TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Opening the 2017 season on a strong note, No. 3 Florida State (2-0) notched two victories on the first day of the Unconquered Invitational, defeating Lipscomb (0-2) by a score of 13-1, in five innings, and earned a 5-1 victory over Furman (1-0) on Friday afternoon at JoAnne Graf Field.
“It was a quality day all around,” said FSU head coach Lonni Alameda. “Most importantly we were finally able to get the season started, but the way that we played on the field was great, too. Our newcomers were able to get in both games and made some nice plays while our veterans picked up right where we left off last year. Two solid wins and we look forward to getting back out there tomorrow.”
Lipscomb got out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning with a solo home run by Peyton Ward. The Bisons managed another pair of runners on singles by Sarah Higgins and Caitlin Plocheck, but FSU catcher Sydney Broderick ended the inning by picking off Higgins at second base.
FSU took the lead in the bottom of the first, aided by struggles in the circle by LU starting pitcher McCarley Thomas. Morgan Klaevemann led off the inning with a four-pitch walk and immediately stole second on the first pitch to Jessica Warren, who later reached on a four-pitch walk of her own.
A strike was thrown on the first pitch to Alex Powers, but Thomas followed with a ball and then three consecutive illegal pitches which allowed Klaevemann and Warren to come around to score in the at bat, while Powers took first on a walk.
Lipscomb made a pitching change to bring in Plocheck, and the Noles quickly added to their lead as Sydney Broderick laced a triple into the right field corner to score Powers and make it a 3-1 game. Ellie Cooper added an RBI groundout and Cali Harrod hit a triple of her own as the Noles took a 4-1 lead into the second inning.
FSU exploded for nine runs in the third inning, highlighted by a grand slam by Warren. It was the 40th home run of her three-year career, as she sits second all-time in FSU history. The Noles registered eight hits in the inning, with Carsyn Gordon posting a single as well as an RBI triple in the frame.
Harrod added a two-RBI double and Zoe Casas drove in a pair on a single as Florida State plated enough runs to force the run rule, ending the game after five innings by a score of 13-1.
FSU starting pitcher Jessica Burroughs settled in after giving up the run in the first, as the redshirt senior allowed just one base runner over the next three innings, issuing a walk to Ward in the third. She earned the win and moved to 1-0, striking out six batters over 4.0 innings with one run on three hits.
Freshman Cassidy Davis came in to close out the Lipscomb game in the circle and tossed a scoreless fifth and walked one as she faced just four batters.
Much like in the first game of the day, the Noles quickly got on the board against Furman with two runs in the first inning on a two-RBI triple by Gordon, scoring Powers and Broderick who reached on a fielder’s choice and walk, respectively. Gordon only had one triple over her entire freshman season in 2016 and surpassed that total in her first four at-bats of 2017.
Both teams struggled for scoring opportunities in the middle of the game as both pitchers – FSU’s Meghan King and Furman’s Lindsey Bert – limited the opposing offenses to just one hit each through the first five innings.
Warren pushed the FSU advantage to 3-0 with a leadoff solo home run to start the bottom of the sixth, followed by singles from Powers and Broderick. After a Gordon walk loaded the bases, Cooper lifted a sacrifice fly to center to make it 4-0.
Freshman Dani Morgan closed out the Seminole scoring with an RBI single back up the middle to drive in Gordon for a 5-0 lead.
Furman scored an unearned run in the seventh as the second batter of the inning reached on an FSU fielding error and eventually scored on a double to center by Kalie Hicks.
FSU’s King (1-0) earned the complete game win, striking out a career-high 10 batters and allowing just three hits and one unearned run, along with one walk.
Furman’s Bert (0-1) took the loss, giving up five runs on five hits with four walks and three strikeouts.
The explosive scoring bursts by the Noles just picked up where they left off in 2016, as FSU had multiple runs in each scoring inning and tallied single-inning run totals of two, three, four and nine runs on the day. In 2016, the Noles scored in 170 of their 402 times at the plate and drove in at least two runs in 118 of those innings, with three or more runs coming in to score on 71 different occasions.
The Noles will play Marshall (1-0) on February 11 at 1:30 p.m. end the round-robin portion of the Unconquered Invitational, before moving into the bracket stage later in the day. If Florida State ends up as the No. 1 seed, they will play at 4 p.m., but if FSU finishes as the No. 2 or No. 3 seed, they will play in the 6:30 p.m. game to end the day.
Admission is free for all games of the 2017 Unconquered Invitational, and fans can listen online to our FSU Softball Radio (@FSUsbRadio) broadcasts free of charge on Seminoles.com, along with links for live stats of each game of the tournament.
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