Feb. 27, 2010
COLUMBUS, Ga. — Junior Sarah Hamilton threw a no-hitter Saturday and the No. 18/22 Florida State softball team earned wins over Mississippi Valley State and Hofstra at day two of the NFCA Leadoff Classic.
A day after bashing out nine runs in a run-rule win over Southern Illinois, the Seminoles (14-2) took down Mississippi Valley State, 8-3, in a morning matchup and then beat up Hofstra, 8-0, in the nightcap behind Hamilton’s performance.
The Pride had entered the night undefeated in three prior games at the Classic.
“It was a nice way to come back tonight after we left some runners on base this morning,” FSU head coach Lonni Alameda said. “We corrected that in the second game and we got a total team effort out there. There was a lot of energy in the dugout and we are happy to pick up these two wins tonight.”
Senior Terese Gober earned the win in the early game, going seven innings and giving up just two earned runs on five hits. She also struck out nine batters and didn’t walk anyone.
On offense, junior Ashley Stager’s grand slam was good enough for a contest-best four RBIs. Seniors Monica Montez and Carly Wynn and junior Mallory Borden contributed an RBI apiece in the win. Stager and junior Kristie McConn were 2-of-3 on the day.
Against Hofstra, Hamilton looked every bit the part of a defending conference pitcher of the year.
The Tallahassee native tossed the fourth no-hitter of her career against the Pride and first of the season for FSU. In five innings of work she only walked three batters and struck out seven for her sixth win of the year.
“It felt awesome tonight,” Hamilton said. “We played really great defense and it makes it that much easier to throw well you know the girls behind you are going to make plays. And our offense did well, too, so that helps take the pressure off when you can build five-run leads.”
While Hamilton was the star of the second game, Stager was certainly the star of the Seminoles’ first one.
After Wynn walked, sophomore Shayla Jackson drilled a double and senior Tory Haddad walked, Stager picked the perfect time to connect for a grand slam. Her screaming shot over the left field fence gave the ‘Noles an early 4-0 lead.
The four-run bomb was Florida State’s first grand slam since Kaleigh Rafter earned one last April against Virginia.
Mississippi Valley State got two of those runs back an inning later, though, when Wilson smacked a two-run dinger to the same place as Stager’s shot.
Montez returned the favor in the second inning with a solo blast that marked her first home run of the 2010 season and her first since her freshman year to push the lead to 5-2.
FSU threatened to add to that total in bottom of the third with runners on second and third and just one out. But freshman Tiffani Brown struck out swinging and Wynn grounded out to the second baseman.
The same situation occurred in the fourth inning but with two outs Haddad couldn’t bring Ahrberg and Stager in from third and second, respectively.
Wynn was then able to put an end to the scoreless drought in the fifth inning. With Brown on second base after the speedy freshman had stolen a base, Wynn sent her home with a timely double down the left line.
Lapicki got the Seminoles seventh run of the ballgame when she teamed with Stager on the double steal. Stager took off for second from first and at the very same time Lapicki sprinted home to make it 7-2 in favor of FSU.
After Haddad drew a walk to get on base with Stager, Borden pinch hit for McConn and blooped a single to shallow right field. The hit plated Stager and moved Haddad to third for an 8-2 score before Mississippi Valley State added one more run.
Just like she did earlier in the day, Stager batted in the first run of the ballgame in FSU’s evening contest with Hofstra.
Her single down the left line scored Jackson – who had reached base on a Pride fielding error – from second base and gave the Seminoles a 1-0 lead.
Wynn added to that total in the top of the third with a solo homerun that flew over the left field wall. The shot was her first of the season and the 15th of her stellar career.
Back-to-back singles from Jackson and Lapicki then put runners at first and second. Then a fielding error by Hofstra delivered Stager to first base and jammed up the bases.
One pitch later, Montez connected for a single up the middle that scored Jackson and kept the bases loaded with just one out. Borden then pinch hit for McConn and drew an RBI walk that pushed it to a 4-0 ballgame.
Ahrberg, who didn’t start the game because she was feeling under the weather, shook it off and bullied a two-RBI single while pinch hitting for freshman Morgan Bullock a few minutes later. The ball sailed to shallow center field and propelled Stager and Montez home for the 6-0 advantage.
Brown then walked to reload the bases and Wynn stepped to the plate for the second time in the inning.
And FSU’s three-time team captain almost made a little magic.
With two-and-two count, the Sharpsburg, Ga. native smashed what looked to be a possible grand slam but it was caught just in front of the center field wall. Still, the high fly-ball was able to bring Borden in and extend the ‘Noles lead to 7-0.
Florida State packed the bases n the top of the fifth as Brown, Wynn and Jackson all watched Lapicki step into the box with just one out.
A full count later, Lapicki drove a sacrifice fly to deep center field that scored Brown and officially made it a mercy-rule game depending on what Hofstra did in the bottom half of the innng.
FSU finishes off its trip to Columbus with a 12:30 p.m. showdown with Kent State on Sunday.