TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In a battle of top-15 teams, No. 2 Michigan (5-1) used a three-run seventh inning to outlast No. 13 Florida State (5-2) on Friday night and take a 6-2 victory on the first day of the 2016 ACC/Big Ten Softball Challenge. The Seminoles had numerous offensive chances throughout the game, but couldn’t push across the runs when they needed to, leaving 11 runners on base.
“It was a great ballgame, but the score doesn’t really reflect how close it was as we were right there up until the sixth inning,” said FSU head coach Lonni Alameda. “As a young squad, it was good experience to get a lot of people in situations to get better for later down the line. Now it is the chess match of coming out here tomorrow a little better than we were today. If we execute on a few pitches and get a few swings off in certain situations, this is a different ballgame.
“We’re very pleased with the attitude we had from the first pitch to the last pitch, everyone was in it. We know how we measure up against a top-five team and now we have to go to work.”
Michigan opened the scoring with a pair of runs in the top of the first. After FSU starting pitcher Jessica Burroughs retired the first two batters of the inning, Michigan put together three consecutive hits on singles by Kelly Christner and Tera Blanco, along with an RBI double by Kelsey Susalla, to take a 1-0 lead. A wild pitch from Burroughs brought in the second Wolverine run to give U-M a 2-0 lead.
Florida State struck back in the bottom of the frame as the first four batters reached base, including walks to Morgan Klaevemann and Alex Powers, a hit by pitch to Jessica Warren and an RBI single by Sydney Broderick. FSU was unable to bring in any additional runs and left the bases loaded and trailed 2-1 after the first inning.
The score remained 2-1 until the sixth inning when a leadoff double by Michigan and a hit by pitch ended Burroughs’ night in the circle. Meghan King replaced Burroughs and gave up an RBI double to Aidan Falk to make it 3-1 before settling in and retiring the next three batters.
Burroughs (3-2) took the loss after 5.0 innings of work, allowing seven hits, three runs with zero walks and eight strikeouts. Three of those strikeouts were against Sierra Romero, who only recorded eight strikeouts in the entire 2015 season and had zero strikeouts in 2016.
The Noles had many opportunities against Michigan pitchers Megan Betsa and Sara Driesenga, but they couldn’t find the hits needed to drive in runs. In all, FSU left 11 people on base, including four on third base. Conversely, Michigan had clutch hitting throughout the night as eight of its 11 hits came with two strikes in the count, including the first five Wolverine base hits of the game.
Driesenga (3-0) earned the win for Michigan, tossing 3.1 innings of relief, allowing just one run on two hits with one walk and four strikeouts. Betsa worked 3.2 innings in the start and gave up three hits, a run and six walks, along with seven strikeouts before being replaced in the fourth inning.
FSU nearly tied it in the bottom of the sixth after a two-out RBI by Warren cut the lead to 3-2 and put runners on second and third, but a groundout to the pitcher ended the inning.
Michigan plated three in the top of the seventh to put the game away, including a two-run home run by Romero. King finished with 1.0 IP and gave up two hits, two runs, one earned while Tessa Daniels pitched the final inning for Florida State and surrendered two hits, one run along with a walk.
Next up for the Noles is a rematch on Saturday with Michigan at 5:00 p.m., followed by a game with No. 20 Minnesota (4-2) at 7:30 p.m. Both games will be broadcast on ESPN3 with Jonathan Schillace and Maddie O’Brien on the call. Admission is free for all regular season games at JoAnne Graf Field and live stats will also be available on Seminoles.com.
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