Feb. 18, 2012
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – Behind another strong performance by Briana Hamilton as well as some quality pitching, the Florida State University softball team advanced to 8-0 on the season after defeating Coastal Carolina, 6-1, followed by a 2-1 win over North Dakota State on Saturday at the second Seminole Classic.
The Seminoles’ (8-0) two victories surpass the 2007 squad’s 6-0 start and is now the best start by FSU since the 2004 team began the season 11-0. The 2004 unit was one of seven FSU softball teams to reach the Women’s College World Series.
Once again, an enormous reason for FSU coming out on top was two superb pitching efforts by freshman Lacey Waldrop (3-0) and redshirt junior Monica Perry (3-0). Waldrop, a Colonial Heights, Va., native, allowed no runs on just one hit while striking out two in five innings pitched versus Coastal Carolina.
“I’m very pleased with all of our pitchers at this point,” head coach Lonni Alameda said. “We’re getting consistent, solid efforts from each. Our starters have been giving us great innings, and then when it’s time for someone to step in and get some big outs in relief they’ve been rising to the occasion so far. It’s still early and we’ve still got some things to work on, but our players are progressing and that’s what we want to see right now.”
Waldrop reached 13 consecutive innings without allowing a hit over her last three starts until surrendering a short single to North Dakota State’s Jenina Ortega to begin the fourth inning. It was the only hit Waldrop allowed to her 17 batters faced.
Despite allowing a base hit, Waldrop still has a streak of 15 scoreless innings pitched dating back to her second start of the season versus Tennessee Tech. She has not allowed a hit or run since her final inning pitched in her first start against Ole Miss last weekend.
Waldrop got some help in her fourth start from FSU’s offense, which was led once again by junior Briana Hamilton. Against the Chanticleers (5-3), Hamilton finished 2-for-3 with her first career triple as a Seminole and three runs scored. Courtney Senas’ bat provided the first two runs versus Coastal Carolina, scoring Hamilton on a comebacker to the pitcher in the second inning followed by a run-scoring double to right field in the fourth.
Also recording base hits versus Coastal Carolina were Tiffani Brown, Shayla Jackson, Maddie O’Brien, and Morgan Bullock. Bullock, a Dacula, Ga., native, capped the scoring in the sixth inning with a lined sacrifice fly to centerfield to plate Hamilton.
The Seminoles faced a challenge in game two, matching up against its first reigning NCAA Tournament opponent of the season in North Dakota State. The Bison (5-3), which advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals in 2009, held FSU to just two hits but was bit by one pitching mistake to hot-hitting Hamilton in the fourth. North Dakota State starter Whitney Johnson (4-2), who endured the loss, served up a fastball on a 1-2 count that Hamilton drove well over the left field wall for her third home run of the season. The big play turned out to be the game-winning hit, a two-run shot that scored pinch runner Kirstin Austin.
Perry pitched effectively again for FSU, allowing four hits in 4.1 innings pitched while not allowing a run. The Whitesburg, Ga., native won her third straight start by pitching out of jams, allowing a Bison leadoff batter to reach base in the first four innings yet getting out of the frames unscathed. Her ability to make the key pitch with the bases loaded or with runners in scoring position prevented the Bison from doing any significant damage with its potent lineup.
The start was Perry’s first of the season without surrendering a run. Relieving her was freshman Bailey Schinella, who already picked up her second save of the season after allowing no earned runs in 2.2 innings pitched. Schinella’s second save of the year is already tied for eighth place in school history on the single-season list.
FSU returns with its final game of the second Seminole Classic on Sunday at approximately 1 p.m. versus Mercer. Following the game, FSU student-athletes and coaches will partake in another youth clinic at JoAnne Graf Field.