April 13, 2011
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – The Florida State University softball team managed to come back from a seven-run hole as it defeated the University of North Florida in game one, 9-7, before coasting to a 6-1 victory in game two on Wednesday evening at JoAnne Graf Field.
The Seminoles (23-21, 5-7) accomplished their goal of finishing their back-to-back doubleheader slate with four victories, using it as momentum heading into this weekend’s important conference series at Boston College. FSU broke out with a remarkable hitting attack in game one, which included an eight-run, 10-hit output in the fourth inning to climb back from a 7-0 deficit.
Overall, FSU finished with a season-high 17 base hits in game one, eclipsing its previous high of 16 against Florida A&M on March 23. Sophomore Tiffani Brown’s 3-for-4 performance with two RBIs was her sixth three-hit game of the season, while junior Shayla Jackson’s three hits marked her team-leading 16th multiple-hit performance of the season.
Robin Ahrberg, Celeste Gomez, Briana Hamilton and Morgan Bullock added two hits apiece. The Seminoles recorded 13 singles and four extra-base hits in game one, highlighted by Brown’s triple down the left field line in the fifth inning. For the game, the Seminoles batted 17-for-33.
The Ospreys (20-25) got off to a fast start as they were boosted by some FSU miscues in the field. They scored five runs in the third inning as Caroline Torre, Danica Mandarano and Alyson Bailey each record consecutive run-scoring singles to spark the UNF lead. UNF then added two more runs in the fourth inning when Mariah Reynolds and Mandarano connected on run-scoring singles.
FSU’s eight-run outburst was started by Bullock’s two-run double to left center. Brown then slapped a two-run single up the middle, and Jackson added an RBI single to the left side to make it 7-5. FSU chipped away with more one-baggers, as Jen Lapicki and Ahrberg stepped up with consecutive singles. An illegal pitch by reliever Cortney Radke (18-16) brought home another run before Ashley Stager tied the game on another RBI single up the middle.
The game-winning hit occurred when Celeste Gomez took a full-count offering and hit a run-scoring double to right center to highlight the frame. An insurance run was added in the fifth when Brown scored on an illegal pitch after tripling to lead off the inning.
Jessica Nori (4-4) earned the victory for FSU, pitching five innings but not allowing an earned run while striking out five of her 24 batters faced. Sophomore pitcher Dale Townsend got her first start of the season and pitched well, striking out three in two innings pitched.
Senior starter Sarah Hamilton (14-13) set the tone in game two, shutting down the Ospreys with 14 strikeouts and allowing just two hits and one run in another complete game performance. The Tallahassee native continues to march toward FSU’s all-time strikeouts record, advancing her total to 933 to sit just seven shy of breaking former pitcher Tiffany McDonald’s mark of 939.
Hamilton was perfect through the first three innings, not allowing a base runner while striking out five during that span. Jackie Reese then led off the fourth with a bunt through the right side that Hamilton picked up and errantly threw to first base, pulling Brown off the bag. She battled back and eventually struck out the side in the fifth and seventh innings to mark her second-highest total of the season.
FSU pulled away from UNF in game two because of its production at the top of the lineup – the first three batters in Brown, Jackson and Lapicki combined to go 6-for-10 with three doubles and three RBIs. FSU also stole five bases, its highest total since swiping seven bags against Wisconsin on March 6.
Jackson started FSU off right in game two, doubling to left center in the first inning to score Brown. Jackson then laced a sharp single down the left field line that was mishandled by left fielder Stephanie McAdam, bringing into two runs before Lapicki hammered a run-scoring double to the right center gap.
Gomez capped the scoring with a two-run single to right center in the fourth inning.
FSU heads back on the road in ACC play as it faces Boston College beginning on Saturday, April 16, in a doubleheader that begins at 1 p.m. FSU wraps up the series with an 11 a.m. matchup on Sunday.