the inning.
The Cavaliers scored the go-ahead run in the top of the sixth. Marcy Bowdren led off with a single in the top of the sixth, then reached second base on a sacrifice bunt by Megan Harris. Alex Skinkis then singled to put runners on the corners with one out and Aimee Chapdelaine’s groundout to second base brought home Bowdren to give the Cavaliers a 2-1 advantage.
With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Bullock recorded her second hit of the game on an infield single to second base. Kirstin Austin then provided one of the game’s biggest hits with a two-out RBI double to the left center gap, plating Bullock from first base to tie the game at 2-2.
Austin came through in the bottom of the eighth when she stepped up to the plate with runners on first and second base. She recorded a hard-hit single to the right side that took a tricky hop on UVA second baseman Lauren Didlake and skidded past her to bring in the walk-off run in pinch runner Courtney Adams. O’Brien recorded a single through the right side to begin the scoring frame, followed by a bunt single from Bullock before Austin provided the game-winning base hit.
In game two, O’Brien recorded her second home run of the day on a two-run round tripper to centerfield to give Florida State an early 2-0 lead. O’Brien drove home Courtney Senas as well, who recorded a single to the left side in the inning.
Florida State picked up three more runs in the bottom of the third. O’Brien and Bullock recorded RBI singles and Bailey Schinella capped the inning with a sacrifice fly to right field, making it 5-0. The game would end in the fifth on an RBI single from Senas to score East.
The Seminoles play the final game of the series on Monday night in an ESPNU-televised contest at 7 p.m. against Virginia. Softball legend Jennie Finch and Adam Amin will be on the call, and fans in attendance will receive shakers courtesy of the FSU marketing office.