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Season Over: FSU Softball eliminated in Tallahassee Regional Championship

Fans sing the Florida State fight song with the FSU softball team after a game at JoAnne Graf...
Fans sing the Florida State fight song with the FSU softball team after a game at JoAnne Graf Field.(Fletcher Keel | WCTV)
Published: May. 22, 2022 at 10:32 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Noles247) - No. 2 national seed Florida State was eliminated from the NCAA Softball Tournament on Sunday. A brutal ending to a terrific season for one of the teams pegged by many as being a top contender to play for the National Championship.

The Seminoles, who needed just one win entering the day to advance to the NCAA Super Regionals next weekend, lost a pair of games to No. 2 regional seed Mississippi State in the Tallahassee Regional Championship.

The Bulldogs defeated FSU 5-0 early on Sunday to force a winner-take-all seventh game of the regional. In the final game of the regional, the Bulldogs (37-25) won 4-3 to advance to the NCAA Super Regionals.

The Seminoles finish the season 54-7. Sunday marked their first two losses to an out-of-conference opponent this season. The first loss of the day snapped a 16-game winning streak on the season and a 24-game winning streak in the regional round.

“Mississippi State had to come with a game plan today and win two games and they did. It is all about execution. I think they executed their game plan and we left it all out there,” FSU head coach Lonni Alameda said. “Today was Mississippi State’s day. Nothing went [right] for us. Tip your hat to them and wish them luck as they move forward.”

In the first game of the day, starting pitcher Kathryn Sandercock (30-2) took her second loss of the season. The Bulldogs plated a pair in the bottom half of the third inning, with a solo home run by Mia Davidson starting things off. After Sandercock came out of the game, she was replaced by Emma Wilson who surrendered a trio of runs in the bottom half of the sixth inning. Aspen Wesley (9-7) threw a complete game for MSU, allowing just two hits and walking one while striking out three over seven innings. She faced just five over the minimum as the Seminoles struggled mightily at the plate.

In the second game of the day, FSU jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom half of the first inning when Sydney Sherrill homered to center field. She drove in Kaley Mudge who led off the game with a triple. A sacrifice fly by Mississippi State in the top half of the second inning closed the gap to 2-1. FSU would push ahead 3-1 in the bottom half of the second inning on a RBI double by Mudge. Danielle Watson allowed a pair of singles and Kathryn Sandercock (30-3) replaced her in the fifth inning. Sandercock then loaded the bases and allowed a RBI single to Shea Moreno followed by a RBI double by Chloe Malau’ulu that gave Mississippi State a 4-3 lead. FSU threatened multiple times over the final three innings, but squandered each and every opportunity. FSU had 10 hits, but stranded nine on the bases, on the day. Annie Willis (9-8) earned the victory for the Bulldogs, throwing the final five innings, allowing six hits, walking two, and striking out two.

FSU was eliminated in the regional round for the first time since 2012. FSU last lost a home regional in 2009.

With 54 wins, the 2022 squad became the 21st Florida State softball team to win 50 or more games in a season. It is the eighth time a Lonni Alameda coached team has reached 50 wins. FSU’s 49-5 record in the regular season was the highest winning percentage in a regular season in school history (.907). The Seminole also earned their 18th ACC Championship last weekend.

“My gosh we had an incredible run, a lot of historic moments, some incredible come-from-behind on different people,” Alameda said when asked to reflect on the season. “When you look at your body of work, it is still something you can fall back on, but you still have to execute this time of year. I think the biggest thing is when you put your head on your pillow at night, you know you did your all. I definitely think this team did that. They gave us a lot this year. So really proud of them.”

With the season ending, senior pitcher Danielle Watson and senior third baseman Sydney Sherrill, as well as reserve Maegan Tomlinson, have suited up for the final time with the Seminoles.

“I am super proud of Syd and Danielle for everything they have done for the program,” Alameda said after the game. “It is pretty incredible the career.”

Sherrill joined Alameda for the post-game and shared some parting comments, while fighting back tears.

“Florida State has meant everything to me,” Sherrill said. “I’m really thankful I got to play five years here. Thankful for that extra COVID year and thankful for this coaching staff. They have done an immeasurable amount of things for me as a person and as a player. I just don’t really know how to pay them back. I’m just very grateful. Sucks [that it ended today], but I’m thankful to still be a Seminole.”

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