February 24, 2012 - by
Leonard’s Grand Slam Caps Perfect Day

Feb. 24, 2012




Game 2 Box Score


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ORLANDO, Fla. (seminoles.com) – Freshman Erika Leonard highlighted a six-run seventh inning with a game-winning grand slam to cap a sweep for the Florida State University softball team on day one of the Citrus Classic at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

The Seminoles (12-0) maintained their undefeated record after winning over St. John’s in game one, 5-1, and then coming back to defeat Wisconsin in game two, 6-2. FSU’s 12-0 record is now tied for the third best start in school history, matching the 1982 AIAW National Championship team’s record.

The victory in game two against a relentless Wisconsin team was made possible by Leonard’s crucial grand slam in the top of the seventh. FSU entered its final at-bat trailing 2-0 to the Badgers (2-3), but stormed back following Mallory Borden’s RBI triple to right center and Tiffani Brown’s game-tying single through the left side.

After Maddie O’Brien loaded the bases with one out on a walk from reliever Cassandra Darrah (1-2), Leonard blasted an offering down the left field line that hooked fair for her first career home run in grand-slam fashion. The four-bagger was FSU’s third grand slam in the young season, with Briana Hamilton owning the other two.

“There’s been games where we’ve had to battle back late, but we’ve stayed relentless and got it done again today,” head coach Lonni Alameda said. “There’s someone who seems to step up at the right moment and Erika certainly did that for us today against Wisconsin. Learning to execute in late-game situations is very important for a ballclub like ours, and we’ve been able to do that as of late.”

Leonard and Brown guided FSU’s hitting attack that came up with big at-bats when needed. Leonard finished 3-for-5 on Friday with four RBIs and two walks, while Brown went 3-for-7 in both games combined with three RBIs and two runs scored. Brown owns two game-tying, late-inning hits in her last three games played, as she also recorded a run-scoring single to tie FSU’s game versus UCF on Wednesday night.

For the day, FSU recorded 12 hits in 50 at-bats with seven walks and two stolen bases. It was reliant again on its talented group of pitchers, as freshman Lacey Waldrop (6-0) defeated Wisconsin in game two while redshirt junior Monica Perry (4-0) struck out a season-best 10 batters in her win over St. John’s.

Waldrop pitched a complete game in defeating Wisconsin, allowing two runs on five hits with five strikeouts. She allowed her first earned run in her last five starts, a streak of 28 consecutive innings pitched. Despite getting into some trouble versus Wisconsin, Waldrop found ways to escape jams involving runners in scoring position and made the necessary pitches to keep FSU in the contest.

In game two versus Wisconsin, the Badgers jumped ahead with two runs in the third inning. With two outs, Stephanie Peace hit a ground-rule double down the left field line to score a run, followed by an RBI single from Whitney Massey to make it 2-0.

FSU had an opportunity to cross the plate in the fourth inning. With one out, O’Brien drew a walk and advanced to second base on a lined single by Leonard to right field, her second hit of the game. However, FSU was unable to come away with any runs after a strikeout and a flyout ended the threat.

Perry overpowered St. John’s with a variety of aggressive pitches in game one, recording her first double-digit strikeout total this season. She tossed 5.2 innings and allowed one run on three hits. After surrendering her first home run of the season in the second inning, she retired 10 consecutive batters to bounce back with a good performance.

The Seminoles started the scoring in the first inning when Brown scored on a passed ball by St. John’s catcher Kacee Cox. Brown led off the inning with an infield single, then stole her 13th base of the season before advancing home.

In the top of the second, Cox made up for her miscue by taking a 1-2 offering from Perry and hitting a solo home run over the centerfield wall, tying the game at 1-1. Perry responded by striking out her next three batters faced to end the half inning.

Brown played a role in FSU’s two runs scored in the second inning, facing a hitter’s count and drilling a two-run triple to right field with two outs. The three-bagger was the 12th of her career, scoring Morgan Bullock and pinch runner Erika Hoffner on the play to give the Seminoles a 3-1 lead.

While Perry continued to mow down the Red Storm batters, Hamilton added an important insurance run in the sixth inning when she laced an RBI triple to centerfield, a ball that was overran by St. John’s centerfielder Kristi Cady. Courtney Senas followed with a sacrifice fly to centerfield, scoring Hamilton to create a 5-1 advantage.

Perry exited the contest with two outs in the sixth inning, generating a save situation for freshman Bailey Schinella. With a runner on third base, Schinella had an eight-pitch at-bat with Kristi Cady but ultimately struck her out looking. Schinella finished off the Red Storm in the seventh for her third save of the season. The Valrico, Fla., native is just one save shy of tying the single-season school record of four held by Marla Looper (1994), Leslie Malerich (2002) and Tiffany McDonald (2006).

The Seminoles return to the Citrus Classic at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex on Saturday afternoon. FSU plays Southern Illinois on ESPN3.com at 12:15 p.m., then faces Marshall at 4:45 p.m.

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