April 3, 2011
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – Despite making a late three-run comeback, the Florida State University softball team suffered a 4-3 loss in eight innings against Virginia Tech on Sunday afternoon at JoAnne Graf Field.
The Seminoles (17-19, 3-6) were trailing 3-0 through the first four innings, as Virginia Tech ace Jasmin Harrell looked impressive in the circle during that time. The FSU offense began to heat up with two runs in the fifth and a game-tying run in the sixth, outhitting the Hokies (28-9, 6-3) 9-6 in today’s contest.
Holding down the Virginia Tech bats was FSU reliever Jessica Nori (2-3), who took the loss despite giving up just one run in the final six innings. The Weston, Fla., native’s last three appearances have all been impressive, as she once again overpowered the Hokies with her accurate fastball throughout the afternoon.
Tiffani Brown and Celeste Gomez led FSU with two hits apiece, including Gomez’s first career home run in the fifth inning. Sophomore Briana Hamilton was steady defensively at third base and added her third home run of the year to highlight the FSU comeback.
The Hokies scored first in the opening frame as Dani Anderson crossed the plate on a two-strike wild pitch from Sarah Hamilton. Anderson reached first base on a single to centerfield with one out, and three batters later Ashton Ward walked to load the bases with two outs. Hamilton recorded one of her three strikeouts in the inning when she fanned Marra Hvozdovic on a full-count pitch, catching her looking on an inside fastball to end the inning.
After Hamilton gave up a hit-by-pitch, she was replaced by Nori in the third inning. Betty Rose then hit a lining double to left field to put two runners in scoring position, and Kristen Froehlich did her job by driving in a run after grounding out softly to second base. Ward then hit an RBI double to the right center gap to cap the Virginia Tech scoring.
FSU marched back with two runs in the fifth inning. Hamilton launched her third home run of the season on a solo shot to left field to cut the deficit to 3-1. Two batters later, Gomez hammered a 1-2 offering from Harrell for another solo home run, this one to left center, to make it 3-2.
Amber Bryant’s heads-up base running brought the game to a tie in the sixth inning. The Pomona, Calif., native pinch ran for Jen Lapicki after she singled up the middle. Robin Ahrberg then lay down a sacrifice bunt to the third base side, and Bryant reached second base and then scampered to third after seeing the base was uncovered. With one out, Ashley Stager hit a chopping grounder to the shortstop, who looked off Bryant and then got the out at first base. However, Bryant charged home and slid around the tag at home plate to give the Seminoles a key run.
FSU had a chance to win the game in the seventh inning, loading the bases with two outs after Jackson hit a single to left field. Lapicki then stepped to the dish against reliever Kenzie Roark (15-5) and fouled out to end the scoring threat.
The game-winning run was scored in the eighth when Laura Wolff stepped to the plate with two runners in scoring position. Wolff hit a slow-rolling grounder to shortstop Ashley Stager, who briefly struggled with the exchange before throwing home late as Ward scored on a fielder’s choice.
FSU resumes play with a doubleheader Tuesday at Jacksonville University, followed by a game at UCF on Wednesday. Tuesday’s doubleheader begins at 4 p.m., and the matchup versus the Golden Knights occurs at 6 p.m.